Baby Chicks Hatched In HovaBator Incubator

Baby Chicks Hatched In HovaBator Incubator

On Jan. 15, 2010 we put a clutch of eggs in our new Hovabator 1620 incubator. I hadn’t hatched eggs for 30 some years, so it was very egg-citing.

We put in a barnyard mix of eggs, from our free-range flock, that consisted of Russian Orloff Bantam, Serama, RIR, BO, Silkie cross, Crested Polish cross, Splash Wyandotte and some mystery eggs.

This is a journal of how we did it and what our results were.

Day 1

The HovaBator 1620 still air incubator was set to 100-102 degrees and 35 percent humidity. We got that percentage humidity by filling the center water trough only. Then we put the eggs in on the egg turner , put on the lid and forgot about them… other than to keep an eye on the temp and humidity. A digital thermometer that also shows humidity worked great. It was laid right on top of the eggs in the incubator so we could check it easily. We have the incubator right under our house thermostat, so it stayed very consistent.

We also plugged the incubator into a battery backup system in case the power went out for any reason. Happens this time of year, and eggs can’t take much of a temperature drop before they die.

Day 10

Day 10 we carefully candled the eggs and found 3 clear and one with a blood ring, so we culled them. A couple others were hard to see, as they had dark shells. Eggs were put back on the egg turner in the incubator and forgotten about again until day 18.

Day 18

We pulled out the eggs and the egg turner. The egg turner would not be put back in the incubator. Each egg was carefully candled again and we found a couple more that had stopped developing. They were culled and water was now added to all the troughs in the bottom of the incubator. That brought up the humidity to 65-70 percent. The eggs were placed back in the incubator on the wire mesh and laying on their sides. The lid was placed back on top and we walked away again until day 20.

Day 20

The eggs weren’t supposed to hatch until the 21st day, but we had some little Serama eggs that started hatching on the 20th day. As the eggs started hatching, the humidity went up, so we had to keep a close eye on them. We took out the red vent plugs on top of the HovaBator anytime it got close to 70 percent and put them back in at 65 percent. The wafer thermostat did a good job of keeping the temp steady at 100-102 degrees.

Day 22

All the eggs had hatched but a few and the chicks were running around. We moved the chicks to a brooder set at 100 degrees.

There was one egg that had pipped and was still alive and cheeping weakly. I decided to help him zip and within 5 minutes he was out and healthy. I think he was just too big for the egg shell and couldn’t move to zip. You’re not supposed to help chicks because they are usually not healthy anyhow, but this time I did and it’s the biggest chick we got. It is also the tamest and most calm. A real cutie, so glad I saved it.

We left the other eggs in the incubator another day. The last few chicks had died in the egg for some reason. Just never pipped or anything. For our first hatch in our new HovaBator incubator we got 13 live chicks and we are very happy with that result.

Last step and most important…

I cleaned and sanitized the incubator. I took it all apart and scrubbed and sanitized every bit. Chicks can get bacterial infections very easily, so cleanliness is most important. Also let the incubator dry thoroughly after cleaning and before reloading with eggs so the humidity sets right.

We are thinking of putting a fan on the incubator in the future, but hear mixed thoughts on that. We are doing another hatch still air for now. Just put 42 eggs in the incubator Feb. 6, 2011 and set 10 eggs under a Serama broody hen. We’ll see who has the best results.

If you have any ideas on how to help improve our hatch, please post a comment below. We’d love to hear how you hatch your eggs.

Below is a video of the little Russian Orloff chick in the photo falling asleep after being placed in the brooder.

Photo of Russian Orloff chick hatching in HovaBator 1620 still air incubator.

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8 Responses to “Baby Chicks Hatched In HovaBator Incubator”

  1. Bert says:

    Great post carefully outlining the critical steps and precautions that must be adhered to for success
    when trying to hatch eggs without the help of a momma hen.

    Thanks again and I look forward to each and everyone of your posts.

  2. Geri says:

    I just started my second hatch.
    Got a new Hovabator.
    Added a camper frig fan and thermometer that also measures humidity.
    I didn’t monitor first batch or use fan and only had 6 hatch of 12, but
    2 are moving still and others float-test viable.
    Wait and see.
    setting 30 eggs this time of good quality,
    so hope my improvements bump up my success rate.
    It ain’t as easy as it looks!
    :)

  3. admin says:

    Geri,
    Thanks for your input. It gets easier but there is a definite learning curve.
    We found that when we got a thermometer with a probe that we could dangle
    down into the incubator at the same height as the egg yoke that made a difference
    in our success. Also that lock down period is so important for temperature and
    humidity. Best of luck with your next hatch.

  4. Andy says:

    Great details,

    I been working on a electronic temeprature controller. I finally have it perfected. In the past, I have built several incubators, and used most store bought types. I am also trying out different types of heating elements. Things kinda got put on hold due to purchasing a home in the country, and moving. Now I am about ready to resume my incubator works. My latest Temp Controller is of the circuit board type with controller knobs, and temp probe. Input is 12 volt, the output relay is 12 volt up to 220 volt so I have plenty of options for heating element options. I have added fans to the hooverbator types, and I have found that making a couple of baffles cut from aluminum sheet metal with some spacers work the best, or the temp is hard to control. Anyways I am boomarking this site, and when I get the prototype incubator up going/tested I will post some pictures. I always have lots of electronics on hand, and also build egg turners. I do add safety fuses, and limiters to elements. I have found that my past homemade DIY incubators work great. Wafers are the golden rule, but I wanted a temp controller that would hold a very accurate temp, and an alarm can be added in case of power failure/drop in temp. The temp probes are nice for placing near the eggs. I am looking forward to getting all my electronic parts out, and starting my research. I do need to get a new soldering station. I want to thank you for sharing your experience with us, you great info, and I look forward to doing the same, and will share in detail.
    Thanks.

  5. Kellie Kerri says:

    There are a lot of fun things to do out there but buying a chicken incubator is so much fun. I can’t believe how much fun you can have especially for children. They love looking at the eggs and when they hatch they are so excited. I love your timeline. It really makes it interesting to see how the procedure went for you guys. It is quite fun knowing that you were able to help those 13 chicks come out nicely. Good story.

  6. Patricia Hodges says:

    Thanks for posting this was very informative. About the candling do you take the eggs out one at a time or what is the time frame on doing this process. My concern being the temp change in the egg and the incubator.

    Thanks-Patty

  7. admin says:

    Hi Patricia, I take several out at a time, candle and put back in. Don’t worry so much about opening the incubator once in a while. A momma hen gets off her eggs almost daily the first 18 days, and for about 5 minutes at a time. Eggs need fresh air too.

  8. Vic says:

    can I just say, I have never in my life heard of someone making such a “high tech” incubator. How could you build one yourself?
    That was a very informative story you told. I wan’t to try a “Hova-bator”. they sound like a really good incubator for eggs. Kids just love checking on them around the 18th-21st days. I have had several hatching instances, where the eggs dont hatch until the 24th day. Is that normal, or ok?
    Vic recently posted..Baby Chicks Hatched In HovaBator Incubator

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