Suggestions for incubators

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by gingernutranger, Oct 10, 2016.

  1. gingernutranger

    gingernutranger Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2007
    Hi there, it has been years since I've raised chickens, but I'm hoping to buy an incubator within the next month or so and get back into it. I used to have a top-hatch incubator but I had really bad luck with it, although I really liked the concept. I am looking at something with similar capacity, 25-50 eggs. Wondering if anyone has any suggestions. I've seen the Brinsea incubators and was curious if anyone has good experience with them? I used to struggle with the humidity in the top-hatch and the chicks had a hard time getting out of the shells despite keeping it at the proper temp/humidity. Thanks for the suggestions!
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    It sounds like you probably know most this but I’ll go through it anyway. There are three basic kinds of incubators in the capacity range you are talk about, ignoring the homemade ones.

    The basic ones are the still air, no fan. They are the least expensive and a lot of chicks have been hatched in them. But they often require a fair amount of initial adjustment and a lot of monitoring during incubation. With the still air it is important where you take the temperature since hot air rises. Some of them last a long time, others can have failures. In my opinion, a lot of the failures are more human error than mechanical, but many are cheaply made. The lack of a fan makes then less expensive. Sometimes the controls are kind of awkward to use.

    The next level up are the basic forced air. I have one of those, the Genesis Hovabator 1588. This class are often Styrofoam and often use a basic “put water in reservoirs” in the bottom to control humidity. It takes a long time for the humidity to adjust because of this method. It took me a bit to get the temperature properly adjusted but once I did it holds temperature quite well. I have to monitor the water in the reservoirs, that’s the main purpose of my hygrometer, but now that it’s adjusted it does not require a lot of monitoring and practically no fiddling other than watching the humidity. My biggest complaint is that the Styrofoam is harder to clean after a hatch than a hard plastic one would be.

    Then you have the top of the line, like Brinsea. They are usually made of hard plastic, have really good temperature controls, and have usually have easy dial humidity controls. You might have to initially adjust the temperature on these too but other than keeping the water reservoir filled, which is pretty minor, it’s a plug and play. They basically don’t require any monitoring. They are easier to clean.

    I strongly recommend an automatic turner. You don’t have to rely on memory to turn them by hand and it frees you up in your personal life. You don’t have to be physically present at certain times to turn them.

    One of the main reasons I’m OK with my middle of the road Styrofoam incubator is that I only use it to hatch 1 to 3 times a year. I generally get good hatches and I can handle cleaning it those few times. If I were hatching much more often I’d probably go for a hard plastic one. It’s nice to not have to monitor it that much. I have to be a bit careful about when I hatch since I might have to refill the water reservoir every four to five days. I can still go see my grandkids for four days but I have to watch the timing. I don’t have as Brinsea but I think the water reservoir lasts a lot longer with them.

    If you are going to be hatching much I’d suggest the Brinsea. The ease of operation and cleaning will make your life easier. You’ll see some people really slam the Styrofoam ones but many of us get great hatch rates with them too. But they do require more hands on.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by