So, this round was my 3rd round of egg incubation. But I'm a scientist at heart, experiments, cause and effect, etc. At the beginning of the summer I finally broke down and bought an incubator. I was going to be out of town, so I splurged for the turner as well. Here's what I bought. http://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/pr...-series-circulated-air-incubator?cm_vc=-10005 It's a styrofoam incubator, which everyone said was awful. I had trouble getting the temp to stay where it should, but over time that got better. My hatch rate during incubation 1 was abysmal-- 4 hatched out of 27 started (20 made it to lockdown). Hatch 2 was better-- 15 hatched out of 24 in lockdown (started with 27 I think) Hatch 3 is still going, but of the 26 that are due by today, 20 have hatched. What I've learned: 1. FIRST buy a separate temperature and humidity detector. Seriously. The one in my incubator, which I used for the first half of my first incubation, was about 3 degrees low (so the reading of 99 was an actual temp of 102). And the humidity sensor is nowhere near accurate. That alone probably accounted for the low hatch rate in hatch 1. 2. DRY HATCH. I'm in Michigan. Even in the fall, with no water in my incubator, the humidity inside stayed between 30 and 40%. It may have dropped to 25% once or twice. Using this method, I have NEVER had a chick pip and die. Never. Nobody was shrink wrapped, nobody drowned. Every pipped chick hatches. My first time I had the humidity higher, roughly 55%, and things just didn't develop well. At day 18ish I do raise the humidity, but I'm not super concerned about how high it gets. Above 70 is good enough... so when I look in there and it's 98 during hatch I don't worry. It's high enough, and there really isn't a "too high" in my experience. 3. MARK YOUR AIR SAC-- at least once, you don't have to do it more than that. It just gives you an idea of how your eggs are developing and where to look for pips. I've done it at 10 and 18 days, and this last time did it just at 14 days. when you don't do this you're searching the whole egg looking for a pip. Not helpful. 4. RELAX-- seriously. I was all worried about lockdown, don't move the eggs again, don't open the incubator, find a way to add water without opening it, don't ever open after something has pipped... I open it all the time. I close it quickly, but yes I open my incubator. The chicks survive. Mama hens lift up to allow hatching chicks to get some air, they're not locked down on their nests. I maintain that opening the incubator gives a little bit of helpful airflow to those eggs and helps them, rather than hurting. 5. TAKE OUT hatched chicks. Yes, you need to have a brooder ready. Yes it must be warm and waiting. But I do not leave the chicks inside to knock around hatching eggs until they're dry. OK, late in the game the humidity is high (mines normally around 80-90% honestly). It takes a chick a VERY long time to dry in 90% humidity! As soon as they hatch I simply reach in and move them, soaking wet, to the brooder. They dry a lot faster and then no other eggs get damaged in the process. By the way, this also allows for a successful staggered hatch, which so many people worry about. 6. LEARN your own lessons! Everybody has a different experience. Just keep in mind that every incubation can teach you something. Be willing to learn, make adjustments, try new things, and don't blame someone because what works for them didn't work for you! Oh, and post what you learned here!