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Recommendations for a small, 1st time incubator and hatching egg, please! :)

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hello, and thanks for reading! I am interested in incubating my own chicken eggs. Years ago, I had tried the cheap $20 table-top flying saucer type incubator with no luck. The eggs would make it up until the last couple of days and just quit. I've heard those incubators are pretty worthless, but I still had to try for myself. I would like to try again, but hopefully with some actual success this time! I'm a backyard enthusiast with zero experience in hatching eggs, so I am looking for recommendations, tips & tricks in finding a small (a dozen or LESS) WORKING incubator that doesn't cost me an arm and a leg. Even 12 would be way more than I need. I have good friends who live further out in the country who can take any roosters or extra chicks, so rehoming is not a problem. Also, any advice on aquiring the best eggs for hatching, handling advice, and any other important things I need to know for hatching success! Right now, I am just learning, so breed is not that important. I don't want to order an expensive breed only to have my inexperience cost me. (Although, ultimately, Jersey Giants are on the very top of my wish list!) Another thing, I've heard that especially with the current avian flu situation as well as the heat, ordering eggs (eBay in particular) is a bad idea for aquiring eggs. Soooo... Again, thank you in advance for reading and any and all advice is very much welcomed and appreciated!

Has anyone used this particular incubator, or is it just another waste of money? I couldn't find any reviews on it and the next least expensive one I found was almost $100 more! Is there no middle ground??? Do I just need to quit being a cheapskate, bite the bullet and fork out the money for an incubator that works? Lol
post #2 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Naliez View Post

Hello, and thanks for reading! I am interested in incubating my own chicken eggs. Years ago, I had tried the cheap $20 table-top flying saucer type incubator with no luck. The eggs would make it up until the last couple of days and just quit. I've heard those incubators are pretty worthless, but I still had to try for myself. I would like to try again, but hopefully with some actual success this time! I'm a backyard enthusiast with zero experience in hatching eggs, so I am looking for recommendations, tips & tricks in finding a small (a dozen or LESS) WORKING incubator that doesn't cost me an arm and a leg. Even 12 would be way more than I need. I have good friends who live further out in the country who can take any roosters or extra chicks, so rehoming is not a problem. Also, any advice on aquiring the best eggs for hatching, handling advice, and any other important things I need to know for hatching success! Right now, I am just learning, so breed is not that important. I don't want to order an expensive breed only to have my inexperience cost me. (Although, ultimately, Jersey Giants are on the very top of my wish list!) Another thing, I've heard that especially with the current avian flu situation as well as the heat, ordering eggs (eBay in particular) is a bad idea for aquiring eggs. Soooo... Again, thank you in advance for reading and any and all advice is very much welcomed and appreciated!

Has anyone used this particular incubator, or is it just another waste of money? I couldn't find any reviews on it and the next least expensive one I found was almost $100 more! Is there no middle ground??? Do I just need to quit being a cheapskate, bite the bullet and fork out the money for an incubator that works? Lol
 

My opinion, the cheaper the bator, the more work and harder to successfully hatch. But that doesn't mean you can't have a successful hatch. I use one of the most hated incubators around- the Little Giant.  I have figured out the quirks and how to hatch successfully in it, but it's more work to get high hatch rates than a slightly more expensive incubator. I do not have any personal experience with those little ones, but I've seen people hatch in them. I never recommend the mini incubators though because I know how addicting hatching is and you are so limited with the minis.  If you go bigger you can always just set a dozen, but if you have a mini, and you catch the hatching bug, you can't go bigger....lol

 

I myself am looking at the Hovabator line, which is more in the $100-150 range. It's one of the better styro bators.  The brinsea mini is probably the best, but again you are looking at $100 for a small capacity incubator.

 

No matter what incubator you decide to go with, don't follow the manuals when it comes to "how to incubate".  Instruction manuals are really misleading, especially where water and "humidity" are concerned. Many people run too high humidity because of the instructions and have awful first hatches. Once you decided what you are going with, start a thread, let people know what kind of incubator you are using and ask what has worked for others with that incubator and in similar climates. (For example, it's harder to hatch successfully in high elevations and a higher humidity is needed than someone like me, in NY where I run a low humidity incubation. The type of bator also makes a big difference. I highly recommend the method I use for styro bators and some plastics, but wouldn't recommend it for a Brinsea.)

 

If you are brave you can also build a DIY bator for next to nothing. There's lots of threads and people on here that can help with that

 

For first time hatchers or hatchers that haven't had a successfu hatch yet, I recommend using local barnyard mix eggs or local cheaper pure breds if that's your goal, just so you aren't investing a lot until you know you have the incubator and hatching figured out.  Shipping eggs are definitly harder to successfully hatch. On average they have a %50 expected hatch rate.  All my hatches have been with local eggs and my first hatch I ended up with one out of 17. Every hatch since that has been 80%+ with increasing percentages on every hatch, the last being 100%.

 

I know it's not a lot of help in decision making, but I wish you luck and hope to see where it takes you.

Need help incubating/hatching? Are you more a hands on hatcher? Come visit us: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1081034/hands-on-hatching-and-help

A guide to hatching from the hands on perspective: http://hatching411.weebly.com/

Reply

Need help incubating/hatching? Are you more a hands on hatcher? Come visit us: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1081034/hands-on-hatching-and-help

A guide to hatching from the hands on perspective: http://hatching411.weebly.com/

Reply
post #3 of 6

Hatching eggs in an incubator is a lot of fun! But it is difficult.

 

First, source a healthy, reliable source of eggs that feeds their breeder animals well and has a good ratio of roosters to hens (no more than 10 hens per rooster). Lots of hatcheries sell 10 eggs or less for a very reasonable price, however, shipping eggs can cause damage. People keeping chickens can offer hatching eggs for a low price or even for free in the area. Let the eggs rest in a carton for 24 hours while the incubator stabilizes, and then put them in.

Make sure the eggs are turned at least three times a day (you can use pencil to mark one side so you know when they are turned). Keep them at 101 F for still air and 99 F for forced air incubators. Make sure they have a stable humidity and get good airation (try not to open the incubator a lot, but make sure the eggs get a chance to breath once a day, as the mother would get off of them once a day). Make sure there are no strong fumes or chemicals in the incubator and that it is free of bacteria or fungus.

 

I have a reptile incubator that I can use for both my snakes and for my chickens. It works well, though has only hatched one egg as usually I use broodies (this was an abandon egg. After I hatched I slipped it under an adoptive mother).

 

Cheap incubators can work, but it takes some expirimenting to get the humidity and temperature just right, so make sure you stabilize it before putting the eggs in.

 

Best of luck! :thumbsup

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Wow! What fantastic advice and exactly what I was looking for! Thank you both very much! This is definitely making the hatching "itch" even stronger! big_smile.png
post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Naliez View Post

Wow! What fantastic advice and exactly what I was looking for! Thank you both very much! This is definitely making the hatching "itch" even stronger! big_smile.png

Wait until you've had your first successfull hatch....lol  It's bad, I'm telling you...lol

Need help incubating/hatching? Are you more a hands on hatcher? Come visit us: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1081034/hands-on-hatching-and-help

A guide to hatching from the hands on perspective: http://hatching411.weebly.com/

Reply

Need help incubating/hatching? Are you more a hands on hatcher? Come visit us: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1081034/hands-on-hatching-and-help

A guide to hatching from the hands on perspective: http://hatching411.weebly.com/

Reply
post #6 of 6

Did you have any luck in hatching eggs with your new incubator choice?

 

I bought one of the flying saucer type incubators many years ago. I hatched the bob white quail eggs that came with it. 5 out of 6 hatched, and one chick did not thrive, but the other 4 were healthy imprinted chicks. They were a happy funny flock.  

 

I raised small to medium exotic hookbill birds as a hobby for many years. The ones that needed incubation hatched very well in that little incubator, you just have to be aware of the temperature and humidity. Since that involves hand feeding from day 1, I only used the incubator when necessary. Since it is so basic, I was even able to use it as a brooder for the first few days by making some adjustments to the incubator for the smallest hatches (under 1").

 

I hope you have enjoyed your experience.

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