What am I doing wrong here? Temp keeps fluctuating

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by woman_in_shoe, Jun 15, 2010.

  1. woman_in_shoe

    woman_in_shoe In the Brooder

    May 26, 2010
    We built a homemade incubator and the temperature keeps fluctuating up and down, going from 96 up to 103. By now the chicks are probably dead. We are using a 40 watt bulb and a dimmer switch, plus we have a fan. We even tried a hot water heater thermostat and the temp kept fluctuating. Any suggestions as to what I am doing wrong
  2. CorralitosSunflower

    CorralitosSunflower Songster

    Jun 24, 2009
    I don't know the answer to your question as I have never made a homemade incubator. I did have some issues with fluxuating temps. While it is not ideal in my experience as long as it doesn't go for more than a couple of hours I have still had some decent hatch rates with temps going from 98 and at one point up to 102.5. I think 103 and 96 is pushing the bar too much though. I hope you get it figured out!!! [​IMG] I know it is very frustrating [​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  3. sgtmck1

    sgtmck1 Songster

    Mar 22, 2010
    Sterling, Ok.
    Mine too and i have been hatching about 85 to 90%. you have to look at the ave. temp Add 96+97+98 so on so on and the ave is 99.5.
    1 person likes this.
  4. woman_in_shoe

    woman_in_shoe In the Brooder

    May 26, 2010
    Still have not figured it out!!!! It is driving me crazy!! [​IMG] We even tried a hotwater heater thermostat and experienced major fluctuation. ANYBODY have any suggestions as to what else we can try?

  5. saladin

    saladin Songster

    Mar 30, 2009
    the South
    With your specific incubator I can't say for sure, but generally there are fluctuations because the temp in the room where the incubator is has fluctuations or the incubator is not insulated properly.

    My incubator sits in the garage where the temps go up and down constantly but because it is properly insulated the temps do not fluctuate more than .2 of a degree.
  6. My incubator is home made as well, from a styrofoam cooler.

    I use a light bulb for the heat source and a hot water tank temp guage to set it. There is no fan. When I was initially setting up my 'bator, I would notice the light wouldn't come back on till it cooled waaaaay down! So, in the end, I moved the water heater guage almost right on top of the bulb. I find it turns on and off quicker, keeping the temps a little more stable.

    I also have sealed jars of water in the bottom of the 'bator to help hold the temps steady.

    Also, I could never find a water wiggler, so put a termometer into a glass of water in the bator (prior to eggs) to get an idea of the more overall temps, not just when light was on or off.

    Good luck!
  7. Charles07

    Charles07 Songster

    Apr 10, 2010
    Sheridan, Indiana
    I use a hot/cold pack as a heat sink, you know, the kind that you can freeze or microwave to keep food hot or cold (or even use on a sore muscle/injury).

    It took 24 hours for the temperature to stabilize, but once it did it kept the needle on my analog thermometer so stable that at first I thought that it was broken.

    Like Rachel suggested, I keep my thermostat about 3-4 inches away from the heat source for finer control.
  8. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    Some things to think about that are really simple: Is your incy in a drafty place? Away from all windows?
  9. Kedreeva

    Kedreeva Longfeather Lane

    Jun 10, 2010
    Make sure your incubator is in a draft free place (closet, closed garage, windowless bathroom, etc) where it does not catch sunlight part of the time. Make sure you are not opening and closing the incubator a lot. If the walls of the incubator are thin or styrofoam, it is probably sensitive to environmental changes (like how your house warms up a little when the sun is out, vs. at night).

    A good suggestion is to add some form of heat sink- a few smooth, clean stones, a bottle of water, baby food jars with holes punched in the tops, a heat/cold pack like you'd use in a cooler to keep beverages cool. All of these things will take in heat when there's too much and give off stored heat when there's too little, helping to maintain a steady temp in the incubator.

    If your humidity is fluxing a lot as well, that may be affecting your temperature slightly.

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