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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Gilmer,TX USA
    Posts
    1,830

    Default Incubator Experts???

    I have a not so old GQF cabinet model incubator. I have gotten good hatches and lots of chicks the past 2-3 years. This year I cannot get it to throw more than a couple of chicks per set of a flat of eggs. I think I have narrowed it down to a humidity issue although it could be another issue. Anybody have a good constant-source bucket contraption for keeping the humidity up? Any other help as to what is going on?
    Mike
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Temperance, MI
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Incubator Experts???

    When I am hatching chickens, I put a bowl of water in the bottom of the incubator, with a sponge in it. I also use an air pump for a small aquarium with a diffuser on it. This blows the air into the water, and it makes tiny bubbles through the diffuser that pop up into the air. It really gets the humidity up. To adjust it, i put a small valve on the air line (get it at a pet store). I use a cheap hygrometer to monitor the humidity.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Escanaba, Michigan
    Posts
    58

    Default Re: Incubator Experts???

    I have a not so old GQF cabinet model incubator. I have gotten good hatches and lots of chicks the past 2-3 years. This year I cannot get it to throw more than a couple of chicks per set of a flat of eggs. I think I have narrowed it down to a humidity issue although it could be another issue. Anybody have a good constant-source bucket contraption for keeping the humidity up? Any other help as to what is going on?
    Ok, my post will have a ton of questions, to help narrow down what might be going wrong.

    First I'd suggest checking the fertility of the eggs. Are they from your birds, or did you buy them? If you can spare a few, crack them open and look for the characteristic bullseye of a fertile egg. How were the eggs handled before incubation? If they were shipped, yea, that can take a toll on them, though I've gotten a 100% hatch from shipped eggs before. Do you wash them (and if yes, how so?), just brush off any dirt, or put them in the incubator in the same way they were collected? Unwashed eggs fresh from the chicken have a protective bloom of beneficial bacteria, and washing can force bad bacteria into the shell. Though an excessively dirty egg ( like with goose eggs and their Mom's muddy feets) can have bacteria issues too. Porous, poorly calcified eggs tend to have much lower hatching rates too.

    Have you performed any "eggtopsies" on eggs that failed to hatch? What did you see? Were the chicks underdeveloped, huge and swollen, etc.?

    If fertility isn't an issue, then I'd definitely look at the humidity and temperature as the next possible set of problems. Has temperature remained stable in all parts of the incubator? Could there have been a heat spike that killed most of the embryos? Are the deaths late or early in the incubation, or just plain dead in shell, meaning they are fully developed but failed to hatch.

    What humidity do you normally run? There are a lot of different practices, from dry hatches (very low humidity) to high. Whatever works for you and you get healthy chicks, than that is the technique to use. A good way to check to see if your hygrometer is working is to fill a bottle cap with table salt. Moisten it with enough water that all the salt is wet with no extra water to pour off. Should be semi solidish, just a pile of wet salt. Then, pop the salt filled cap and hygrometer in a ziplock bag, seal, and wander off for 8-12 hours. When you check it, it should read 75% humidity. You can see how far off +/- your unit is.

    As to making a humidity contraption, I'd play around with using something like a chicken waterer (like this, in a size that works for you, that you can get at any tractor supply or local feed store) as a reservoir. If you need to increase humidity, add something like sponge or cloth into the water pool to wick up water, increasing the evaporation rate by increasing surface area. I don't have a cabinet incubator (I have a Brinsea Eco 20, pretty much set and forget), so I am not sure how big your looking to make your humidity/water source.

    I hope this helps.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,081

    Default Re: Incubator Experts???

    GQF makes a nice 5 gal bucket humidifier for that incubator. The bucket sits on top, & feeds a tray on the top shelf of the incubator. The tray has some fiber pads that stand in it, & the fan blows across them. I use the same incubator for tortoise eggs.
    Dan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Anthony, New Mexico USA
    Posts
    414

    Default Re: Incubator Experts???

    Surehatch / GOF incubator


    Mike, I am looking to purchase a medium capacity egg incubator. Please do not offer me a Surehatch / GOF incubator. I spent lots of money on one, and Surehatch / GOF is just giving me arrogant excuses.

    I invested a lot of money on the incubator and eggs, and when it started to fail, I called them, and all I got for guarantee was; "Get your tools, open it up, and hope you find the problem". They offered to refund my money, and after many weeks, I still have not gotten my money; all I have is a worthless box and a bucket full of rotten eggs.

    Get a reputable incubator that will partner up with you and your investment; not a Surehatch / GOF for sure.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,379

    Default Re: Incubator Experts???

    Humidity, in my climate at least, makes a huge difference. Of course the temperature does as well and turning as well.

    I have an old Monkey wards incubator and there is a small tray that goes in the bottom for humidity. In my climate it is not sufficient. I need about three times that. It fits in the space between the tray and the floor. I can fit jar lids in there and up the number and amount of humidity. The fertility of the chickens (or whatever poultry) also makes a difference.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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