styrofoam incubators

growernut(4/5 NEBR)November 8, 2005

i have a still air styrofoam incubator that i'm wondering if anyone else has had this trouble. i put 24 chicken eggs in it late last month and they started hatching this past sunday. i noticed a couple of them that are right under the heating element, picked a bit then died. could it be it's too hot under the element? i'm going to clean it tonight and put more eggs in, and try them closer to the middle to see what happens, just wondered if anyone else had this trouble.


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No I haven't noticed the ones under the element having any difficulty and I don't used a forced air incubator, but I do use an egg turner. Make sure the air hole is opened at three days before hatch, and watch that humidity. That often causes a problem.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2005 at 9:24PM
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growernut(4/5 NEBR)

i increased humidity three days before hatch and had my vent holes opened up. last night i cleaned out the incubator and another thing i found was several of the eggs stuck in the turner, like they dried tight to it for some reason. first time i have ever had that happen.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2005 at 8:54AM
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You do know that you also stop turning them three days prior to anticipated hatchout?

    Bookmark   November 9, 2005 at 8:12PM
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I currently have two styrofoam incubators going, one for turning the other for the last three day hatch time. I have been on a large turnover rate and going fast with different sized eggs. I noticed I needed to put a screen between the heating elements and the newly hatched chicks because my larger (R.Reds, Orphingtons etc.) hit the top and either die or burn there eye balls. Its super sad but I know now and won't let it happen again. Those heating elements burn!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2005 at 8:22PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

I've used my styrofoam incubator for many years with success, but I didn't have a turner--thus my eggs had a more natural shifting of position, which I think contributes to a more uniform hatch. Just this year I got an automatic turner, and my hatch rate was dismal--but I've only used it once. This spring I'll try it again and we'll see! I plan on rotating the eggs so they aren't all in the same spot all of the time.

Anyone else tried this?

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   November 9, 2005 at 10:30PM
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I've found that keeping the inky in a naturally warm place really dimishes the need for the elements to be on so long. I've found hatchouts from the incubator placed in an area where the temps don't fluctuate much and it stays naturally warm seem to be the most efficient. I have also found that the success rate with eggs gathered in early spring is much higher than that of late spring, midsummer, or late summer. This should correspond to the birds' natural cycles of maximum fertility. I've used inkies with an without the turners and found little difference, but have had marked difference in percentage of successful chicks with other variables, like what season the eggs were gathered, and the age of the hen and roos.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2005 at 11:24PM
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Roberta_z5(Z4/5 IL)

When those of you speak of incubating without turners, are you turning the eggs by hand? I have one of those incubators and want to use it in the spring with my grandson.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2005 at 9:18AM
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You sure do turn them by hand. They work just fine if you can be motivated enough to do it. The mother hen turns her eggs up to egg times a day, and when hand turning you do it three.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2005 at 9:56AM
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What incubator would folks recomend for a capacity of 50 plus pheasant eggs and a budget of say, $300.?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 9:27AM
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Miss_Kitty(6a KY)

I also have a still air incubator. We bought an egg turner, which helped a bunch with the hatch rate. This month I have duck eggs in it. I'll fill it with chicken eggs about March.

I've had poor success due to human factors. Wrong placement of the box. (The dog got it opened and got the chicks.) Didn't turn the eggs enough. Didn't take bad eggs out. Let it all dry up. I actually had the best hatching when I forgot to take the eggs out the last few days. They popped out of the eggs in the rockers and are doing great.

So minus the "duh!" errors, I had good success. I'm hoping to get a nice hatch of dominickers this year.

I've promised DH that I would sell all the ducks this year. They are so messy!

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 8:41PM
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I would highly recommend a digital automatic incubator "if" you can afford one! The styrofoam incubators are so sensitive and the temperature/humidity is a beast to try and set! The digital incubator you just put in the eggs and punch in the temp/humidity that you want and it does it all for you without ever having to open the incubator until the last few days. I'm definately going to get rid of my styrofoam bators and invest in a digital one!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2008 at 10:35AM
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shelley_t(z5 IL)

I used a foam incubator and got a 30% hatch... not great, but we hand turned 3 times a day and missed 2 turns or so. I was way low tech with this and here's the sum-up of my learning experiences:

1. Use a digital meat thermometer with a long, flexible wire probe to stick in the box. It's battery operated, acts like a thermostat and will alarm if it goes to high. I had to readjust temp quite a few times and wouldn't have otherwise have known it!

2. I chose to hand turn after the $40 piece-of-junk turner kept falling apart. We washed hands each time.

3. We had a hard time telling when the water wells were empty, so I opted to mist them with water as my mom said her mom always did. I was forced to stop when I stopped turning and decided to add food coloring to the water for the last 5 days. It did stain the foam, but was a little helpful. I never did know my humidity!

Given my circumstances, I don't think I would have done things much differently. I only wanted about 6 chickens anyway and that's what I got!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 1:20PM
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