Good quality, inexpensive, small incubators?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by iamcuriositycat, May 15, 2010.

  1. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm thinking of putting together a hatching kit for educators for next school year. It would include a lease on an incubator & brooding equipment, plus the purchase of a bag of feed formulated for ducklings, half a dozen fertile eggs, and curriculum materials (I'm a former educator myself and can produce this stuff myself). An optional workshop (if, for instance, an entire school or teacher group were to do this) could train the teachers in all the essentials: candling (with actual partially incubated eggs to look at in varying stages of incubation--I'd have to have the workshop at my home), lockdown, how to use the materials, monitoring ducklings for comfort, etc.

    I'm planning to run a test run on the system with homeschoolers this summer, billing it as a homeschool summer project.

    I'd like to keep the cost to each classroom/teacher under $100--preferably closer to $60. They would be returning the incubator, brooder, lamp, feeders, etc. (and probably the remainder of the feed and possibly the ducklings) at the end of the lease period, so I don't have to completely cover the cost of those things every single time. They would pay a refundable deposit to ensure the return of equipment.

    What I want to know is, which incubator I should choose? I'd like it to hold at least six eggs (three is too few--too much opportunity for failed hatches and singleton hatches), be reliable and steady, and include the turner. It should also be inexpensive so I can afford to purchase several and rent them out, expecting a return on them fairly quickly. I want educators and their students to have the best possible opportunity for success.

    Suggestions??
     
  2. cracking up

    cracking up Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Brinsea has a mini classroom incubator and brooder pack with everything for 299.00 cd rom and turning incubator. That's the way I would go.
     
  3. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow--that is COOL. I was looking at the Brinsea incubators--I really like them. They're also expensive.

    If I charged $75 for the 6-week lease (4 weeks to hatch the eggs, 2 weeks to enjoy the babies), I'd have to lease it four times to pay for it. A little over, actually, because that's not counting the cost of eggs & feed. Of course, it's also not counting the fact that I'd probably sell 4-6 ducklings at $5 each at the end of the 6 weeks, so that's another $20 or so return. Eventually.

    Four leases, assuming they were back to back, would represent 24 weeks, or roughly a full school year. Hm.

    It might be hard to make any money that way. On the other hand, the kit would make money in its second year, assuming, again, that I could keep it leased... which I *think* I could. Might be worth a try when I have $300 to invest. [​IMG]

    Thanks for that suggestion... it may well be what I do.
     
  4. quail kid1

    quail kid1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Last edited: May 15, 2010
  5. JD

    JD Chillin' With My Peeps

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  6. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the suggestions! Those are all really good options. I'm wondering about the manual turning. I would think it would actually be quite good to be manual during the week, because the teacher and students will be there every day and it could be part of the experience for them to turn it at the same time three or five times a day. But what about weekends? Would it be a really bad thing for them not to get turned on the weekend? Thoughts?

    If we could use a manual incubator, that would simplify things considerably in terms of keeping the cost down.

    I really appreciate all the thoughts!
     
  7. SarahIrl

    SarahIrl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Why not buy the parts to make an incubator (much less cost) and have them build one as part of the project? Then they can return it to you to lease as an incubator to a school that doesn't want to build, or they could pay you the full cost of the parts to keep it?

    After that it's the eggs costing you, and I get here a 300% return on day olds. The electricity is the school's. If you get onto a local enough poultry supply store you can probably get a deal on 10 or so thermometers/hygrometers, turning motors, lamp assemblies and thermostats, although most you should be able to get from electrical supply stores. The school can even get it's own styrofoam box/wooden crate/etc as the actual incubator.

    I am currently trying to source brand new styrofoam boxes here to make brooders for hatching in, and when I find them the rigt size am buying a dozen or so. My idea is the parts can be taken from a used one and simply sterilised and put into a new box each hatch. Maybe you could source enough and keep the parts and supply a brand new styrofoam incubator for each school, with pre-used electrical parts? Heat lamps are really easy to mock up, although the ceramic bulbs can be expensive. It depends on how long you'll leave the chicks with them, really. If you only plan on 48 hours, make sure the incubator size will cope with six chicks for that long? Then you don't need a brooder too.

    I'd love to set up a similar scheme here, but will be trying out my own skills and making my own mistakes before showing teachers and children how to have successful hatches. I'll wait until I can supply my own fertile eggs pretty much in abundance too.
     
  8. cracking up

    cracking up Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think they really need to be turned early in the incubation - lately I've read different opinions on it.

    My biggest problem with Brinsea is they are so slow to ship. I'm a last minute person but saw the ova scope that can hook up to a computer and thought it would be here by Thursday - which would be a week before they hatch - and it still hasn't shipped. It won't get here before the eggs hatch. I had forgotten how slow they were with my incubator. Oh well by next year I should know how to hook it up to the computer.

    If you got the whole set up you could stagger the use of the incubator and the brooder between two classes.

    Let us know what you decide to do and how it works out.
     
  9. Danny39

    Danny39 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi there, I have a Genesis 1588 pre-set with autoturner and it is forced air. It has a very large viewing window and I have hatched very well with this model. It would be very nice for a classroom because it is pre-set...no accidental adjustments by children. Mine was $176.00 (if I remember correctly) including shipping from Cutler Supply. It may be too large for what you are wanting but just a suggestion.
     
  10. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow! So many good ideas. It had crossed my mind to consider making one. My husband thinks that's what we should do too.

    I LOVE the idea of having them build it. A friend today mentioned that eventually we could create an entire semester-long series of "stations" for teachers--they just purchase a subscription and at the end of each session, their old station is replaced by a new. One could be worm composting, another could be growing crystals, etc. In this case: They could build an incubator for six weeks (or however long), and then hatch in it, and then raise the ducklings for a couple weeks (and then grow micro-greens, and then... so many educational opportunities!).

    I haven't calculated the percentage return on ducklings versus eggs--but it's gotta be high. Eating eggs only bring $4 a dozen, and ducklings are $5 EACH. Of course, gotta account for loss during incubation (usually 10% or less--occasionally higher--would most likely be higher with inexperienced folks running the bators). And hatching eggs bring more--$10 a dozen. But at any rate, if they return the ducklings to me at the end, it's like double-dipping, lol.

    We're now considering the possibility of offering quail instead of ducks. The quail have a shorter incubation period, hatch very quickly (maybe a down side?), are tOtAlLy cute (they seriously give ducks a run for their money and I thought ducklings were the cutest thing in the world until we hatched a batch of Easter Peeps--I mean quail), and take up less space. A very tiny incubator can hatch quite a few quail eggs. Because incubation is shorter, we could have our equipment back faster.

    Or, we could offer an option--quail, duck, or silkie (we don't have silkies yet, but we're considering it).

    Anyway--keep those ideas coming. Ya'll have got my wheels turning!
     

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