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I keep hearing about the need to manage the humidity level inside my incubator.  Why is that important? 

We hear this quite often and it’s actually a great question.

In nature, the mother bird does a really good job keeping the conditions of the egg just right so the fragile embryo inside can develop as it should.  One of these conditions is the moisture that the egg is exposed to.  In an egg incubator, we call this the "relative humidity" level.  Or just RH for short.    Let's mention just briefly what it's call "relative" humidity.    

Two of the main factors that affect the the amount of moisture the air can hold are temperature and atmospheric pressure.  It’s not easy to control the atmospheric pressure, but the temperature is something we try very hard to control in an incubator.  As the temperature goes up, the amount of water (or moisture) that the air can hold (in the form of vapor) goes up.  As the temperature falls, the amount of moisture the air can hold goes down.  That is why dew forms on grass on a beautiful summer’s morning.  The temperature of the air decreased during the night so the air could not hold as much moisture, so it condensed into water droplets and we notice it on the grass. 

So why control it in an incubator?  An egg needs a certain amount of moisture to keep the egg from drying out too soon.  If it dries out too soon, the chick will not have the lubrication it needs to move around enough when it comes time to pip.  This will cause the chick to get stuck, not be able to break the shell lid open and eventually it will die.  But we also have to make sure there is not too much moisture.  Otherwise there will not be a big enough air pocket for the chick to breathe in as it pips.  So the right amount is very important. 

So how do I control it? 

Most incubators come with a simple way to manage the humidity level.  Most of these ways have to do with adding water to built-in water trays on the bottom of the incubator.  They may have several different trays so the more of them you fill, the more moisture there will be in the air.  In home-made incubators, any dish can act as a humidity tray.  In order to increase the amount of surface area (and thus increase the amount of moisture that gets into the air) you can add a sponge or a cloth to help wick the water up and allow more of the water to evaporate into the air.  Or you can simply add more containers to increase surface area.

Surface area and humidity

You will find that a simple hygrometer (like a thermometer, but used to measure humidity) can be very helpful to manage the humidity level in your incubator.  You can purchase a hygrometer for very little investment.  And the returns can be very good!   

Thermometer and Hygrometer

But for those who would like to take more control of the humidity level in your incubator, a hygrostat may be the answer.  This is like a thermostat but instead of regulating the temperature, it regulates the humidity level.  This is a more complicated topic and will be addressed in a different blog post.

Comments | Posted in How To Articles By Kip Jensen

We all know it can be very frustrating when you invest time and money to incubate a batch of eggs and then get a very poor hatch rate.  And so often you are left wondering what in the world went wrong.

We have made it a habit of investigating each of our hatches to determine, to the best of our ability, what went wrong and what went right.  We wait until at least a couple of days beyond the due date to ensure any late developers still have a chance to hatch.  Then we break open each of the unhatched eggs to see what we can learn.  I would like to describe the common issues we find and also those that others in this field of study have found.  Please note that this list is not in any particular order.    

Unfertile eggs – Occasionally we are given reason to smile when a well-intentioned person has to be reminded that the rooster has a very important role in the process of bringing new chicks into the world.  Yes, eggs must be fertilized in order for this whole incubation business to work out.  And that’s the rooster’s job.  Make sure you have a good, healthy rooster that knows a thing or two about the birds and the bees.  (Usually this comes naturally.  If it doesn’t, don’t try to intervene.  Just get a new rooster.)  And yes, roosters get old too.  You’ll need to get a new one every few years.  

Weak embryo – Some eggs are strong and some aren’t.  I’m not talking about the egg shells, I’m referring to what is developing inside.  Nature has this way of letting the strongest survive and naturally weeding out the weakest.  This is what sometimes happens to a developing embryo inside an egg.  The incubation conditions may be perfect, but if the little chick inside doesn’t have what it takes, it will stop developing and die.  That’s just how it works folks. 

Too moist or too dry – When a mother hen sits on her eggs, her body gives off moisture in the form of moist air, of humid air.  The amount she gives off is what the eggs need to ensure they dry out enough, but not too much.  I have heard some incubationists (loosely defined as someone who really does know a thing or two about incubating eggs) say that more people kills their eggs because of poor humidity conditions than only other cause.  Well, if they are correct, then we should pay attention.  The instructions that come with your incubator regarding humidity: follow them! 

Infection – There are several barriers that nature has included in eggs to help fight of bacteria.  But sometimes, it still gets through.  And when it does, it can kill whatever is developing inside.  One critical thing we can all do to help eliminate the chances of bacteria killing the developing embryo is make sure we don’t wash off the protective outer layer.  This is a layer that the mother naturally adds when the eggs are laid.  Keep eggs clean by ensuring the hens have a clean place to lay their pearly whites (or whatever color your hens lay) and gently wipe off any dirty or crud that may be on the eggs with a dry paper towel or something like that.   Be sure to sanitize your incubator after each hatch.  And candle your eggs every few days to ensure that bad eggs get removed from your incubator. 

There are a few more common issues that I will discuss next time.    

  1. Rough handling (shipping, etc)
  2. Dormant too long  (waited more than 7-10 days after they were laid)
  3. Poor egg turning
  4. Bad temperature
Comments | Posted in How To Articles By Kip Jensen

IncuView All-in-One Tabletop Incubator

We are proud to announce that the long awaited IncuView™ all-in-one egg incubator is finally available for purchase.   In an effort to provide an incubator that comes with the technology of more expensive incubators and everything you need to successfully hatch eggs we have created the IncuView™ all in one incubator.

Here is a list of some of the key features:

Proportional Heat Control- The IncuView™ has a proportional thermostat similar to thermostats found in expensive high end incubators. The proportional thermostat varies the amount of heat as the temperature inside the incubator gets closer to the set temperature. This provides a tighter temperature range than a standard electronic thermostat which provides a more successful hatch.

Transparent Dome- This is probably one of our favorite features of the IncuView™ because it makes the hatching experience more exciting and enjoyable. The transparent dome provides a full view of the incubator which makes it possible to see all of the eggs as they hatch.

All Plastic Construction- The IncuView™ is constructed out of a durable plastic similar to high end incubators. The all plastic construction makes the IncuView™ very durable and easy to clean so it will provide successful hatches for many years.

All in One Design- One of the most common comments that we have received from customers is how they are frustrated that they have to purchase all of the components separately to get the incubator they want. The all-in-one IncuView™ features a built in thermometer, hygrometer for measuring humidity, water channels for humidity control, and a programmable automatic egg turner that can accommodate eggs sizes from quail to goose all for one price.

IncubatorWarehouse.com’s One-year Hassle-Free Guarantee- We stand behind all of our products so customers can purchase with confidence.  

To view the full description and to purchase the IncuView™ all in one Incubator click here.

 

 

Comments | Posted in Incubator Warehouse News By Evan Cornia

A common question we often get is this: What is an appropriate temperature range for my incubator? 

We all know that the target temperature for incubating most bird eggs is 99.5 degrees F.  But we also know that getting an incubator to stay at exactly 99.5 degrees is just about impossible.  Egg incubators naturally have a temperature range that occurs as the thermostat controls the power going to the heating system.  In an on/off thermostat, the power turns completely off and then back on at full power.  As the heater cools down and then heats back up there is a delay before the air inside the incubator starts feeling the effect of the heating and cooling cycle.  This results in the temperature range that you will see as you monitor the thermometer in your incubator.  Even in a proportional style thermostat there is still a temperature range, though it is often less. 

So what is an appropriate range?  It turns out that that is a pretty tough question to answer because it depends on several things.  A better question is, “What is a good cycle time?”  The cycle time is the time it takes the incubator to go from the highest temperature (during the heating cycle) to the lowest temperature (during the cooling cycle).  Let’s discuss that a bit. 

Let’s say, for example, that your highest point is 102.5 degrees and your lowest is 96.5 degrees.  This gives us a total range of 6.0 degrees.  That seems huge and really bad.  However, if the cycle time is fast enough, this range would be just fine.  But wait, if my eggs reach 102.5 degrees that’s really bad, right?  Yes, that is correct.  But we have to remember that the air inside your incubator is warming and cooling much, much faster than your eggs.  So if the temperature cycles between that high and low temperature within just a couple of minutes, your eggs have experienced almost no temperature change.  The key is to get the AVERAGE temperature really close to 99.5 degrees and then make sure that the cycle time is short enough so the eggs stay very close to that average.  Most incubators will cycle between the high and low points within just a couple of minutes and that is very appropriate for keeping the eggs at the average temperature. 

Another example would be a high temperature of 101.0 and a low of 98.0.  But with a cycle time of 15 minutes.  The average is still 99.5 degrees and the range is only 3 degrees.  That’s better, right?  Well, no.  The cycle time is pretty long and gives the eggs a lot of time to heat and cool.  The eggs in the first scenario would be better off than this second scenario. 

We have found that keeping the cycle time short and then ensuring that the average temperature is very close to 99.5 degrees is the best way to ensure your eggs have the best opportunity for a great hatch.

Comments | Posted in How To Articles By Kip Jensen

Many of our customers have been asking about our soon-to-be released IncuView.  The IncuView is an all-in-one egg incubator that has some unique features that we are very excited about.  But the main question we are getting is when will it be available?  We hoped this would be available for the main incubation season this year.  But as is often the case, developing this new product has taken longer than expected.  The good news is that we are very close.  And the even better news is that our test results have been superb! 

This incubator combines some of the best features from some of the best incubators out there and combines them all in one. 

Here are some of the key features that we are very excited about.  First of all, this is very easy to use.  It provides a full panoramic view of what is happening inside the incubator.  This is SO cool when it comes time to watch your little chicks break out of their shells.  It comes with an integrated universal automatic egg turner.  The control module is easy to read and comes pre-set (but easy to adjust, if necessary).  The heaters and forced air fan are built in, along with the humidity monitor (hygrometer).  It plugs into your wall outlet but converts the power to 12V DC power so it is electrically very safe inside.  It can be powered by both 110/120V AC as well as 220/240V AC so it can be used anywhere in the world.  And it has a durable plastic shell which makes it easy to clean, easy to store and long lasting. 

Perhaps the best feature of all is that it won’t cost a fortune to own!  The specific price has not been set yet, but it will be very affordable for the type of incubator that it is. 

So far this has been tested with chicken, quail, duck, goose, turkey and pheasant eggs.  Please stand by because we are only a few weeks away from making this available.     

1 Comments | Posted in Incubator Warehouse News By Kip Jensen

What is the difference between a proportional thermostat and an on/off thermostat?

An off/off style thermostat turns the heater on full power when the temperature gets too low.  Then it turns it completely off when the temperature gets too high.  This style create a wider swing in temperature because the temperature has to get too high or low before the thermostat responds.  The proportional style thermostat adjusts the power up and down as the temperature starts getting close to the set-point (your target temperature).  It will reduce the amount of power going to the heater as the temperature gets close to the set-point.  Then it will increase the power as the temperature starts falling away from the set-point.  This allows the temperature swing to be much less than the on/off style thermostat.  When incubating eggs, accuracy counts!  That is why a proportional style thermostat is preferred.

Comments | Posted in Product Details By Kip Jensen
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