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Author Topic: Dry hatching experiment  (Read 33518 times)

Stereo

  • Joined Aug 2012
Dry hatching experiment
« on: February 25, 2015, 10:59:41 am »
Had an awful time last year with fertile eggs making it almost to hatch and then dying. Using 2 Brinsea Octagons and followed the instructions to the letter. I would really like to know what happened but I think they drowned in their shells. That said, we struggled to get the humidity anywhere near 60% at lockdown even with the channels full. So maybe it wasn't humid enough? Frustrating.

So I've just set 24 eggs and am trying with no water until lockdown which is what we did on our best ever hatch (23/24) back along. I have a cheapo humidity meter which is reading 20% with the vent 1/4 open.

I plan to weigh the eggs every day, having already weighed the basket and dividers so that I can try and see where I am going wrong.

Any tips or pointers? Anyone tried dry incubation? It's annoying as we started out well but our results seem to be getting worse over time. Incubators are cleaned properly each time and left to warm up etc.

HesterF

  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Kent
  • HesterF
Re: Dry hatching experiment
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2015, 11:42:30 am »
I do it with waterfowl. I think the key is the weighing - not sure why you're weighing the baskets, I just take each egg and weigh it individually and record it in a table. I also do it only every few days because it's hard to spot a trend if you weigh them too often. They all lose different amounts, even as a percentage, which is odd but I do move them round the incubator too in case it's a position thing. I've yet to work out whether some don't lose enough because they're not destined to thrive anyway i.e. chicken and egg - do they not hatch because the weight loss was wrong or do they not lose enough weight so they fail to hatch?

I did find the chicken eggs need the higher humidity (on weight loss anyway) - I tried incubating chicken and duck eggs together and the chicken eggs were losing too much weight with no added water so I had to move them to my second incubator and up the humidity for them. BUT I find chicken eggs much easier to hatch (or did last year anyway) - I was getting nearly 100% from them and not even 50% from waterfowl so there have to be other variables apart from just weight loss.

H

roddycm

  • Joined Jul 2013
Re: Dry hatching experiment
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2015, 11:57:05 am »
I have never added any water at all and have had really fantastic results everytime with chickens. Ducks I start off under a broodie for first two weeks then trf to incubator with similar great results! With the ducks If I start them in the incubator I get poor results no doubt due to the humidity!

NicandChic

  • Joined Oct 2013
Re: Dry hatching experiment
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2015, 12:02:55 pm »
I see a lot of posts on here with relatively expensive incubators having a bad time.
I've a 'cheep'  :D ebay incubator 30 just hatched 10/11 light Sussex eggs, I splosh some water in it every couple of days, I have to manually turn each egg 3 times a day :innocent: and get what I think are really good results. I wasn't expecting so many chicks this time round so the incubator was pretty full, I just took out the chicks that had partially fluffed up and popped them in their brooder while the rest hatched.
I've hatched ducks & Wyandottes (same as above, same temp, splashing of water etc)
Sorry that's not much help! Good luck with your current hatch.

lord flynn

  • Joined Mar 2012
Re: Dry hatching experiment
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2015, 01:06:05 pm »
after my first year of hatching, with awful results (remember those really wet summers!) I started to incubate dry. Much better results the next wet year and early on last year-with not so great results later on when it got much drier although fertility was excellent.

As discussed before the Brinseas can tend to dry them out on pipping as well so I will add wet cloths this year (I did fill water channels last year but not convinced by them).

with the cheap dial hygrometers (I have one) you need to calibrate them with a bag of saturated salt solution as they'll be underestimating IME. In the UK its very unlikely this time of year that humidity anywhere is 20%.

good luck, I am thinking of setting some eggs next week but its still so cold and icy and not all the hens I want to hatch from are playing ball consistently enough!

Stereo

  • Joined Aug 2012
Re: Dry hatching experiment
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2015, 01:20:31 pm »
We did start with a cheap eBay one but it nearly burnt the house down! We had great success in the early days but last year our rate was about 50%. I always though the humidity was too low and made sure the water was always full but I'm now wondering if it was too high early on.

The idea of weighing the whole tray is to get an overall weight loss. Getting the eggs out of the Octagon is not that easy if they are crammed in a bit. I know the tray and dividers weigh 200g (I think). So I figured weighing all 24 eggs each day would give me an average weight loss per egg and give me some idea if they are going too fast or too slow.

I really want to get the big 190 or 380 incubator with the humidity control but that's going to have to wait at least a year.

I do find shrink wrapping a problem on the Octagon. We often get drawn out hatches and in the end I have to remove the fluffed up ones while others are still pipping. Again, this is something we didn't have before. Hmmmm.

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Dry hatching experiment
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2015, 01:27:52 pm »
The high ambient humidity in the UK means that they can hatch successfully run 'dry'. With the dual water bath models only one filled at lockdown should be sufficient. Humidity isn't anywhere as critical as temperature. Candling will show if the air sac is developing correctly and it is that space that allows the chick to lift it's head from under its wing and pip the end of the shell.


In France it is generally so dry that you need to fill one then both water trays. We dis get caught out though with a very wet period shortly into incubation. Forgetting to compensate and empty the single tray two eggs couldn't pip. Our semi-auto incubators are made for dry climates being manufactured in Spain and Italy.


You can get differences in egg shell porosity which will confuse things somewhat, so best hatch one breed at a time I was told. Having said that we did well with Leghorn bantams mixed with TNN's and also with Orpingtons mixed with Wyandottes..

Stereo

  • Joined Aug 2012
Re: Dry hatching experiment
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2015, 02:17:28 pm »
Temp on the digital cheapo meter reads 37.3. I would say the built in analogue one would confirm this. Are the tenths that critical? Do I need to notch it up a bit?

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Dry hatching experiment
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2015, 03:37:30 pm »
Depending on which publication I have read the temperature should be 37.5 or 37.8C. So you might be a tad low but unless you have calibrated the thermometer you won't know. We us a clinical mercury thermometer.

Stereo

  • Joined Aug 2012
Re: Dry hatching experiment
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2015, 04:10:35 pm »
Put in a more expensive temp/ humidity monitor so will see how it compares to the cheap one in a few hours.

Stereo

  • Joined Aug 2012
Re: Dry hatching experiment
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2015, 06:14:05 pm »
Seems the cheapo meter does not agree with the more expensive one which is reporting about 35% humidity. Weighed the eggs again tonight and they seem to have lost more weight than they should have. Will continue to monitor.

Clansman

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Ayrshire
Re: Dry hatching experiment
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2015, 01:43:24 pm »
Definitely worth getting a decent thermometer, some of the built in or cheapy versions can have quite a variation.

I must admit I usually just make sure theres always some water in the incubator tray but never check humidity and it seems to work fine.

Except for quail eggs.

My quail hatch best when no water is added to the incubator at all.

I don't understand why and can't find any info as to why other than that they may have adapted to dry Asian conditions and the eggs are not as susceptible to water loss.

Guinea fowl are the same I believe, they lose little moisture through the shell.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2015, 08:13:29 pm by Clansman »

Stereo

  • Joined Aug 2012
Re: Dry hatching experiment
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2015, 04:53:55 pm »
If I'm taking this thing seriously I think I need to invest in a proper machine like the Brinsea 380 with the pump built in etc. I'm going to monitor the weight for a couple days and I'll maybe post my calcs up here so someone can check them. I've got an A level in maths stats but for some reason Chicken Maths is still hard to grasp.

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Dry hatching experiment
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2015, 03:24:30 pm »
I was told by Shaun Hammon of the Wernlas Collection not to add water, so never have - makes the chicks too big to pip.

Mammyshaz

  • Joined Feb 2012
  • Durham
Re: Dry hatching experiment
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2015, 07:02:00 pm »
I've only hatched twice. First time with water through the whole process. Second time dry until shutdown. Second hatch was much more successful.

 

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