What incubator should we buy?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by savingdogs, Jun 20, 2010.

  1. My husband and I have chickens and ducks and want to start incubating. We would like to find something used on e-bay or Craig's list, but would rather buy a nice old one rather than a flashy new cheap one. Since we are novices we want something rather user friendly. We live in a humid/wet area of WA state.

    What would be good brands to look for?

    What do you like or dislike about your incubator?

    What features are things you think are must-haves?

    Do we need a different incubator for the duck eggs? or possibly quail or bantam eggs down the road?

    What features are nice but not necessarily worth paying more for if we are willing to do a little more labor?

    What incubator would you buy new if you could go out and get one today?

    Thanks in advance for all your advice!
  2. aprophet

    aprophet Songster

    Jan 12, 2010
    chesapeake Va.
  3. Puddle Foot Farm

    Puddle Foot Farm Songster

    Aug 20, 2008
    The Brinsea 20 Eco is a wonderful little incubator! I am in love with it. You never, ever have to open it, even if you don't have an autoturner. Since it's an octagon, you can rotate it between a forward position and a backwards position, turning the entire incubator instead of the eggs individually. And, since it has metal dividers that you set up, you can hatch pretty much anything in it. For example, I'm currently hatching 11 geese in it. Next week, we're putting in chicken eggs. It's really easy to clean too, because it has a tray.. I could go on and on. You can find threads on its amazingness I'm pretty sure.. [​IMG]

    I would invest in a good thermometer and hygrometer, and if I could go out and get one, I'd go get either a Brinsea Octagon 40 or a Brinsea cabinet incubator.. I love Brinseas.
  4. dieselgrl48

    dieselgrl48 Songster

    Feb 21, 2010
    I have heard good thing's about Brinsea.I have never owned one.I went from the cheap LG one's to a Sportsman 1502 4 years ago.But it Hold's a lot of egg's too and new they are around $600+ most of time.But if you are looking to breed and sell bird's they are the way to go.I had VERY good luck with it and not many problem's with any egg's.Sadly I had to sell it last year and Boy I wish I had it back.I have hatched some bird's since Dec using 2 of the LG's [​IMG] . A bit more tending time with them I think and stuff but using them for now.If you are looking to hatch smaller number's I would surely check out the smaller Brinsea one's and check Local ad's and online auction site's and maybe you can get a nice one for an affordable price.Good luck I hope you find a good affordable one.
  5. Well it sounds like Brinsea is the brand we need to keep our eyes open for, that is for sure! Any others in case that isn't in our price range?
  6. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I got a Brinsea Mini Advance on sale a few weeks ago. Haven't used it yet, but I had done some research and it seemed the most idiot-proof of the incubators out there - especially for small hatches. I don't WANT to get into multitudes of chicks and/or ducklings! 7 will suit me just fine, when I get around to actually using it.

    ....I'm kinda scared.....
  7. sonjab314

    sonjab314 Constant State of Confusion 8 Years

    May 15, 2010
    I have a Little Giant that I purchased from Craigslist for $25. It is a wonderful incubator but it's very touchy. The temp hold steady on it but I have issues with the humidity (could just be me though). This past week I purchased a new Hovabator 1588 with the auto turner (I'm forgetful). This is totally a "set it and forget it" incubator. It comes preset to the perfect temp and it tells you how to get the perfect humidity. The only time you have to open it is every couple of days to add more water. I am tickled pink with it too. I plan to use this one to incubate with and use my LG for hatching. Just get a good thermometer/hygrometer to monitor the conditions.
  8. Cloverleaf Farm

    Cloverleaf Farm Bearded Birds are Best

    Sep 16, 2008
    Levan, UT
    What size incubator are you wanting? For a smaller one, I highly recommend the Hovabator 1588 with auto turner (I have 2 of them, and am going to get a third for next year). If you want a cabinet bator, I like the Dickeys myself, though I haven't used the sportsman, and I have one for sale!!!!!!!!! [​IMG]
  9. I have 2 genesis 1588's and really like them. I have an brinsea octagon 40, which is about 8 years old and still runs great. I love the brinsea!

    I also have a 1602n, which I hate cause I cant get the temp to stay steady. It ranges from 98-100, so I just use it to hatch in.
  10. Denninmi

    Denninmi Songster

    Jul 26, 2009
    My first incubator was a Hovabator forced air model with the autoturner. The turner was the only thing about it that worked well.

    I know a lot of people on here are very loyal to their foam incubators and have good results with them, but I found it to be extremely unreliable, and I was constantly fighting with it. Unless you keep the temperature in the room where it is located EXACTLY STABLE, the incubator temperature drops or spikes out of control in short order. And, the business of putting water in the little troughs in the bottom means that the incubator was constantly either dripping wet, condensing on the windows and dripping down when it was filled, or in a day or so, bone dry and in need of a refill.

    To be fair, I think most of the problem with the temp was in the fact that it used a metal disk as a control element, and this was adjusted to the ambient temperatue when you set it -- no flexability or "intelligence" in the system. When the room temp changes, the incubator is no longer set at the right setting, and the temperature inside either drops or spikes. Newer models with electronic thermostats or digital thermostas no doubt would work better, mine was purchased around 1992 I believe, it's been a while, anyway.

    I did recently remove the disk and turnscrew from mine and replaced it with a Zilla brand electronic controller purchased at Petsmart for $50, the kind with the remote sensor and outlets for heating appliances -- I put the sensor in the incubator at egg level, set the temp for 99 on the dial (not digital either, but it said it would keep the temp with +- 1.8 degrees, which should be close enough), and it did keep it pretty consistent temp wise (I just put some unfertilized chicken eggs in there to test it). I was thinking I could use this as an emergency backup incubator or as a hatcher if the need arose. Seemed to work OK, but, this still doesn't solve the humidity issues == good thing at hatching you basically need it steamy.

    So, this spring I treated myself to a Brinsea Octagon 20 Advanced Automatic with the autoturner and the humidity pump. It is a great unit -- I hatched duck eggs and turkey eggs so far, and I just set 24 button quail eggs in it Friday night. Yes, it was pricey -- about $450 with shipping -- but it is SO simple. All digital, all programable/adjustable, high quality plastic parts, easy to clean. I especially like the humidity pump -- SO many posters on here have issue with humdity levels during hatching, and make it sound like it's VERY hard to get humidity high enough during a hatch, especially if you open the incubator. Well, with the humidity pump, the Brinsea will adjust to any desired humidity level in like 5 minutes, and if you open the unit and the humidity drops, it's right back up to the desired level in under 5 minutes again.

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