Your eggs need to
settle for at least 24 hours before setting, ideally next to
your incubator. This allows the egg to reach ambient
temperature. Eggs should always be stored with the pointy end
down prior to incubation. It's a good practice to follow and it
will help your hatch!!!
By the time you have got your eggs ready for setting your
incubator should have been running at least 24 hours. This gives
you time to learn what's going to happen in your incubator and
allows you to make any necessary adjustments before setting your
eggs. A definite way to ruin hatching eggs is to put them in the
incubator without having it properly adjusted. If the eggs reach
an internal temperature of 105 degrees you can kiss them
good-bye. Take note that I said "internal" temperature. Don't
confuse internal egg temperature with internal incubator
temperature. The temperature in an incubator changes constantly,
rising and lowering. The temperature inside the egg will be an
average of this temperature swing in your incubator.
During the period of incubation your eggs will need to be
turned. There are three main ways this is done, manually,
semi-automatic, or fully automatic. With the manual method you
will simply turn the eggs by hand through 180 degrees at least
twice a day. With the semi-automatic turning you can turn all of
your eggs at once often by a lever outside the incubator. The
fully automatic system uses a drive system to turn the eggs on a
time-based system. The key part about turning is for it to be at
least twice a day but ideally a lot more and to be consistent.
Incubate the eggs either on their end (small end down) or on
This is plain and simple, yet the MOST important part of
hatching. Still-air incubator (no fan): 38.5 degrees
measured at the TOP of the eggs. Fan Forced incubator:
37.5 degrees measured anywhere in the incubator. Humidity:
40-50% during incubation, 50-65% for the last 3 days. You can
sneak by with humidity numbers that aren't very accurate, but
the combination of poor humidity and temperature will definitely
cause problems at hatch time. If your temperature is not
accurate you will DEFINITELY have problems at hatch time. The
bigger the deviation from the proper temperature, the bigger
your problems will be!
Is you Thermometer accurate?
Keeping the temperature accurate can be a struggle, even with
very good thermometers. I've thrown away many thermometers in
past years that I had considered reliable. A nice part about
running a modern electronic incubator is that you get a very
accurate temperature control often with digital displays. After
the first hatch, you can raise or lower the temperature by what
the hatch tells you. If they hatched early the temperature needs
to be lowered. If they hatch late the temperature needs to be
raised. You can check your Thermometer this way. Keep
notes on everything you do during the incubation period. As you
learn you'll have
these notes to look back on. They will be the most valuable
tools that you can have. It won't be long until you can say, "I
know what happened, all I need to do is change this one little
thing". Soon you will be able to make adjustments by knowing
what to do, instead of guessing!!!
How do I check Humidity?
Humidity is checked by way of a hygrometer (wet-bulb
thermometer, or electronic handheld unit) used in conjunction
with a regular "dry-bulb" thermometer. A hygrometer is simply a
thermometer with a piece of wick attached to the bulb. The wick
hangs in water to keep the bulb wet (hence the name "wet-bulb
thermometer"). When you read the temperature on the thermometer
and hygrometer, you must then compare the readings to a chart to
translate from wet-bulb/dry-bulb reading to "percentage
From the relative humidity table, you can see.....
60% humidity reads about 87 degrees on a wet-bulb at 99.5
60% humidity reads about 89 degrees on a wet-bulb at 101.5
80% humidity reads about 93 degrees on a wet-bulb at 99.5
80% humidity reads about 95 degrees on a wet-bulb at 101.5
Getting your humidity to become as accurate as your temperature
is nearly impossible. It is almost completely impossible with a
small incubator. Try to get your humidity as close as you can,
and you'll be fine. Just being aware that humidity is important,
and trying to get the numbers to come in close will be a huge
help to your hatch. If you can hold within 10-15% things should
turn out fine. Temperature on the other hand, is CRITICAL!!!!! I
hate to beat this point to death, but a small deviation in
temperature (even a couple degrees) can and will ruin a hatch.
Or, at least turn a potentially great hatch into a lousy one.
An important point about incubator humidity.
As seasons change, so does humidity. When you are incubating
eggs in January and February it will be very difficult to
maintain a humidity that is as high as you like. That's because
the outside humidity is so low. By the same token, when you are
incubating in June and July the outside humidity is usually much
greater and the humidity in your incubator will most likely get
much higher. Hatching problems will change as the season
progresses. If you are doing things the same way in July as you
were in January, you have to expect different results. All I am
trying to say here is that your incubator humidity changes
directly according to the outside humidity. Low outside, low in
the incubator. High outside, high in the incubator. To adjust
for these problems, you need to change the surface area of water
in your incubator.
Surface area is "the amount of surface of water exposed to air
in your incubator". The depth of water has absolutely no bearing
on the humidity in the incubator (unless the depth is zero). If
the humidity is too low in your incubator, add surface area.
Place another pan of water in the incubator, or some small, wet
sponges. This will help. To decrease the humidity, remove
surface area. Use smaller containers of water, or undo some of
the things you've added.
This information is provided
as a guide. Under no circumstances can Perfect Poultry be
held responsible for the practical application of this