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PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:17 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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First time poster - long time lurker... looking for some advice from a seasoned Hexabator user please!

So after much reading, I decided to purchase myself a Hexabator. Now I had read about the dodgy Chinglish instructions before, and I think I understand how the incubator works, but the 2 trays have me confused.

Which tray do I use? Do I place the eggs on the cream coloured one, or the clear one (as per my pics below)? The instructions only mention 'moveable egg tray basket', and 'Egg tray Mesh'

Any help appreciated!

Cheers, Andy


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:48 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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In your pictures the bottom one is where the eggs go. (The creamy yellow.) The other one should be attached to the under side of the lid, it is a "barrier" to stop the chicks coming into contact with the fan or heating elements when they are up and about.

The water goes in the bottom of the same tray, there are two "moats" for the water, fill the inner smaller moat for the first 18 days, then fill the outer one for the last 3 days.

I found I had to sit it on a folded up towel, and wrap it in a picnic blanket to help keep the temperature stable. Don't believe the dial, I had to have mine on about 39 to get 37.5-37.8 on the eggs

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And I kept bottles of water in it if I didn't have a full load of eggs, the extra mass of warm water helped keep it stable as well.

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Hopefully you'll end up with this!
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Silver laced and golden laced Wyandottes, plus a few backyard layers.
Good luck,

Ron

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:39 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Great, thanks for that Ron, and for the tip about the bottles of water.

Mine came set to 38 by default (mine has a digital readout as opposed to a dial like yours), so I'll let it sit at that for a few hours, and take some temp readings with a separate thermometer and see how I go.

Cheers,

Andy


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:58 am 
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Dapper Duck
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Have run the incubator now for a day or two with some test eggs, and have been taking the shell temperature every 6 or so hours with an infra-red medical thermometer to see how I'm going for temps. I assume from what I've read, that shell temp measurement is more important than air temp measurement?

In saying that, out of 15 eggs, the highest reading is 38.0, and the lowest 35.6 - giving me an average overall the entire 15eggs of 36.8. Now from what I've read here on BYP, that what is important is the 'average temp'?

Thanks,

Andy


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2013 12:15 pm 
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Golden Robin
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Hi Andy

Yes that is right - the average temperature is what counts as long as the swing of the temperature is not too great. But lets hone in on some specifics first. It is the core temperature that matters, not the reflected heat of the shell and he ideal core temperature is 37.7 C.

Also the egg is a very good thermal mass and that any variation in temperature either up or down in the egg is going to take at least an hour to vary even one degree. Its why hens can and do get up off the nest to exercise, eat, defecate, drink and a host of other things.

Most entry level incubators are designed to work in an enviroment that is around 23 degrees - at that temperature they hold their 37 degree temperature quite well. However they struggle to maintain temperature when the room temperature drops to 15 degree or lower.

There is no easy way to measure the core temperature, however, if the average incubator temperature is 37 degrees then the heat transfer must make the egg core the same temperature over time.

Be aware of the difference between radiated heat in an incubator that is not fan forced and the convection heat from an incubator that does have a fan.

Mike

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2013 12:38 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Thanks Mike,

So then, provided that my air temperature is actually 37.7, I need not worry about differing shell temps? ie temps showing 35.5 etc, as eventually the internal temp will rise to meet the air temp?

Oh, and mine is fan forced, so do I need to take anything into account in relation to the temp?

Andy


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2013 1:09 pm 
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Golden Robin
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Andy

Fan forced is good as the the same temperature is being blown to all parts of the incubator (in theory anyway) where as radiant heat models tend to have hot spots and cold spots and the initial heat needs to be higher that 37.7 so the the air around the eggs that hs been radiated down is at 37.7. A bit of a juggling act with different sized eggs.

It commonly takes eggs twenty four hours for the temperature to rise to 37C and its only once the eggs get to that temperature that incubation starts. Factor that in to your calculations for hatch day. Its one day for the eggs to warm and twenty one days for incubation and then often a day for the hatching process.

You dont have to do anything particular - ultimately the eggs temperature will rise to the average incubator temperature. As long as the temperature swing is not too great then it desn't matter. the thermostats role is to average it out. Eggs will continue rise in temperature for a time after the thermostat switches off the heat and also the egg temperature will continue to drop after the thermostat switches the heat back on. Thats just physics and co-efficients of heat loss and gain. The trick is to have a thermostat that minimises the gap between hot and cold.

The heat source in entry level incubators is not a powerful source and nor should it be. Its role is to warm eggs not cook them so hence my comments earlier about choosing the best room to incubate in. They do not cope with cold rooms. There are two tricks that here though. One is to have the incubator full even it they are supermarket eggs that will not hatch - more mass to hold heat !! Or, the second is to fill up a plastic drink bottle with water and place it in the incubator - a litre of water is a fairly substantial thermal mass in its own right .

Mike

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2013 1:21 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Great, thanks for the pearls of wisdom Mike.

My incubator currently sits in a temp controlled room that doesn't fluctuate much from 20-22 degrees, and I've thrown a 750ml plastic bottle full of water in there like Ron alluded to above.

I'll have a play with getting the temp right over the next 24hrs, then see about setting some of my birds fertile eggs in there.

Thanks for taking the time to help me out!

Andy


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2013 5:12 pm 
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Showy Hen
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Mine sits in a cupboard that also has the water heater in it. It stays really constant in there and warm all by itself (so less heating by the unit), which really helps because overnight our house can get down to 16 degrees.

I started with an RCom 20 and still really love it for the first critical week but really (like others have mentioned) like it as a hatcher. The chicks really seem to get a great crip on this grid and the dirt just drops down and is soooo easy to clean.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2013 7:12 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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heike1a2b3c - How have you found the temp control on yours? ie The actual temp vs what the controller says it is?


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 5:28 pm 
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Proud Rooster
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rotten_66 wrote:
The water goes in the bottom of the same tray, there are two "moats" for the water, fill the inner smaller moat for the first 18 days, then fill the outer one for the last 3 days.

If I'm using this incubator as just a hatcher, do I just put water in the outer, or both?

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 7:55 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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I've found that if I only put it in the smaller tray I get around 45-50% humidity, filling the second makes it go higher (not sure yet what that is - am a couple of days off raising my humidity yet)


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 8:25 pm 
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Golden Robin
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Andy

Dont lose sleep over humidity, its important but not that important. If you have humidity then basically you have enough. Eggs hatch happily enough even in arid climates.

Mike

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:03 pm 
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Junior Champion Bird
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I got this hexabator for Christmas and did a few horrendous hatches. It was my first time using an incubator though :hiding .
I read only fill the little channel until lockdown and then both for those last 3 days.
I only hatched about 10% of all hatches, with heaps of DIS but I believe some of that is due to other factors ie the colour I am hatching. Sigi's book says black silkies have shorter thick fluff which makes it harder for them to turn in the egg, and the majority of dis were blacks. My lavenders are also a problem in an incubator (no difficulties under broodies though).
I do believe my temp reads too high, so I am buying a decent thermometer before I try again.It was also raining heavily on and off when I was incubating, so that didn't help either.
I'll retry with the new thermometer. I really think the temp dials are incorrectly calibrated in most cases.
The guy who sells them from WA says they take them apart and recalibrate every one before selling.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 3:09 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Thanks to all that provided advice - 14 out of my 15 eggs hatched in the early hours of yesterday morning and the night before. They all pretty much hatched bang-on day 21 - I tried to not stress out too much about humidity Mike :)

93% hatch rate on my first ever attempt at incubating, and in an untested incubator. Happy with that! Have recorded the temp I used throughout, and will use that setting again.


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