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#45201 - 04/03/08 02:59 AM Re: Dry Incubation?
Bill Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 10/05/02
Posts: 591
Loc: Nevada
This is interesting & there is a lot of good information.
Basicall either Dry or Wet incubating works, but it DOES depend on your ambiant humidity.
Dry incubating works in areas of the country (s) where humidity is high, it doesn't work where humidity is low.
It is important to KNOW what the humidity is INSIDE your incubator. You are providing an artifical enviroment & there are requirements that are necessary for sucessful incubation/hatching. How you achieve that is unimportant, as long as those requirements are met.
An easy trick to get newly hatched chicks to drink/eat, especially if you are hatching every week, is to leave a 1 week old chicks in with the newly hatched chisks, The older one will show the new chicks where & what food is & show them where the water is, no dipping, no finger.
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#45202 - 04/03/08 05:16 AM Re: Dry Incubation?
Ckvchestnut Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 06/12/07
Posts: 346
Loc: Canada
Great idea about the 1 week old chick Bill!
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#45203 - 04/03/08 06:21 AM Re: Dry Incubation?
BC Breeder Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 434
Loc: Canada
I found the Bill Worrel article a few years ago. Our poultry club owes him a debt of gratitude as no single factor has had such a positive effect on the hatch rates in our local communities. We are in the Pacific Northwest.

As CJR mentioned, dry incubation is site specific and may not be the best approach in desert climates? I dunno, I just know it works well here on the coast.

Uno, like you we rely on wood heat as our sole heat source. Like you have found, the daily temperature fluctuations were messing with the hatches. We finally took a spare room and have dedicated it to hatching. We installed an electric baseboard heater in the room to give the room a consistent temperature.

I also find that insulating the temperature control arm helps protect the incubator. Especially during cold snaps when incubators tend to work overtime and cook the eggs. A folded towel over the control arm usually does the trick.

Getting chicks to drink? Much ado about nothing, IMNSHO. I just take chicks out of the hatcher and place into the brooder. They figure out where the food and water is on their own. Yes, even the turkeys!! My wife, she spent a couple years defiantly insisting on dipping their beaks. She didn't drown any, just wasted a bunch of her valuable time with no real benefit.
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#45204 - 04/03/08 07:28 AM Re: Dry Incubation?
Uno Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/26/05
Posts: 1257
Loc: Canada
One more note. I remember asking about this a long time ago, but have not heard anything mentioned about it this time around: The hen. Why does the hen hatch in all conditions without added humidity? I was told it's because of the type of heat we have in our incubators. A hen does NOT provide hot, warm air BLOWING over her eggs. WIth a hen it's skin to skin contact.The hen's body regulates the loss of humidity. An egg has all the humidity it needs right inside itself to hatch properly, as long as you don't dehydrate it by blowing hot air over it. If I set an apple in my incubator for 21 days, I bet it would be a dehydrated apple by the end of 21 days..all that hot wind in there.

Humidity is an issue (in some cases) because we have mussed up the way eggs are incubated when we remove them from the hen. Tinker with nature and long debates about humidity will be your punishment :p

Very interesting how our diverse global locations affect everything about poultry from hatching to wether it's a black bear or wombat breaking into the hen house. Okay, I know wombats do not attack chickens, but you get my drift. I think this is such a neat site!

Joachim: I do not fear any animals breaking in. I just think this wall system is a failure at keeping heat in all winter and heat out all summer. Wish I could build again differently...in another life perhaps. smile

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#45205 - 04/03/08 08:20 AM Re: Dry Incubation?
C. G. McCary Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 613
Loc: Alabama
Thanks for everybody's advice and insight-- it is exactly what I was seeking to hear. I continue to marvel at the hen sitting on her eggs all that time and having a good hatch rate--

Given the high humidity here in Alabama, I'm not going to add water to the tray until Day 18 on the hatch I am about to start this weekend & see how it goes.

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#45206 - 04/03/08 05:27 PM Re: Dry Incubation?
Ckvchestnut Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 06/12/07
Posts: 346
Loc: Canada
Would atmospheric or barometric pressure have anything to do with things?

When someone mentioned the hens hatching eggs up on a high location with no litter - I don't think the litter is an important factor... but I do think that skin on skin (or eggs for that matter) must produce humidity! Have you had your legs or whatnot stick to each other on a warm day, you will be cool enough all over the rest of your body but the parts that are stuck to each other will have kind of gotten moist. I know birds don't perspire but there must be some kind of humidity created through the body heat, after all their bodies must be similar in water content to ours? I don't know! But I think that the water pan is supposed to make up for the dry heat or air blowing around in the incubator... Trying to imitate nature.

Some of you have humid climates all year round, we are humid in summer and due to wood heat - dry in the winter as well.
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#45207 - 04/03/08 11:17 PM Re: Dry Incubation?
Joachim Dippold Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1823
Loc: Austria
Good Morning,

interesting thread, made me think;-) Every day while cleaning out our coops I can monitor that the straw we use as bedding is moist, some times more and sometimes less. I am pretty sure that Iīm not confusing this moisture with excretions. I do think this moisture is comming from the birds, so they must somehow get rid of their "surplus" moisture even if they donīt sweat in the meaning we humans sweat.

Another thing I monitor everytime a hen is sitting on eggs: they get moist and the labeling gets blurred and unreadable. Duck eggs are more moist than chicken eggs from what I have compared. So I think that the hens must have a way of transfering moisture to the eggs, or is this moisture oil? Could this moisture be from the oils of the feathers? But then I wonder why the eggs are moist even though our hens pluck their breasts prior to sitting?

Another theory of mine is that the hens while running through the still moist with dew grass in the early morning bring in moisture to their nests this way. But then, what do the hens do that donīt have access to dewed grass?

I agree and think that the water in the incubators is supposed to compensate the humidity loss due to warm blowing air.

I just remembered another thing, maybe someone here knows how the old Egypts made it with their fire-heated incubtors? Has anyone details on those antique incubators, please? This thing is starting to interest me...;-)

Best greetings Folks and enjoy the sunny day!

Joachim

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#45208 - 04/04/08 04:03 AM Re: Dry Incubation?
Kathy W. Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 273
Loc: New York
This is the very first time I'm using an incubator. I initially followed the directions and filled one of the troughs (Havabator). When I put a hygrometer in, the humidity was 80+%. I eventually sopped up all the water so now the incubator is "dry". The hygrometer reading has been hovering between about 53% and 58%. Hope the hygrometer is close to accurate.

The incubator is sitting in the room where I start some of my seedlings. So the seedling flats get watered a lot and are a sort of "reservoir" of moisture.

I'm on day 7. I'm waiting for a candler to arrive. Then we'll see - I hope. I've never used a candler ...

Kathy

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#45209 - 04/04/08 05:23 AM Re: Dry Incubation?
Oakie Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 08/30/02
Posts: 413
Loc: Oklahoma
Hi Everyone,

I have been using the Dry Method now for about 8 years and always have great hatch rates. I used to follow the directions for the incubator and always had chicks drowning and constantly had humidity problems. That article has been around for a long time and is where I first learned of it and tried it. It is humid here most of the year and I now don't even use a hygrometer because my hatches are always incredible. I add a tsp of water for the first 18 days and then I fill a trough with water and don't open until they have all hatched. I think a lot of people open and shut their incubators too much and lose valuable humidity and then wonder why some chicks get stuck in the shells. As CJR has said before though there is nothing better than a hen to hatch eggs. I have silkies and Cochins to do my hatching now and it is so much easier. The Dry Method is a proven and effective way to hatch eggs. I have posted about it before here and can't find the old threads.

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#45210 - 04/04/08 03:17 PM Re: Dry Incubation?
Blackdotte Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 10/02/04
Posts: 913
Loc: Australia
"It is humid here most of the year" I wonder how it would go here, winter humidity is around 30-40%, and down to 5% in summer.

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