ExoTerra bator -- Anyone else ever use one?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by HHandbasket, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. HHandbasket

    HHandbasket The Chickeneer

    DH was recently gifted with an Exo Terra bator from a good family friend (waves at her cuz I know she's watching hehehe), and I have a couple of comments I would like to make about this bator.

    We are presently 1 week into our first attempt at hatching. When we got the incubator, DH read the instructions front to back, plugged it in, fired it up, and we ran it a couple of days. It held temp and humidity PERFECTLY. Had to set the temp at higher than it actually was, but we got a thermometer/hygrometer for $9.95 at Harbor Freight and DH calibrated everything prior to the commencement of this hatching.

    Now, I know it's a bit premature to give a "review" on this particular incubator, but I have to say that DH and I are both very, very pleased with how it's going so far. Temp and humidity maintenance have literally been effortless. We have turned the eggs three to four times a day. We only have a dozen in there right now, originally started with 16 but four were Trader Joe eggs and all candled clear as of the last 3 days so we chucked 'em. All 12 of the fertile eggs that came from my friend's nests are candling with good development, and all I can say is so far, so good.

    DH and I will continue to post on this thread as this hatch comes along and share our findings on this incubator. So far, I cannot say enough good stuff about it. It holds a LOT more eggs than we put in it, but because we are new at this, we started out kind of small. It is the same thing as the Reptipro 5000 but without turners.

    Has anyone else used this incubator? What have been your experiences? Inquiring minds want to know.
     
  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    < sneaking in to add a couple comments >
    Plus, the full window to see in is FANTASTIC and the ability to turn on a light to illuminate the eggs/hatchlings is worth a drool or two.

    < exiting, quietly, stage left >
     
  3. HHandbasket

    HHandbasket The Chickeneer

    Yeah, I don't know what it is about turning on that little light just to watch the eggs sitting there... incubating ... but it's very exciting! I'm thinking about turning off my cable. Hehehe. Well ok, maybe THAT'S a bit drastic.

    Edited for typos.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011
  4. perolane

    perolane Chillin' With My Peeps

    741
    1
    121
    Jun 20, 2010
    Louisiana
    I have an ExoTerra...& Reptipros. Love them!! Just got a 100% hatch Saturday! [​IMG]
     
  5. HHandbasket

    HHandbasket The Chickeneer

    Quote:Seriously??? I wouldn't be surprised if we get close to 100% hatch out of these (I'm not counting the Trader Joe eggs because they were at the end of their viability & it was only a matter of "might as well try, couldn't hurt" sort of thing). ALL the eggs that came from my friend's mixed chickenyard showed excellent vein development on candling.

    Do the Reptipro egg turners fit/work in the ExoTerra? Inquiring minds want to know. I don't really know how egg turners work, and this is all still pretty new to me.

    Thanks!
     
  6. perolane

    perolane Chillin' With My Peeps

    741
    1
    121
    Jun 20, 2010
    Louisiana
    Quote:Seriously??? I wouldn't be surprised if we get close to 100% hatch out of these (I'm not counting the Trader Joe eggs because they were at the end of their viability & it was only a matter of "might as well try, couldn't hurt" sort of thing). ALL the eggs that came from my friend's mixed chickenyard showed excellent vein development on candling.

    Do the Reptipro egg turners fit/work in the ExoTerra? Inquiring minds want to know. I don't really know how egg turners work, and this is all still pretty new to me.

    Thanks!

    Yes, they'll fit...dimensions are the same. I purchased mine before the turners came out so not sure how they worked the wiring for the turner....talking about the power cord. I would think they had to drill a hole in the cabinet to get the plug through as I know the door won't close with anything in the way. I hand turn & actually prefer it.

    A couple of tips: at hatch time, lay some paper towel over your shelf & put something in the gap between door & edge of shelf. I use thick insulation foam (like you'd use around doors & windows) with the one sticky side. Just stick it to the edge of your shelf so the chicks don't fall through. You won't have any problems with this bator! [​IMG]

    I set the ExoTerra @ 102....inside temp perfect.
     
  7. pdsavage

    pdsavage Sussex Monarch

    Mar 27, 2008
    NW,Missouri
    That is one fancy looking incubator.
     
  8. HHandbasket

    HHandbasket The Chickeneer

    Thanks! It's really very nice and appears to be of excellent quality so far, both in looks and function! Double bonus.

    @Perolane - Thanks for the tip about keeping the chicks from falling through. I was wondering how I was going to handle that. I also wanted to ask you if you had a thermometer inside that gave a different reading than what you set the bator at? Our thermometer says it's holding perfect at 100.8 most of the time and 38-48% humidity (usually in mid 40s). We have had one humidity drop to 32% for a short period of time. I work from home, so the bator gets monitored several times a day for manual egg turning and temp/humidity checks, etc. We have a log book on the shelf beneath the bator where we log all the turnings & temp/humidity checks and make candling notes when necessary--like when we noted all 5 sebright eggs showed excellent vein development. [​IMG]
     
  9. perolane

    perolane Chillin' With My Peeps

    741
    1
    121
    Jun 20, 2010
    Louisiana
    Quote:I used paper towels to line the shelves at first...now I have that rubbery shelf liner like you use on your kitchen shelves...I cut to fit the shelf & after hatch, just wash/disenfect.

    I used to candle ALOT [​IMG] when I first started...now I candle somewhere between day 5 & 10, & once more on day 18. Since I have quite a few young birds, I can usually cull some eggs around day 5 that haven't veined due to infertility.

    Yes I have a temp/humidity combo inside the bator (little white Springfield from WalMart)...but I don't depend on it for temp, just humidity. I have a Brinsea Spot Check that I use every so often to check temps at egg level. The ExoTerra is set at 102 & inside temps stay in the 100 to 101 range. I find I have better hatches in this range for silkies. I set my Reptipros @ 101 for the same results. You just have to learn YOUR bator & of course differences in where you live, where the bator is located in your home, etc. There are variables for everyone.

    I wouldn't worry about humidity drops early on...usually lower is better & you'll have a few slight drops/raises in the beginning as the eggs get stabilized. Humidity is most important at hatch...you won't have any problems at all getting humidity up with this incubator.

    I live in Louisiana so humidity is high...more so in summer....I don't use the bottom tray for water. I keep my humidity under 40% the first 18 days, then up it to 65%- 70% the last 3 days. For winter hatching, I use one of those little doseage cups for kids meds..I believe it holds 4 tablespoons...for water. It keeps humidity at 40% or below. I put it in the back corner on the very bottom & I just keep it topped off every few days. The last 3 days, I use a flat, shallow sandwich type container right in the center....humidity jumps to 65/70%. Sometimes I add a little sponge to the container if our air humidity is low.

    Summer hatching here is a whole different ball game! I use no water the first 18 days.....humidity is fine without. The last 3 days, I use a Cesar dog food container (small, square) & that's usually way enough.

    Here's something I just started using on my last hatch & it works great: in the kitchen basket/organizer aisle at Walmart, I found these little white plastic baskets. They're appx. 5"long, 4" wide, & 3" tall...they come in bundles of 3. ..about $2 I believe. I cut the bottoms out leaving a 1/2" ledge. Then I cut hardware cloth wire to fit & just slips in to become the bottom (for air flow). I can fit 10-12 eggs in each basket...small end down. 2 baskets will fit on each shelf in the bator. I cut smallish dowel rods appx. 5 1/2" long & use these to lift one side of the basket. I just alternate sides morning & evening. Because of my work schedule, I do this twice daily..3 times if I happen to be home. On day 18, just remove the dowels & let baskets sit flat. You can hatch in the baskets or remove the eggs & lay flat on shelves.

    Hope some of this helps you...I really love these bators. Some people don't, but I've had nothing but success with them. Any bad hatches I've had were early on when I was learning how to use it or with shipped eggs. Just hang in there...keep notes on what works for you & you'll be fine. If you're new at hatching, you'll learn lots here!

    Happy hatching & if you need any help, just let me know! [​IMG]
     
  10. suburbanchickymama

    suburbanchickymama Chillin' With My Peeps

    596
    0
    109
    Feb 15, 2011
    Apex, NC
    Just found this thread! I'm researching this bator as a 1st timer and would love to hear the results of your hatch!!! How'd it go??
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by