So maybe you bought it because of the attractive price. Or maybe you got it as a gift from a kind relative. Or perhaps you got it online without reading the reviews! Either way, you may have realized now you have an incubator "everyone loves to hate." Yes, that's right, I'm talking about Styrofoam Incubators, especially the Farm Innovators and Little Giant models. People complain about every aspect of these, from the quirky temperature controls, the inaccurate gauges, and their tendency to temperature spikes and frying eggs.
I have had my Little Giant 9200 (with an added fan) for over 2 years and done 6 hatches in it. Messed up some hatches really bad, and had good success with others. I have found a few tips and tricks to using mine, and I'm sure there are a lot of people out there with their own methods.
I've noticed that there are lots of new hatchers with these Styrofoam incubators, who are just now reading about how "bad" their bator is. There are also hatchers who have figured out a way to "make peace" with their Styro-bator, and have fantastic hatches. This thread is for asking questions about your Styrofoam incubator, and for all y'all experienced hatchers to give advice. I'd love to eventually compile everyone's Styro-bator hatching secrets, and put them in an article. I'm open to learning new methods to increase hatch rate in my own incubator.
Make sure to respect everyone's opinions--for every hatcher, there are at least a dozen different methods! :)
Things I've learned from experience about incubating in my LG:
- A steady room temperature is very important in keeping the temperature inside your incubator constant
- Hasty temperature adjustments always lead to stress on your part, wild temperature fluctuations, and possible embryo deaths
- Do not trust the little thermometer that comes with your incubator
- Always always always use more than 1 calibrated thermometer. Always use an analog thermometer with a digital in case of battery failure
- Don't mess with the humidity until day 18. Adjusting humidity too much can create temperature swings. I hatch using the "dry hatching" method and monitor air cells
- Always have the incubator up and running at least a few days before setting eggs so you can get the correct temperature set and holding steady
- Don't use the water wells in your styro-bator for humidity. Use small wet rags, sponges, or cups.
- Don't follow the instructions that come with your incubator
Those are just a few things I've observed. Please feel free to comment on my methods. Welcome to the Styro-Bators Club!