Many farmers own egg incubators that they either bought from a manufacturer or they made themselves (DIY incubators). If you have been asking yourself any of the following questions, then this article is for you because most of your problems would be solved after reading this. Remember to comment bellow if you still have questions or suggestions and if you want to share an experience you had that can help other farmers here.
Why do I get low hatching rates from my egg incubator?
Why do my eggs form perfectly but the chick is not able to break out of it’s shell?
Why don’t my eggs hatch at all?
What is the right temperature and humidity settings for egg incubator?
What is the correct way to position eggs in my egg incubator?
Why are my chicks deformed after hatching?
Details of this article are as a result of my five years experience in managing a 5000 egg capacity hatchery; I have sold and reviewed most of the commonest incubator parts used around the world through our website and Youtube channel. I have gathered relevant testimonies from a lot of clients who use incubators in American, Africa and Asia and I got the opportunity to service or repair incubators of different brands including Brinsea, GQF, HHQ mini incubators and other Chinese type incubators too. Let’s go straight to business.
One major thing I discovered about incubator users is that, over 90% of us ignore the calibration of the temperature and humidity sensors. After acquiring a new incubator or a new controller, most of us assume the sensors are 100% accurate and need no adjustments, and to worsen the situation, we put all our hopes on that one set of sensors provided by the manufacturer. I would like to bring it to our attention that not all brand new sensors are accurate; even the famous STC1000 has a lot of varieties/brands; some are more accurate than others and that’s why you should maintain a reliable supplier like MYKIT SHOP.
I would recommend that you get a second or third thermometer/hygrometer in order to monitor the main sensors of the incubator. I like to use the BABY THERMOMETER and ThermoPro for this purpose and the work great. Clean your sensors frequently since dust can settle on them.
Another reason why you may get low hatching rate is poor ventilation. I have had a lot of client call me and from interactions, it turns out that their incubator is air-tight. This is very wrong. There are tiny holes on the egg shell through which the chick breathes. Therefore it is important to allow fresh air or oxygen into the incubator from time to time. For DIY incubators, you can achieve this by creating vent holes on the sides of your incubator. Do not block all these vent holes especially during hatching period otherwise some chicks will suffocate.
Ultimately, you have to use FERTILE EGGS. No matter how perfect your incubator is, if you fill it with unfertile or table eggs, they will never hatch. Zero hatch. Apart from water eggs, the correct way to put your eggs in the incubator is to put the pointed part of the egg downwards. WATCH THIS VIDEO
HERE IS A FUNNY ONE: a subscriber from my YouTube channel called me from Ghana and needed help with settings: according to him, he read from online that the right temperature for incubating chicken eggs was 100 degrees, so he tried to set his incubator at 100 degrees after filling it with about 1000 eggs. But for 2 days his temperature was only hovering around 65 degrees so he needed my help to boost the temperature to 100 degrees. Ladies and gentlemen, guess what? His machine was graduated in degrees Celsius. 65 DEGREES CELSIUS WILL COOK YOUR EGGS. Well, he has pigs who fed on those cooked eggs.
For my chicken, turkey, dove, quail and guinea fowl eggs, I use (37.5 to 37.8 degrees Celsius) which is equivalent to (99.5 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit)
Rapid change in temperature and humidity can affect the development of the egg embryo. Position your incubator in a calm or enclosed area to avoid this.
Humidity is very important for successful hatching. For chicken eggs for example, maintain 50 to 65% humidity in the first 18days. In the last 3days hatching period, increase humidity to 70 – 80%. If humidity is insufficient the chick will dry up in the shell and die. If humidity is way over 85% the chick might drawn in the egg shell and die.
Turning the eggs is very important in order to prevent the chick from getting stuck to the inner walls of the egg shell. Also disinfect your incubator before loading with eggs in order to prevent deformation of the chicks. For automatic incubators, the egg tilts 45 degrees every 90 minutes or so. For manual turning, you can flip the egg 2 or 3 times a day.
Overheating: for DIY incubators, your choice of heater and fan and humidifier is important. Check the wattage of your heater; too much wattage translates to too much heating rate. The temperature change should be gradual. Make use of exhaust fans. Ensure uniform heat distribution inside the incubator. Here are some recommendations for choosing a heater wattage in areas around the equator.
Below 150eggs —- 60 to 100watts
150 to 1200eggs —- 200 to 300watts
Above 1200eggs —- 300 to 500watts
Some fans and humidifiers emit heat when they are working and this increases the risk of overheating.
12volts fans don’t emit such heat
Mist maker humidifiers do not emit heat
Perform egg handling from day 8 and remove all bad/unfertile eggs before they explode and cause infections.
In conclusion, I would say incubating eggs is an interesting process. You can grab some kits from MYKIT SHOP or Amazon and try make a small incubator for yourself; my Youtube videos can guide you to select the right brands of kits. I hope my article was helpful even though there are many other factors I could not mention. Maybe you should subscribe and follow us for more updates. DO NOT FORGET TO COMMENT BELOW. Thank you.