The Mystery of the Surprisingly Good Hatch

Oct 16, 2020
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I’ve been trying to diagnose my original, rinky dink incubator all afternoon. Temperature gauges all say that it runs VERY cool. Like, as low as 94 degrees in spots. If I set it to 102 degrees, I can get temperatures inside to measure 99.5, but I am scared to set it that high in case it spikes.

So I was wondering why my last hatch was so successful.

After hours of messing around, I realized that if I put the incubator in the foam insulation it came with (recommended for colder temperatures) the heat is a lot closer to what it says on the digital read out.

Funny thing? My last hatch, I kept that incubator in our bedroom, but had a towel over both it and the dehumidifier the whole time, in order to stop the flashing light from keeping me awake at night! HAH!

That towel, unbeknownst to me, probably raised the incubator’s temperature that extra degree or two it needed to hatch more than 50% of the eggs.

It is so crazy the stuff one learns, trying to get a system down for hatching eggs. It really is an art more than a science.

Happy hatching!
 
Oct 16, 2020
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Interesting. Now I’m realizing that my nr360 may not be as hot as I wanted, either. I like to give an incubator a chance to show me how it works before adjust8ng. But it was at 98.4 when I measured it. So maybe I’ll put a towel over that one. Too
 

Nabiki

Quail Geek
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Interesting. Now I’m realizing that my nr360 may not be as hot as I wanted, either. I like to give an incubator a chance to show me how it works before adjust8ng. But it was at 98.4 when I measured it. So maybe I’ll put a towel over that one. Too
Do you keep calibrated thermometers inside your incubator? I always keep at least two in different places, sometimes 3.
 
Oct 16, 2020
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Do you keep calibrated thermometers inside your incubator? I always keep at least two in different places, sometimes 3.
The past week or two have been the first time I thought to put a therno meter inside my incubator. I just trusted that my incubator was telling me the right temperature. Which seemed reasonable, as I live in Hawaii where it doesnt get terribly cold.

but perhaps it was running too cold on the previous two hatches before this one, and maybe that explains my low hatch rate. I’d assumed it was the humidity, but i never even checked the temperature.
 
Oct 16, 2020
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Never trust the reading on your incubator. That's the first lesson I learned here. My first hatch was only about 50%. I've had at least a 70% and up to a 95% hatch rate since then, and that's with shipped eggs.
Yeah, I need to get better thermometers. The ones I have are just hygrometers that happen to tell the temp, and they are probably not accurate to the degree.

For now, I've just added insulation to both my original incubators and kept them set to the temp they are suppsed to be on the reading.

I also have a still air incubator I ended up with that I'm using for a few extra eggs I have. For that one, I'm setting the temp high (103) and following what the readings say on the 2 thermometers I have going inside. (Which of course, disagree by a degree.) We'll see if any of those hatch.

At this point, I feel like 1 degree cold isn't affecting my hatch rate too much. I'm just scared to go too hot. Because better a hatch rate of 50% than 0%. :/

Is there a good, accurate thermometer you could recommend?
 

Nabiki

Quail Geek
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Get fish tank thermometers. I use these, but they're all 1.1 degrees off. I know this because I crushed ice, put it in a cup of water (so it's mostly ice), then put the thermometers in for 5-10 minutes. They should read 32 degrees. If they don't, you know they're off, and by how much, so you can compensate.
 

Quailobsessed

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Oct 12, 2019
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I hardly use my incubator, but when I have, I haven't used other thermometers. I know the incubator thermometers are never accurate, but I've had very high hatch rates. I haven't invested much time or money into my incubator, because it's not my preferred way of breeding quails.
 

007Sean

Face it, Embrace it, Ace it, Replace it
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I use old antique mercury filled incubator thermometers. They are highly accurate. I find them on eBay.
antique mercury thermometers.jpg

antique incubator mercury thermometers

Also have a antique incubator (wet bulb) hygrometers.
I don't use them much anymore, I find modern day hygrometers much more accurate.
incubator hygrometer.jpg
 

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