Water Wiggler VS Air Temp. in a still air incubator?


11 Years
Mar 4, 2008
Tucson, Arizona
I think I was calmer before I got all my thermometers and fancy things. I've been trying to keep my still air hovabator around 100 degrees, yet my water wiggler temp is reading around 95 degrees. I'm dreading losing all of my chicks because of discrepancies in temperature readings... and I know that too cool AND too hot are both a danger. It's so frustrating! Should I obsess over the wiggler temperature, or the normal thermometer (as my thermometer/humidity reader has impossible temperature readings?)
The temperature that counts is the temperature inside the egg. That needs to be as close to 99.5F as you can get it.

Still air incubators are set to run at around 101 at the very top of the eggs because there is a natural temperature gradient in them.

The air temperature will vary more (quite a lot moer) than the wriggler.

However, it is very easy to be lead astry by inaccurate thermometers, so before you panic about alarming temperature readings, make sure your thermometers are working as they should.

Still air incubators do not like to be opened. They are much slower to recover both temperature and humidity than their forced-air brothers. This is important all the time, but critical beyond day 18.

Check your thermometers, check your technique then check back here
Yes what Twigg said-I just go by the wiggler temp on my acu-rite. Otherwise I was going crazy trying to figure out which therm was rigt, which was off, ect. The still air is a bugger for the different temps at different spots in the bator.
In my still air & forced air incubators, I go by the temp at the top of the eggs (air temp) and keep it at 100 F (Manufacturer's Directions).

Despite my pre-incubation testing & probing, I could never bring myself to actually bring the temp at the top of the eggs to 103-105 F to get the wiggler at 99.5 F so I opted to keep things simple & not drive myself crazy.

I keep two thermometers at egg height, and they match up pretty close at 100F. I let the rest take care of itself. I have my better hatches when I keep it simple. Others will have different results; this is just my experience-- I got rid of the wigglers!

Just out of curiosity, I have measured the temp near the top of the still air (108-110F); along the sides (95-96F); wiggler (97.5-98.0) and then the air at egg height (100F)-- IMHO: keep it simple.


edited to correct my grammer & spelling
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BTW, the ONLY time I have had a 100% hatch is when I used a still air & kept the temp at the top of the eggs at 100F (I used the simplest bulb thermometers-- 2 of 'em). I also opened the incubator 3-7 times a day and hand turned the eggs myself-- again, simple.

I too have gotten 100% hatches from just measuring temp at the top of the eggs... I don't even have a hydrometer... I personally would just go with average air temp at egg level and use good old analog thermometers.
I agree with the "keep it simple" technique. I went crazy trying to adjust this, adjust that. I keep my simple cheap thermometer, (the one that came with my hovenator) at 100 degrees, (resting on top of eggs), I keep all the holes closed, ( too much temp diff if i don't) and I open it morning and night to add water. I don't even check the humidity on the still air incubator.

Then at day 18 I move my eggs into a homemade wine cooler incubator, laying the eggs on the wire, or hatching them in egg cartons and I still keep the temp at/about 100. a little difference doesn't seem to matter, and I have found, better too cool than too hot. I open mine to remove chicks once they are dry, and always add another small container with warmer water in each time, to replace humidity lost during opening the door, seems to be working really well.

Think about it, a chicken gets off her nest every day, each time, loss of humidity,
and cooling of eggs, and most of the time, the egg does pretty well. don't sweat the small stuff too much,
I think in the past I either cooked my eggs by temps too high, or suffocated with lack of fresh air, now I don't sweat it too much, and it is going much better. I even hatched eggs last time that "inadvertantly" went cold. ( two different batches!)

Also last hatch, I waited until day 4 (after hatch date) and picked 4 out of the shells, 3 lived and are well on their way to being fine chickens, one was NOT ready and died, (he had pipped and it had been 24 hours, but he was not fully ready to hatch) so I don't believe the old, "you can't help them out or they will die" thing either.

That's just my notes, hope you find what works for you, then stick to it!

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