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How to Control Your Incubator
By Alan Stanford, Ph.D.

Incubation is really quite simple
Easiest of all - Let a hen hatch your eggs
  1. Turn the eggs

    1. Days 0-18 Turn the eggs twice a day
    2. Day 19 Place the eggs on a flat surface.
    3. Days 19-21 Do not intentionally turn the eggs.

  2. Temperature 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit / 37.5 Centigrade (In eggs we trust)

    1. If the hatch is late, increase the temperature for the next batch
    2. If the hatch is early decrease the temperature for the next batch

    In simpler words - the eggs know best. Thermometers can be wrong but usually they are wrong the same way by about the same amount. If the eggs say it is too hot, trust them. They have been doing this for thousands of years.

  3. Relative humidity

    1. 50% days 0-18
    2. 65% days 19-21
Notes on how to do this
  1. Temperature
    1. Use an "EggTemp" or "Spot Check" thermometer. They are accurate to 0.14 degrees Fahrenheit. Note the decimal point. There are lots of thermometers exactly 10 times less accurate.
    1. If you have a styrofoam incubator or other incubator that controls the temperature with a wafer and microswitch use a Water Weasel! Place the Water Weasel as if it is an egg and insert the temperature probe in the middle of the Water Weasel.

      This is because you need to measure the temperature inside the eggs not the temperature of the air or the radiant heat from the heater.

      In the small Styrofoam incubators (Little Giant or GQF Hova-Bator for example) the air temperature varries and the heating element shines directly on the thermometer (shines like a food warming lamp). Wafer and microswitch controls in any incubator allow a small temperature swing.

      You don't need a Water Weasel in electronically controlled cabinet incubators (GQF Sportsman or Dickey for example) because the air is at a constant temperature and that keeps the eggs at that same temperature.

  2. Humidity you must measure the humidity

    1. Too low and the eggs dry out
    2. Too low at hatch (not increased from 50% to 65%) and the membrane is so tough the chicks cannot hatch
    3. Too high and the chicks drown. 1-2 days before hatch the chicks poke their beaks into the air sac and breathE.
    4. I use a hygrometer like the following. Do NOT rely on the temperature from these devices, they are far too inaccurate.

      CutlerSupply.com


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