Brinsea incubator

by Lindsay
(Nevada )

Hi - I am using the same incubator that you like. It’s my first time incubating/hatching chicks.

I set the timer on it for 21 days, not taking into consideration that some eggs may take longer.

I’m wondering now, when the incubator gets down to 0 if it will just shut off, or if it will maintain temperature/humidity until I turn it off?

I’m worried I need to catch it at the very end so I can re-set it to stay warm. Thanks!

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Brinsea incubator at day 21.
by: Cath

Hi Lindsay,

No, the incubator won't switch off. Once it gets to day 21, it keeps going until you turn it off. The only thing that happens is that the days counter stops (of course, because it's reached day 21).

Other than that, it won't be a problem. Brinseas are great!

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Humidity levels and weather

by Michael.

Good Afternoon.

This is the first time I have incubated chicken eggs and for the first six days the humidity was at 50% and hardly fluctuated day seven and eight it is now up to 60+% could it be the weather?

It was dry and sunny last week but the temperature has dropped and it's been raining - would this have an effect?

I still get confused do I add more water to bring down the humidity or less water.

Many thanks.

Michael.

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Managing humidity levels.
by: Cath

Hi Michael,

Yes, humidity in the incubator is directly affected by the external environment, so very humid weather will increase the incubator humidity.

To decrease humidity, open the incubator lid slightly until the reading is back to normal.

Adding water increases the humidity, so if the humidity reading in the incubator is too high, you will need to add less, not more, water.

Hope that helps.

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Will low humidity at day 4 affect hatch rates?

by Ionut
(Chiajna.Romania)

My incubator hadn't have any water on day four, are my chicks ok?

I added water on the first day and on the forth

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Humidity in early incubation.
by: Cath

Hi Ionut,

Humidity is really hard to control in incubation, and it's also the least well understood part of the whole process.

Some people swear by "dry incubation", ie not adding any water at all. But we know that humidity has to be high around the time of incubation.

It's less likely to be a massive problem in those early days, but the only way to tell whether the eggs are still viable is to candle them at day 6 or 7, and see whether there is development.

More about candling, here.

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Candling - which way up?

I am a little confused about candling. I think I saw that eggs should be candled pointy end down.

But I also watched your video and you marked the air cell with the blunt end down although you may have said it was a little risky to do.

So now I am a little confused as to which way to candle the egg. Is it pointy end down, blunt end down or either way?

Can you still mark the air cell with the pointy end down? Or to mark the air cell does it need to be bunt end down?

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How to candle.
by: Cath

The air cell is always at the blunt end of the egg, and I will normally candle with the pointy end facing downwards.

Here's what I say in this article about how to candle:

"It's wise to keep the more pointed end of the egg facing down. I occasionally candle with the blunt end down to be able to see the embryo more clearly, but it does run the danger of damaging the embryo, particularly in the first couple of weeks."

So always candle with the pointy end facing downwards, blunt end at the top. The only time I would do it differently is if I'm taking pictures or videos for my articles, and I'm not able to get a clear enough view.

Hope that helps.

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Is this chicken egg fertile or not?

by Shreeram N
(India)

Candled Egg

Candled Egg

Dear Ma'am,

I have recently made an incubator and just for a test, I am incubating few eggs.

But, I've got a confusion whether one of my egg is fertile or not. I am including a picture of the candled egg.

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Not a fertile egg.
by: Cath

Good morning Shreeram, and thank you for asking this question.

No, this egg does not look to me as though it is fertile. I cannot see any indication of a blood supply nor of an embryo.

If you have had it in the incubator for at least 5 days, I would say it is infertile.

Having said that, because you have made an incubator, the times might be slightly out depending on how reliable the temperature in your incubator is.

So my suggestion would be to leave it until day 8, to be absolutely sure, and then candle again.

You need to be looking for something like I show in the picture at day 8 on this page.

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Only one egg hatched - were the rest infertile?

by David
(England)

I got the eggs from a hen, from a friend's land but one hatched five days ago but there is no sign of anything happening with the other five.

I believe that out of the six eggs I only got one fertile egg by chance.

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Assessing fertility.
by: Cath

Hi David,

The only way to know whether they were fertile or not would be by candling them.

I have more information about candling, here.

I'm sorry only one hatched. Chickens are sociable birds, one will be lonely all by itself. Maybe think of getting some others to go with her.

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A crack and liquid on an egg - what do I do?

I had 4 eggs ready for hatching. 1 did this morning but my question is I checked on another one it has like a crack but dried liquid on the crack.

What do I do?

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Do nothing.
by: Cath

Have you smelt the egg, and if so, is it smelling bad? If so, take it out of the incubator straight away. Sometimes a crack with liquid indicates the chick has died, but if that's the case you will be able to smell it, and the smell will be very strong.

If there's no smell, do nothing. If the chick has started to hatch and is too early, it will wait until the liquid has been absorbed into its body. Trying to "help" it now will kill it.

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Air sac at wrong end?

by Brenda
(England)

I'm a first timer and have 6 chicken eggs in an incubator.

They are 8 days and all fertile but the air sac is in the pointy end.

Is this right or will it cause problems later?

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Air cell should be at blunt end.
by: Cath

Hi Brenda,

The air cell should be at the blunt end of the egg, and it's unusual to have even one egg in a clutch with the air cell at the wrong end. Are you sure it is that way? At day 8 there will always be what looks like a space in the pointy end, which is not the air cell but the space the chick will grow into.

Detached or upside down air cells happen most often in eggs which have been sent by post, and / or eggs which have been stored and incubated with the pointed end facing up. Incubating eggs should always be stored pointy end down, blunt end up.

But even in eggs sent by post it's not common, and to have it in all 6 eggs is really strange.

Yes, it can cause problems, because the chick is likely to try to pip into the blunt end of the egg, where there is no air sac. You need to keep a careful eye on the chicks as they try to hatch.

But I'm really suspecting it's not the air cell you're seeing there.

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Best position of egg when locking down for hatch.

by Lynette
(Melbourne)

I would like to know which way up is best for the unborn chick to lay when I set them for lockdown? I always candle my eggs just before putting them in for their final journeys intra-egg.

Gravity takes some to lay on a certain side. Some I could put anyway around.

So I’m asking if having candled the eggs and I can see where the chick lays do I lay it on its back or not?

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Eggs at lockdown.
by: Cath

Hi Lynette,

As long as the eggs are lying flat, ie not standing upright, it doesn't matter which way round they go. The chick will find its way out.

I did worry about this when I first hatched, thinking that because a chick started to pip right underneath, it would have trouble hatching. It didn't, and eventually hatched a perfectly healthy baby.

There's more about lockdown, here.

Mother nature is a wonderful thing!

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Lockdown day for bantam eggs.

by Susan Vanderbeck
(New York, ny)

Today is day 16 of bantam incubated eggs. I read they pip at day 18-21.

Which day is lockdown? Day 16 or 18? I need the auto turner out before pipping. Thank you.

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Lockdown for bantam eggs.
by: Cath

Hi Susan,

I have an article about this, which covers both large and bantam eggs at this page.

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