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Author Topic: Worst hatch rate yet  (Read 291 times)

Michael Robinson

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Worst hatch rate yet
« on: May 13, 2018, 09:21:06 AM »
I had my DIY incubator loaded with the most eggs that I’ve put in during the last two years. Haven’t taken the eggs out yet, but it looks like a 10-20% hatch rate.

The incubator is located in a finished basement that in the past hasn’t been heated or any AC. Well, we put AC in there a month or so ago because my daughter and family are living down there. I just didn’t think about it making a difference, but I guess that I should have! I guess I’ll chalk it up as newbie learning curve.

I have the vent in the room turned off, but the door gets left open so much that the humidity is going to equal out.

I guess once I pull the eggs and chicks out, I’ll leave the incubator on and see if I can troubleshoot it.  Never had to worry about monitoring humidity, but I guess the equation has changed on me.

Any advice from the more experienced here that have their incubator in conditioned space?
« Last Edit: May 13, 2018, 09:23:47 AM by Michael Robinson »

Don

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Re: Worst hatch rate yet
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2018, 07:44:19 PM »
Michael, sorry you're having his problem.  It doesn't take much variation or some bacteria to create big problems.  Having a stable environment helps a lot but the air in our homes, A/C or electric heat, can create issues with Humidity inside the units. I take it that you've had good hatches in this unit before, so something has changed on you. What are you using for temp/humidity measurements, and what are you using for a thermostat on the unit?  Any pictures or other descriptions might help people throw out some ideas.  Not sure we can get you back immediately on a straight path, but will try what we can. 
Don Cash
" No word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause."  Mark Twain

Michael Robinson

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Re: Worst hatch rate yet
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2018, 11:53:00 AM »
It’s life. Beyond putting a cheap outdoor thermometer/hygrometer in the first hatch or two, I haven’t really worried much about humidity. I’ld have to almost write a book to describe my incubator in detail to get quality help and advice.

Normally I have done what many call a dry hatch just using ambient room humidity for 18 days and adding water to raise the humidity at lockdown.

I’ve pretty well decided that I’m going to have to get a reasonable quality remote hygrometer before next season to work all the kinks out.
 
To raise the humidity I have two large double cake pans sitting underneath my eggs, yet on top of my heat source. The pans can have water added without opening up the incubator. I have a couple of sponges in each pan to help the water evaporate some. Next step would be to add aquarium air stones to the pans and a small aquarium air pump outside of the incubator.

Biggest issue is needing to be able to monitor humidity. In the past, I haven’t had problems, so why fix something that’s not broken - except now it’s broken.

For temperature, I use an amazon digital thermostat that can be set to a tenth of a degree. I set it by making a few egg size water balloons and then checking them with an older human mercury thermometer. For safety I have an additional digital thermometer. Even though neither is accurate, I write the temp readings for both down when I get the water balloons at 99.5. The thermostat has held true even from year to year.

The incubator is well insulated and has a heat sink, so that if the door is opened to candle, the temperature will bounce back up pretty quick, or if the power goes out the eggs would be alright for a while. I have a generator if needed.

Don

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Re: Worst hatch rate yet
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2018, 10:34:47 PM »
Having a Temp and Humidity gauge is the biggest issue for most of us. I would say that a lot of folks don't trust their gauges so once they start to have good hatches they don't adjust it again. You can tell some about temperature by the time of the hatch, 21 days should be right on the dot.  If you have a fan in the incubator you can use a wet bulb thermometer the same as your thermometer.  There is no telling how dry the air is in the house if the A/C is running well. And once you heat the air to 99.5 the humidity really bottoms out. 

You mentioned that you had it loaded more than usual. So keep an eye on ventilation too. We used to use manual incubators without fans and turners and had pretty good luck. The loss of humidity and heat three times a day seemed to be offset by the extra ventilation the three times/day that the incubator was opened. Kind of like when the hen would get off the nest for a half hour each day. 

Maybe some of the others will join in here to offer some of their thoughts. I know it is frustrating, hopefully you can get it acclimated to the new environment.  Good Luck.   
Don Cash
" No word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause."  Mark Twain

Paul

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Re: Worst hatch rate yet
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2018, 01:05:15 PM »
  I recommend opening each egg that did not hatch to check for fertility first.  Then to see if the chick drown, which is the results of too much humidity in the incubator.  Fertility can be a problem early in the hatching season, especially in a breeding pen where an old male is used.  Early in the season (Oct. through Jan.) we had a lot of fertility issues, even though lights were on our breeding pens.

  Later we had drowning problems.  I covered half of the water pan with aluminum foil to decrease the humidity in the two older GQF incubators with slow speed fans.  The 1502 which has a high speed fan was kept the same-full size pan without any cover.  The drowning issues was solved when we quit putting the 2nd pan at 18 days.  We put 3 tablespoons of bleach in each gallon of water that is put in the incubators.  This helps keep the air clean inside them!

  I was very surprised to have a high humidity problem as we run a fire place inside our house.  Also we had very little moisture-(rain/snow/sleet), fall, winter and spring.  We have experienced high humidity issues in past years when it rained a lot in the spring.  I remember setting some of the older GQF incubators without any water until day 18.

  This time we would remove the foil at day 18 and only use one full pan.  The 1502 would have the paper filter placed in the pan as usual.

  One more suggestion is to thoroughly clean and disinfect the incubator with 6 ¾ ounce of Oxine in 1 gallon of water after each hatch.  We also wash all eggs in the same solution.  A bad bacteria inside an incubator can cause the chicks to die inside the eggs.  Hope you get the problem resolved soon.  We know how devastating a poor hatch can be-especially when the chicks are sold in advance of hatching.  Normally we hatch about 2,000 a year.  We are way behind at 1,336 with only 2 more hatches to go.  Our next hatch, May 29, is only half what we normally set due to caught-up on some varieties orders.  Our last one may be even less than half.  I think the weather conditions has had a lot to do with low number of orders this year.  Normally we send 10 or more to the Houston area-only 1 this year.  The flood caused a lot of devastation.  The record snow falls in the North hasn’t helped neither.
Paul Smith

Susan Mouw

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Re: Worst hatch rate yet
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2018, 08:06:47 PM »
I had horrible fertility issues early in the hatching season this year!  Worst year yet for fertility.  It finally came back up around mid April, but that put us way behind schedule on reservations.  We had some strange weather for SC early this year, which probably contributed to the fertility issues.  Hope next year is better!
Susan Mouw
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http://www.sandcastlesfarm.com