How long to set up an incubator? Now having issue with turner....


11 Years
May 31, 2008
Eagle Creek, OR
I have two models....

1588 hova-bator with turner (I need to install) for incubating

1602 hova-bator for hatching

Watch...I'll be up all night. lol I cant even fix the VCR time!

How long you think. Anyone else have an experience I should note?

I got BW quail eggs with it...but thanks to Ike and a mail issue eggs got here late and very messed up. I am only putting 5 quail eggs in it. Is that a waste? Should I try to find more eggs?

Thanks in Advance!
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Hatching even ONE egg is never a waste...

Watch the temps, but only tweak every few hours or so. It is not so critical to be "right on" at the beginning, more so near the end. If you had it close to the right temp before you put them in, then wait until morning to tweak it up or down.

It's late... I hope I understood your question correctly and answered appropriately.
I always try to sett up my bators 3-4 days before adding my eggs , this way i know the temp. is set right and all is work rigth before I place my eggs in

good luck

If it is your first time using the incubator, then yes, you'd want to set it up 3-4 days ahead to make sure you have the temps right. But once you have it set, you can do subsequent hatches with minimal tweaking.
Because I'm such a hatchaholic, I forget sometimes that there are people out there doing this for the first time.
My turners still are not didn't come with instructions. I think I put it in wrong. I am trying to put the quail eggs in (so 2 quail egg trays) and leave room for me to add chicken eggs (so 3 chicken egg trays) for a total of 5 trays....and one missing in between the quail/chicken. Any ideas? 6 hours later they haven't moved.
Incubator 101. Sorry this is windy, but I learned this all the hard way and want to pass it on to everyone else!

1) Plug in your incubator in a a basement room or somewhere with a constant temperature and a non-drafty area. keep away from registers(heater or AC) as this will adjust your internal temp as well.

2) add water to the 3 inner chanels (watch for overflow because there are holes in the bottom of the bator and you will end up with water all over whatever you put the bator on. (been there done this!)

3)place the turner in the incubator (from what I know it just slides in) and plug it in. You will not be able to see it turning because it takes like an hour or so to switch positions from one angled side to the other.

4) IMPORTANT: purchase a thermometer/hygrometer from the local Wal-mart or hardware store. The thermometers that come with the bators are only as good as the manufacturer. We lost our first 2 clutches of eggs because of this.

5) since you are on a time crunch, I would go ahead and place the eggs in the bator but watch every hour the temp. Only make minute changes, a little teenie twist will send the temp skyrocketing. Keep in mind the humidity and the amount of eggs plays a big part on the temp inside the incubator. I agree that it should take 2-3 days to get the temp right in the bator. We have accidentally had the temp go up to 102 and stay that way for the day and hatched very healthy chicks. I don't recommend this but it happens.

6) when you get the temp to a stable 100.0 place a sharpie(permanent marker) mark on the temp gauge so you know where it was perfect this time. Don't make it overwhelming, just a dot so you can check the next time you use to see if that is the spot forever.

7) make sure your temp and humidity are at a good range. get the Storey's guide to raising chickens! great book!

8) it takes 21 days for most eggs(chickens) to hatch 25-28 for guineas and 28 for most waterfowl. Check the above book for a detailed on each species.

9) On day 18, (if you only have one bator) remove the turner and place the eggs gently on the screen( I put down a shelf liner that is kind of rubbery and has holes in it so the chicks can get a grip once hatched. It also cleans up well with bleach and a scrubber and saves your bator from horrid messes) . Don't turn the eggs after the 18th day. We have accidentally had eggs that had the wrong date written on them and had babies hatch in the turner. They can get injured but how cute it is to see a baby chick chirping his head off, with his butt slid into a free egg cup leggs wiggling wildly, waiting for someone to get him out!!!!

10) After 24 hours or till they are dried and fluffy, (sounds like a cake recipe), move them to a brooder. Remember these don't have to be scientific. We have used a fish tank with the light above and pine shavings in the bottom, we have used rubbermaid containers with a square cut out with mesh wire above to lay a heatlamp on, etc, etc. Just something without a draft and plenty of room to run around and food and water!

11) enjoy watching your little babies grow up and prosper!

For more instructions and a printable instruction page go to and print it out! Most incubators are the same on this sort of stuff
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