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Incubation Techniques

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Redwood Incubator Calibration and 


Incubation Techniques

 


 CALIBRATION:      

 

To calibrate the Leahy I set the outside one first, that would be the one on the right side.   Set that at 101.5.  Then set the other one at 99.5 or what I do is set it so it kicks out as it hit's 100 degrees.  That way it will average close to 99.5.

 You have to turn the adjustment screw out.  Turning it in will push the wafer down against the micro switch button and shut the heat off.   For more heat you turn the adjustment rods counter clockwise and to lower the heat you turn them clockwise.  You set the temp for your highest temp first.  That would be the micro switch on the right.   This will be the back up to the other micro switch.    If your first one goes bad you'll notice that your temps will go up to the temp you set the right hand micro switch set at.  Then you start adjusting the left micro switch to what you want for your operating temp.  Each micro switch works independent of the other.  You don't try to set each micro switch so they work together. The right micro switch is just the fail safe or backup to the first one.   

If you are having difficulty getting your wafers to calibrate, your micro switches might be sticking.  Take WD 40 or something similar and spray it on the button on the micro switch.   Sometimes a blue/green corrosion builds up on the switches and they'll stick.  The easiest way to check out a wafer is to pull it and shake it.   They're filled with ether and if they crack it leaks out a little and they eventually don't work at all.  Replacement wafers are available at http://www.SmithPoultrySupplies.com  (Item # 3007).  If your wafer overheats on you and it isn’t cracked, then I think it's in the micro switch buttons. 

  

 INCUBATION TECHNIQUES:

 

All eggs in nature are incubated flat.   You'll never see a hen set them on the small end and turn them.   By laying them flat and rolling them 180 degrees each time, you’re making everything inside the egg shift completely.   This complete shift is called “Making the Embryo Exercise”.   This will give you a stronger chick when it comes time to hatch.

 The only time I'll incubate eggs in the upright position is when I get eggs shipped in.  Then I incubate them in the upright position for 7 to 8 days without turning them at all and then turn them for the remainder of the 18 day period.  This stabilizes the air cell and gives the embryo a better chance to start growing and get strong.  You should let them rest at least 12 hours prior to incubation when you use this system.  When shipped eggs that have air cell damage, it's best to have them incubate in the upright position the entire time of incubation just tipping back and forth after the first 7 to 8 days.   I've taken eggs that have the air cells damaged so bad that they'll shift all the way down the side of the egg and I've gotten a good percentage of them to hatch doing it this way.  This is my idea from getting hatching eggs shipped in over the years and then nothing hatching because of air cell damage.  I just studied the eggs and opened tons of them that didn't hatch and came to the conclusion that to get them to hatch you first had to get the embryo growing building up strength.  That was always the biggest battle.  That's what blood rings are in shipped eggs.   The embryo starts and then dies because it can't attach itself properly in the egg.  Run both of these incubator with the air vents wide open.   This will keep the air healthier in the incubator and keep the humidity lower.   Only go by the size of the air cell in the egg to gauge the humidity in your incubator.  Some eggs dry down easier than others.   Marans eggs will dry down slower than Leghorn eggs.   This has something to do with the egg shell.   But if you go by standard operating directions and run your incubators according to the incubator directions you'll have poor hatches.   You have to shoot for getting the air cell size to grow up to 1/3 of the egg by the time the chicks are supposed to hatch.   The smaller the air cell the wetter the chicks will be.   Small air cells will lead to a lot of chicks pipping and then drowning in the eggs.

As far as the humidity goes like I said, just watch the air cells.  They're what will determine if the eggs are incubating right.  Sticky chicks are caused by way to much moisture in the egg.    What you have to think about is all the white of the egg has to be gone when that chick is ready to pip out.  Then what happens ,if it is still there, is as soon as air gets into the egg when they pip through, the white of the egg acts like glue and as they're pipping it's drying and eventually it plugs the air hole and their nostrils up and they smother.   I have all my vents wide open and I don't add any water until the eggs are pipping.   I set my Redwoods up so when I start them I fill the water pans full of the hottest water that comes out of the faucet.  Then let them run for a couple of hours to seal up the wood.   Then set your temps.  Once the Redwoods are sealed then the moisture evaporating out of the eggs seems to be enough until they start pipping.   Then, when the eggs start pipping, fill the water pans with straight hot water again.    I do this even with my waterfowl eggs.   They hatch so much better this way.

 I've always lived my life with the motto that "The way you treat people will come back to you double".     I've made a lot of friends this way.                   

 Rodney Haefs