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Home » More Info » Egg Incubation Info and Tips on Egg Incubation » Correct Incubation Facilities

Egg Incubation Info: Egg Incubation Temperature

Egg Incubtion Temperature

  • Incubators are most reliable if kept in a room with a constant temperature. Maintaining a steady incubator temperature inside a room which varies widely in temperature is practically impossible.

  • The temperature inside an incubator should be measured with a thermometer. This may be either a traditional mercury thermometer or an electronic thermometer. The bulb of the thermometer may be placed inside a blob of Plasticine or similar to reduce changes in readings due to minor fluctuations and give an average reading. It is important to make sure that the readings on the thermometer are accurate or, if there is an error, that the error is known, stable and can be corrected for. New thermometers should be checked against one known to be accurate. Either traditional mercury thermometers or digital thermometers may be used.

  • Even in a forced air incubator there will be differences in temperature within an incubator, which may be mapped by placing thermometers in different places within the incubator. In a still air incubator the temperature varies vertically within the incubator and there may be a difference of several degrees between the bottom and the top of the incubator. The temperature should be kept at that required by the eggs at the level at which the eggs are kept. In order to monitor this, a thermometer should be placed at the same level as the eggs.

  • N.B. the temperature will fall when the door is opened to add, remove or manipulate eggs. These procedures should be carried out quickly but carefully.

  • For normal development, eggs must be maintained within a narrow temperature range. Both too high and too low temperatures may be deleterious to eggs, although in general eggs are more tolerant of low than high temperatures:

    • A temperature which is too high by a few degrees may be lethal and even a rise of just 1.0-1.5C (2-3F) may cause embryo death after perhaps four or five days.

    • Temporary cooling (as may occur naturally when an incubating bird leaves the nest to eat etc.) does not appear to be deleterious.

    • Constantly slightly low temperatures may result in slow development and late hatching, but if the temperature is maintained at a sufficiently low level, deaths may result.

    • Incorrect temperatures also affect incubation time, with earlier hatching if the temperature has been slightly high, later hatching if the temperature has been slightly low.

  • Humidity levels can be measured with a wet-bulb thermometer.

  • A wet-bulb thermometer is an ordinary thermometer in which the bulb is kept damp by means of a "wick" of covering the bulb and dipped into a small container of water. Evaporation from the wick reduces the temperature of the thermometer bulb.

  • Since evaporation is greater in a drier environment, a lower temperature reading indicates a lower humidity and a higher temperature reading indicates a higher humidity. A dirty wick gives a falsely high reading. The distance from the thermometer to the water reservoir for the wick should be about one inch (2.5cm).

  • Relative humidity is proportional to the wet bulb reading if the dry bulb reading is constant. Tables indicating relative humidity for different wet bulb readings at different dry bulb temperatures are available in some incubation texts .

  • All incubators contain some method of maintaining humidity. Humidity is usually manipulated by changing the surface area of water trays placed in the bottom of the incubator - a larger surface area will produce a higher humidity. For example, trays may have a sloping floor, in which case increasing the depth of water will increase the surface area. Alternatively, surface area may be increased by placing sponges into the water with part of their surface coming out of the water.

  • N.B. humidity will drop when the incubator is opened and , particularly in a still air incubator, may take some time to return to the previous level. Spraying the floor of the incubator lightly with water before closing the incubator door may be used to increase the rate at which humidity is restored.

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