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A word of caution regarding SPONGES and HOVABATORS....

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by MichiganWoods, Nov 17, 2008.

  1. MichiganWoods

    MichiganWoods DD (Artistic Digital Diva)

    Oct 6, 2008
    West Michigan
    If you are going to add wet sponges to your hovabators in order to add humidity, please make sure that your hatchlings cannot stand on the sponges and reach the metal conduits which heat the bator.

    My little black hatchling did what I feared might happen just a few minutes ago. While standing on the sponge, he extended his head, wobbled, and hit his eye on the hot metal. Squealing, he fell off the sponge then and has yet to reopen that eye. I don't know if he's blinded himself/herself in that eye or not. Only time will tell. And were I not there to witness it doing this, I might not ever have known what happened to that eye.

    Edited to add: I removed all three hatchlings immediately from the bator and put them in my mini-brooder.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2008
  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing Premium Member

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    The older model LG's have those heating elements too.

    I only use the new thermostat heat and fan unit.
  3. MichiganWoods

    MichiganWoods DD (Artistic Digital Diva)

    Oct 6, 2008
    West Michigan
    MissPrissy, I will probably be upgrading next spring.


    So I tried calling the manufacturer... they got mad at me for adding sponges, since it does not tell you to do so in their instructions. I read the instructions before starting the incubator. But I also read the advice on the board here, and many of you have successfully hatched eggs with sponges, so I didn't think twice about it. The company says there is absolutely no need to add a sponge, and that none should ever be added to these incubators. I simply wanted to ask if they were aware this could happen, and if they would put a warning on their instructions to not add a sponge (I don't think they will, I got chided instead of given an answer to this question). Apparently, this has never happened to anyone else (at least, that has bothered to call them about it). So if you use a hova-bator and are not having any luck without the sponges... if you try something outside the parameters of their instruction booklets, you are using the incubator at your own risk. And I wouldn't bother to call them about your deviations from their instructions on it unless you feel like getting yelled at. You're better off to call after multiple failed hatches following their instructions to the letter and ask them how they would do it differently, and perhaps how they plan to compensate you for all of the lost eggs. Not terribly happy with them at the moment.
  4. Griffox

    Griffox Songster

    Oct 26, 2008
    Harrodsburg, KY
    What!!!! You mean you got outside information about incubating. Don't you know that the hovabator manual has everything you ever need to know about incubating. How DARE you do extra research behind the manufacturer's back. [​IMG] [​IMG] What, did they think you were going to sue or something?

    Thanks for the warning. I (stupidly) burned myself reaching into my LG, so I KNOW it can burn a chick too. I never would have thought about the hatchlings climbing on sponges, though.
  5. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing Premium Member

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    The newer hovabators have a higher dome than the old ones. Most of us use the newer ones. Sponges are added to raise humidity when flooding the bottom doesn't work. As always, any advise I give or is found here by others is always - use at your own risk. In no way can GQF be faulted or need to add a disclaimer to their products. For me this is along the same lines that hot coffee is hot and it will burn you if you spill it.

  6. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    My Hovabators have a metal grill to separate the eggs from the water channels underneath. When I had a humidity problem I used VERY thin sponges under the grill where the chicks cannot reach. This seemed to work well for me. I do worry about the top element, though, and always try to get the chicks out of the bator asap. I hope your chickie will be alright.
  7. jnjross

    jnjross Songster

    Apr 3, 2008
    edwards, ms
    i use sponges in the wells under the mesh too.
  8. Feathers Acres

    Feathers Acres Songster

    May 31, 2008
    Hah, yeah one of my chicks did that. He couldnt sit still but thankfully he hit his head and just barely hit it, it shure gave him a wake up call [​IMG]
  9. I was not pleased with hatching results in the hovabator heat element either. It was a zero success rate. Even with sponges humidity never got past 45 (we have high & dry climate). I changed to genesis 1588 which holds temp/humidity much better. I add 2-3 sponges in the last 3 days through hatch.
    One caution regarding the wire bottom, it can warp. One chick got in the corner between the wire and plastic liner & drowned. I won't make that mistake again.
  10. MichiganWoods

    MichiganWoods DD (Artistic Digital Diva)

    Oct 6, 2008
    West Michigan
    Griffox, that's exactly it. It didn't occur to me either. But now I know better, and hopefully others will learn from my mistake. I in no way intended to sue them for anything. I'm disappointed I may have a chick with a blind eye, though, and was disappointed with how my phone call was handled.

    MissPrissy, I don't think a hot coffee analogy is a good comparison. When we consume coffee that is too hot, the only ones we burn are ourselves. Incubators are used to grow babies. You better believe any product used on or around infant humans has sufficient warnings on them if they are hot enough to cause a burn, even if it is highly unlikely for a burn to occur.

    For the record, they don't clearly identify the heating element in their brochure, seen on their site here in this PDF file. They show you the lid and tell you its there, but don't clearly identify it. For the longest while I thought the heat was generated through the round disks of the thermostat, which of course shows you how clueless I am about that sort of thing. I figured it out around the time my first batch of eggs hatched and I found one of my thermometers melted along the top. I was hoping to alert other folk new to hatching like me about the dangers of sponges in these models, since its obvious the company doesn't feel the need to do so, and it appears to be such common practice to use them.

    sackman, I am sorry to hear about your chick drowning. I wonder if they'd try and claim that there has never ever been a chick to ever drown in their tried and true incubators. [​IMG]

    Feathers Acres, be thankful it wasn't the eye! I feel badly for the little guy. Thank goodness yours is OK.

    BeckyLa, thin sponges are a great idea. I will have to look around the local stores to see if I can find some. Thank you for your thoughts on the chick.

    Thank you all for your responses.

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