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Incubation hatching: keeping your brood healthy during the incubation

One thing that you really need to be careful of when engaged in incubation hatching is temperatures, which should neither be allowed to climb more than a degree above the recommended incubation temperature for your incubator, nor allowed to fall more than a degree or so below it. In either case, the alteration in development time negatively impacts the brood, with greater or lesser fatalities depending upon the temperature difference that they suffer from. Maintaining the temperature inside your incubator carefully can go a long way towards preventing serious mishaps of this nature, and can contribute to ensuring that your poultry keeping efforts are a complete success.

An incubator that does not use the forced air approach requires even more care in maintaining the temperature, because layers of air form in such an incubator, and these layers are all at different temperatures. Remember when checking the temperature, that you're not checking to see what the temperature within the incubator is, but instead, checking to see what temperature the eggs are at.

To this end, you need to place the thermometer so that its bulb is exactly on a level with the uppermost portion of the egg shells. This is if you've placed the eggs so that they're lying on their sides. If you've placed them vertically, then you need to take a measurement from a point that's about half an inch below the uppermost section of the egg. As a matter of fact, the position that I've mentioned is actually the position of the embryo within the egg shell, so what you're actually doing is measuring the temperature that they developing embryos experience. You need to be very careful to measure only the air near the eggs - you must not, under any conditions, touch the side of the eggs (or even worse, the incubator itself) with the thermometer, or your readings will be off.

Remember that you need to be very careful with your readings to be successful at incubation hatching. The temperature cannot be off by even a single degree above or below the recommended standard, or you may have serious problems with the eggs that you're hatching, and might even lose the brood.

Above all, be careful that the thermometer you're using is accurate, by checking its readings against readings from other thermometers. Also, ensure that your thermometer is not damaged in any way, or readings might, once again, be inaccurate. I cannot stress enough how important it is to ensure accurate temperatures when incubation hatching - this is perhaps the most important lesson of all.

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