Dry incubation

Newly hatched chicksDry
incubation means exactly what it sounds like — you incubate your
chicken eggs without adding any water to the wells of the
incubator.  The goal is to get your eggs to lose 13% of their
weight by day 18 so that the chicks will have large enough air pockets
to hatch correctly.  Although this technique flies in the face of
the instructions that come with most incubators, many home hatchers
swear by dry incubation and say they get better results that way.

For everyone who loves
dry incubation, there is a naysayer for whom dry incubation didn’t
work, and here’s why — air temperature and humidity have a huge
impact on humidity in your incubator.  For my late May/early June
incubator run, I put in absolutely no water, and the humidity in my
incubator was still so high that I was only able to get the eggs to
lose 11% of their weight.  On the other hand, people who live in
desert climates can’t use dry incubation techniques or their eggs lose
far too much moisture.

Some dry hatchers not
only leave water out of their incubator, they also use a dehumidifier
in the room, which is what I would probably have to do to get 13%
weight loss from our eggs during our humid summers.  At the other
extreme, folks in dry climates sometimes add humidifiers to their rooms
to increase the ambient humidity, although it’s usually easier to
increase humidity just within the incubator by adding water to the
wells.  Regardless of how you get there, the incubator’s goal
humidity is 30% to 40% if you’re a dry hatcher or 40% to 50%
if you’re a conventional hatcher.  (This is all for days 1 through
18 — see
and why to raise the humidity during hatch here

Egg weight loss spreadsheetI’ve posted before about how egg
weight loss during incubation
is the real test of whether your
incubator’s humidity levels are correct.  I know the formulas in
that post look a bit daunting — that’s why I made a spreadsheet for
this hatch that does the calculations for me.  You can download
my spreadsheet
use it during your own incubation run, whether wet or dry.  I hope
it helps you get more living chicks as a result!

Our chicken waterer keeps your chicks healthy
once they pop out of the shell.

Latest Comments

  1. Arvin May 1, 2012
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