Eggs have the best hatch rate when stored for no more than 7 days before beginning to incubate. Allow cool eggs to warm slowly to room temperature before placing in the egg incubator. Abrupt warming from 55 degrees to 100 degrees can cause moisture condensation on the eggshell which can lead to disease and reduced hatches.
Humidity is controlled in order to prevent unnecessary loss of egg moisture. The ideal humidity level for hatching eggs is still being debated among experts, but many agree that it should not fall below 25% or above 60% between setting and three days prior to hatching. During the last three days (the "lock-down" period), the humidity level should be increased to between 70-80%. Keeping an adequate humidity range inside your poultry egg hatcher is quite simple. The Fusmar egg incubators come with simple instructions on how to use the water channels in the floor of the incubator. Follow the instructions that come with the incubators. Please note that the humidity in your area will have an impact on how much water you'll need in the incubator to keep it within the correct humidity range. Check the water level periodically to ensure they don't dry out.
Humidity Tip: If you find that you are having a difficult time seeing the water in the channels to know if there is enough water, try this little tip: just add a drop or two of food coloring to the water. As the water level decreases, you'll notice the color of the water (due to the food coloring) start to darken. It will change again when the water channel is actually dry. In the egg incubator, this will color the foam. This will not hurt the incubator, though it sure makes it easier to tell if you have enough water!
Another Tip: Having a hard time getting the humidity high enough? Try placing small sponges inside the incubator. This will increase the surface area that is wet, allowing more water to evaporate into the air which increases the humidity.
Many experts agree that a common cause of poor hatch rates is too much humidity during the first part of incubating and not enough during the last three days (the "lock-down" period). Follow the instructions above and the further details you will find in your incubator's instruction guide.
How Long To Incubate Eggs
The time required for an egg to hatch is dependant mostly on the type of egg. The other key factor that affects is the temperature of the incubator. If the temperature is a little higher than the correct temperature for that type of egg, the embryo will develop faster than normal and the bird will hatch early (this is not a good thing). If the temperature is lower than the correct temperature for that type of egg, the embryo will develop slower than normal and the bird will hatch later than normal. Neither case is ideal. You should always target having your eggs hatch during the target window that is appropriate for that kind of bird.
How To Set The Temperature In Egg Incubator
Setting the correct temperature in your incubator is the single most important thing you can do to get a good hatch. However, it's not as simple as it may seem. As you plug in and turn on your incubator and wait for the temperature to stabilize, it's important to understand a few simple things about thermal dynamics (that's just a fancy way of saying "how temperature changes").
The more eggs you have in your incubator, the longer it will take to come up to temperature and stabilize. As the temperature gets close to the setpoint (the temperature your thermostat is set to), the rate the temperature changes will slow down. You'll find that the egg hatchery machine will start heating up very quickly at first, but the last little bit can take several hours. This is perfectly normal. It's just how the physics work.
This means that as you wait for the temperature to stabilize, you really do have to be patient and wait awhile (just like your incubator instructions say). And it also means that every time you adjust the control (change the set point), you have to again be patient and wait for the temperature to stabilize. Keep in mind, the more eggs you have in your incubator, the longer it will take to come up to the setpoint and stabilize.