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Brinsea Octagon 20 advance incubator review

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by av8torcrj, Jan 7, 2014.

  1. av8torcrj

    av8torcrj Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 25, 2013
    The following is a review of the octagon 20 advance incubator manufactured by Brinsea. The information contained herein is a factual account and reflection of my personal experience and opinion.
    I am no stranger to managing poultry in general, chickens specifically. I have raised hundreds at various times. I have, however, only owned one incubator in the past, an old brower "tin hen", the thing that looks like a galvanized wash tub. That unit provided me a hatch rate of zero as I recall. That, considering I have successfully hatched chickens in an old kitchen oven with a ceramic heater, was, in a word, disappointing. Recently I began researching a better product.
    After hours of scanning the Internet for the best bang for the buck, I decided on a Brinsea product. The reviews were by-in-large positive and I had no intention of buying a styrofoam box. Pricing was certainly a consideration and Brinsea products did fall at the upper end of what I wanted to spend. I struggled with the choice between a scratch and dent unit versus the most basic/cheapest model. I knew I really wanted an automatic turner and strongly preferred the digital controls. After much contemplation and finding a Black Friday deal ( check their Facebook page for discounts) offering an additional 20% off the advance models, I bit the bullet and purchased the Octagon 20 advance directly from Brinsea for $279.99 plus $24 shipping.
    The order was placed on December 2, 2013 and the incubator arrived via UPS within 3 days. I found the unit to be thoughtfully packaged and was undamaged. I immediately noticed the fit/feel/finish of the product seemed superior to the quality of consumer goods ( which in my experience always ultimately fail) coming out of china that I have grown so accustomed to. In my excitement I plugged it in and within 15 minutes it had stabilized at 99.6 degrees. The digital controls were easy to understand after a little button pushing. The written instructions regarding them were a bit confusing to me but I didn't study them that long. Overall, my first impression was again, positive.
    24 eggs were placed in the incubator on December 9th at 12:45 pm. In order to fit they had to be placed large end up within the racks as is customary. This seems an unnatural position but I realize that's how it's done. These eggs were collected over a period of time from my small Rhode Island Red flock. Let it be known that some of these eggs were over 2 weeks old, 7 had been mistakenly refrigerated for several days, and a few had been soiled and had had the poop cleaned off. These weren't exactly prime hatching candidates.
    The incubator was initially placed on a dresser in my bed room. The units' fan emits a gentle hum. I live in a home with older wiring and I noticed at night when another appliance such as an electric heater would come on the frequency of the sound emitted by the incubators fan would change ever so slightly. This was just enough to " catch my ear". I eventually moved the unit to the kitchen where it remained until hatch. I don't consider this a fault.
    The stability of the temperature within the incubator was impressive, basically rock solid at 99.6 with an occasional transient 99.5-99.7. Humidity control was a breeze. I simply filled one channel of the water reservoir and varied the opening of the vent to control the percent RH. My goal was to simply follow the directions provided by Brinsea, 45-50% till day 18. The turner was essentially silent. It was lubricated per the instructions.
    Candling on day 7 revealed one infertile which was verified by inspection. The 23 remaining showed encouraging progress.
    The unit was removed from the turner on day 18. The only intervention during those previous days was to add water maybe 4-5 times. I increased the humidity for lockdown to 65-70% per instructions by simply filling both water channels and adding a paper towel which acted as a wick ( towel was my idea not Brinseas). I figured the paper towel would also make post hatch clean-up easier. Again, humidity control was simple. Very slight adjustments to the vent made significant RH changes.
    First pip was noted at 8am on day 20. I have found that pip does not mean ready to hatch, only ready to breath. In my opinion, the over anxious observer that equates a delay after pip as distress and chooses to intervene is really setting themselves up for failure. Leave them alone and the incubator closed! Only the birds know when the time is right. We've bred broodiness out of most chickens lets not get them to the point of needing a C-section after 21 days.
    The first hatch was 16 hours after first pip, 12 hours ahead of a full 21 days. It is my belief and observation that the sounds and movement of the chicks stimulate or encourage the surrounding eggs to hatch as evidenced by the " popcorn" effect once one or two are out and chirping. Final count was 20 out of 23 or 87%. I did not use the periodic cool down feature during this incubation. The 3 losses were very late, one pip no zip, two no pip. Inspection suggests one death estimated at day 18-19. The other two were full term. I suspect the loss might have been secondary to the rolling of the eggs by the early hatches during a time when stability is preferred, one potential drawback to the " popcorn" effect I guess.
    In summary, I am VERY happy with this incubator and feel like I made a good choice. Really the only thing I might add to the product is backlighting to the digital display for nighttime checks. I am confident that the unit will provide many years of reliable service. So far Brinsea has been receptive to my questions and has proven easy to work with. I can recommend the octagon 20 advance to anyone in the market for a quality product that performs.
    5 people like this.
  2. Silkiesrule

    Silkiesrule New Egg

    Oct 12, 2013
    Good review ;), I've been debating whether to get a brinsea for ages !!
    1 person likes this.
  3. countrygoddess

    countrygoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you so much for your review! I'm waffling between a Brinsea 20 Advance and an RCom 20 and this review pushed me a little more toward Brinsea.

    Overall, how much babysitting did the Brinsea require? Last year when I hatched eggs I was working part time so I was able to do a lot of babysitting of my Genesis and Little Giant incubators, which was VERY necessary, VERY stressful, and caused me to break out in cold sores (ick). I work full-time now so I need an incubator that I don't have to watch constantly and don't have to worry about when I'm at work. Is this the one for me?
    1 person likes this.
  4. av8torcrj

    av8torcrj Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 25, 2013
    Other than filling the water channels every 4-5 days there was zero babysitting. Maybe an occasional minor adjustment of the exhaust vent to manage the relative humidity should surrouding household conditions vary greatly, but I'm convinced one could likely fill the thing with eggs, turn it on, walk away and 21 days later scoop an above average hatch rate of fuzzy butts.
  5. countrygoddess

    countrygoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Perfect!! That's precisely what I need. Brinsea it is... [​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  6. av8torcrj

    av8torcrj Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 25, 2013
    In an effort to save yourself some money I encourage you to shop around for coupons and specials. I have found considerable savings to be had on these incubators with a little research. Good luck and have fun. I think you will ultimately be happy with your purchase.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  7. countrygoddess

    countrygoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you!
  8. FVRM

    FVRM Chillin' With My Peeps

    I recently bought the mini advance incubator from brinsea. So far its working great, its super simple to set up and use. I wish i had bought the bigger one because i can only incubate 7 eggs with the mini. :(
  9. Doctor Pammie

    Doctor Pammie Out Of The Brooder

    Thank you for your thoughtful and detailed review. Considering that the price is pretty hefty, I wouldn't go ahead with it if I didn't feel like some "real" chicken folk had given it the stamp of approval!
  10. Ariel188

    Ariel188 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 31, 2012
    Southern CA
    Great write up, thanks! I ordered mine last week and its due to be here Thur! I cannot wait. I got the octagon 20 advance model. I have never incubated chicks, super excited! :--)

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