1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Incubator coming - need advice!

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Shaun, Jul 28, 2010.

  1. Shaun

    Shaun Songster

    150
    0
    119
    Sep 24, 2008
    SW Central Michigan
    OK, have finally given up on foam incubators and and a Brinsea Oct Advance EX on the way. I have a few questions for those of you who have had more success than we have with breeding birds, 'cuz we've put in a lot of time, sweat and effort with poor results. [​IMG]

    So... anyone have experience with the Brinsea? Have I made a good choice? (I know, I know, should have asked this FIRST [​IMG]) What's the best way to sterilize this incubator, it's been used twice to hatch chicks.

    We have several Blue Slates (one lavender hen) and a pair of Bourbon Reds. Most of then are over a year old, one Blue Slate hen is two. Lots of breeding activity around here, the boys were a little slow catching on this spring, one had a horrible crush on a diet Pepsi empty 2 liter bottle [​IMG] but they now seem to know what to do.

    Is it too late to try a batch of eggs from a fertility standpoint? (We're in Michigan)

    AND we have had a lot of problems getting a good turkey feed. We have been mixing a feed with Hubbard Homestead's concentrate and local corn, but I'm not sure it's the best for breeding. We have been unable to get an unmedicated feed for turkeys in our area from Hubbard. The plant that serves our area does not mix the unmedicated variety. We've have outstanding results with their feed with our chickens, but feel like we're doing second best with the turkeys. Anyone have any good ideas on other concentrates to mix with local corn or oats?

    We're trying to not get discouraged, but we sure don't seem to be having much luck...[​IMG]
     

  2. Lotsapaints

    Lotsapaints Songster

    Mar 17, 2010
    Paso Robles, CA
    I don't know about the Brinsea I have a Turn X both have a hard plastic body and I use hot soapy water to clean mine and let it air dry if I disinfected it I would use 10% bleach solution or I use Tek-Trol. I always use distilled water mine was used and I had to use Lime-Away to get rid of the nasty deposits. Mine has a water bottle and I always use bleach to clean it up too. I hope this helps you out with your incubator. As for hatching out turkeys right now I say go for it as long as you have a good clean dry place to brood them for 8 weeks and then of course a good pen for them to finish growing up in-turkeys don't seem to mind the cold but no bird likes too much moisture good luck you should have much better results with your own eggs. As for the feed find some game bird or find something that works out to 20% protein and make sure you provide oyster shell even 20% layer would be fine and I would choose oats over corn or even barley JMHO
     
  3. Denninmi

    Denninmi Songster

    1,866
    19
    171
    Jul 26, 2009
    You have made a most excellent choice. I bought the same model of Brinsea this spring, and I love it. It is night and day from my old, horrible foam hovabator that couldn't keep a steady temperature to save its life.

    Just clean the hard plastic parts with a bleach and water solution, and then dry them thoroughly. Use some Dawn or other dish soap if there is any built up residue that won't come off. There are 6 little screws that hold the clear plastic fan/heater guard in place, take those out so that you can remove the guard, wipe the plastic parts down in there as carefully as possible, blow out any hatching fuzz with an air compressor, vacuum hose, or canned air used for cleaning computers, and put the guard back in place. With the humidity pump unit, clean it with bleach solution, too, and put a fresh evaporator pad in the incubator. If you don't have any of the evaporating pads, they're just basically blotter paper -- you could probably use a folded up heavy duty paper napkin to do the same thing.

    I'd personally recommend that you use only distilled water in the tank for the humidity pump, to keep it nice and clean without mineral buildup. Also, the base of the unit will hold water, so it's ok to rinse it, but don't immerse unless you want to spend a lot of time shaking the water out again. You can soak the egg tray, the foam tray liner and dividers, and the metal bars in a mild bleach solution, too. Or, you might want to do what I did and just discard the foam pieces entirely and replace them with fresh for each hatch -- they're just the same kind of foam used for weatherstripping, you can buy a big piece of it at Home Depot or similar for a couple of bucks and cut to size. For the foam liner on the egg tray, I bought an air conditioner foam replacement filter thing for $0.77 on clearance half priced at Aco Hardware that is the same foam as the kind Brinsea supplied, and it's big enough to make 3 pieces.

    I can't really adress your fertility question -- I know it goes down later in the season, but it seems to me you aren't out anything for trying, except possibly a few eggs you could have turned into an omlette had you not tried to incubate them. As long as you have adequate shelter for the babies when the cooler fall weather hits, it should work.

    As far as the feed issue, could you feed them unmedicated game bird crumble that is like 26 to 30 % protein mixed with an equal part of unmedicated layer food that is like 16% protein, to come out in the 21-22 % protein range and have sufficient calcium for the laying hens? Just a thought.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2010
  4. ziggywiggy

    ziggywiggy Songster

    365
    3
    121
    May 25, 2009
    McNeal, AZ
    I'm glad I'm not the only one who has a low opinion of the hovabators. Of course, some people swear by them and I'm sure if you can maintain a constant ambient room temperature, they probably do OK. I've never been able to do that though. I've never heard anything bad about the Brinseas unless it's the price but, you get what you pay for.
     
  5. Denninmi

    Denninmi Songster

    1,866
    19
    171
    Jul 26, 2009
    Quote:Well, I know that a lot of people do well with hovabators and the other brands of foam incubators, but they aren't compatible with my lifestyle. I like a lot of fresh air, and the windows in my house get opened as soon as we get nice weather in early spring. I have an automatic thermostat that turns the heat way down at night when I'm in bed, and I also tend to turn the heat off early as possible in the season, and just use the fireplace or a space heater as needed. As a result, the indoor temperature in my house is never too consistent. Which doesn't work with a hovabator. The "set point" on the thermostat is based on a constant external temperature, and the wafer thermostat isn't all that reliable in the first place, IMO.

    I still have the hovabator, and I bought a "Zilla" brand thermostatic controller from Petco which maintains a set temp from 80 to 104 within +- 1.5 according to the package. I replaced the wafer themostatic controller with this thing, and tried it for about 24 hours with some infertile chicken eggs, and it did seem to work and held it right around 99-100 pretty well. Of course, that only solves the temperature issue, the humidity also was problematic, either steamy wet when water was put in, or desert dry by the next day or two when it evaporated away.

    My plan with the hovabator is just to keep it as an emergency backup, in case something bad happens to the Brinsea during an incubation cycle. The other modification I haven't yet done but want to do with the hovabator is to make a large foam box about 3 times as big as the incubator to sit over it -- the dead air space should moderate temperature swings in the ambient environment.

    Yup, the Brinsea wasn't cheap, about $450 with shipping direct from Brinsea in Tallahassee, FL, but it sure is nice.
     
  6. Shaun

    Shaun Songster

    150
    0
    119
    Sep 24, 2008
    SW Central Michigan
    Guess my plan is to keep the foam one as a brooder for those first few important days, but use the Brinsea for the hatching.

    Does anyone have any advice on a breeder ration or supplements for heritage turkeys? Would like to make sure we're getting the best eggs we can. Know it's too late for this year, but next spring will be here before you know it.[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2010

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by