(My article as previously published by http://www.backyardpoultrymag.com/ )
Chicken Coop Chatter©
We always encourage experiencing incubating eggs especially if you do not have a breed of chicken that is known to go broody. It is a learning experience both for you and an opportunity to teach children about the cycle of life. But as part of that hatching process, you need to know that your hygrometer and thermometer are accurate at all times. Most failed hatches of fertile eggs is caused by failed incubators and the failure is hygrometer and thermometer, even in a new unit. Whether the unit fails because of poor manufacturing, or from jostling in shipment, you must check even those in a new unit to be assured of accuracy. Any time you put your incubator away for the end of hatching season, you must check those gauges again when you start the process over, since things do get jostled in storage.
Both tests are simple to achieve. It would be rare for a manufacturer to actually tell you how to test those. They usually only tell you how to set them. You can test them against another accurate thermometer or hygrometer, but an easy method to be certain of accuracy is as follows.
- Ice Cubes
The hygrometer must be accurate at all times to maintain proper humidity within the incubator. A hygrometer is used in a variety of ways, such as in museums to maintain proper humidity for priceless objects so they do not deteriorate, cigar smokers use them in their humidors to keep the cigars the exact moisture content necessary, and researchers in laboratories use hygrometers for a variety of purposes, including incubating of chicken/fowl and reptile eggs. If the hygrometer is not reading the humidity accurately you face the risk of dry or wet hatches and either one can be detrimental to hatching chicks even if they were alive up to the hatching period, they can die in the shell from drowning if too much humidity or not able to break through the membrane of a dry hatch. When either of these things happen, know that it is a faulty hygrometer.
- Small dish, liquid medicine cup, pill bottle cap, water bottle cap or other suitable small container
- eye dropper
- Sealable plastic bag
Fill the small dish with salt. Add a small amount of water to the salt (an eye dropper will be useful). Do not saturate the salt, you only want a bit of water not enough to dissolve the salt. Place the salt container into the sealable bag along with the hygrometer and seal tightly. Allow to sit for at least 6 hours in an undisturbed area. Your hygrometer should read 75%. If it does not read 75% at the end of the 6 hours, you will need to adjust it with the buttons on the digital hygrometer or via the knobs on an analog hygrometer. If you are unable to set the hygrometer, either subtract or add the proper humidity level or replace that hygrometer.
Regardless of new or an old thermometer or hygrometer, always test before using. The few minutes of hands on time, will be worth the effort for a successful hatch. Things do happen that we have no control over. However testing your equipment can spare you a lot of heartache when a hatch fails.
Do not assume that shipped eggs or infertile eggs is the problem in a hatch. From our experiences, it is nearly always faulty hygrometer and/or thermometer whether new or used. Be sure to test both for absolute accuracy. When we ship our known and tested fertile hatching eggs, we provide complete information on the hatching process including optimum temperature and humidity. When followed, using accurate equipment you can be assured of the best hatch possible, barring any other outside forces such as power outages or power surges.
We wish you the very best outcome in your hatching experience and we are always available to answer questions in the hatching process. http://justfowlingaround.weebly.com/ our website. Justfowlingaround@live.com our email and at our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Just-Fowling-Around/365743116845352?ref=hl
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