Which incubator to use in the uk?

penkwolf

Songster
9 Years
May 2, 2011
69
11
104
Hi all,

I used to incubate eggs and had success using a polystyrene made one i got off ebay.

Anyway i want to start again but there are so many on the market its hard to know whats best.

I want it to ideally hold around 24 eggs and automaticaly turn the eggs.

Has anyone had experience using these, i am struggling to find reviews:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/24pcs-Au...-/303872730191?_trksid=p2349624.m46890.l49292

Or if you can recommend any that would be great.

Thanks
 

als77

Chirping
Jan 31, 2021
145
83
91
Europe
I just hatched with that HORRIBLE thing, BUT there are workarounds so that you can make it work :)

1) It has major temperature fluctuations INSIDE the bator, expect at least 1.1-1.4C (that's in my living room, chucked behind some chairs). If you follow the instructions and put it in the styrofoam, expect DOUBLE, i.e 2.2-2.8C! See picture... My work-around; do NOT use the styrofoam, but put a sweater on top of the lid (or maybe better; let the warmer bottom-left corner be uncovered). I were eventually able to get the temperature difference inside it to 0.5C (and slightly below) which I think is rather acceptable :)

2) The grid/floor for lock-down has WAY to big holes. You have to use a liner of some sort, but BE WARE of the mesh you use as it likely will block (destroy) airflow (messing up both temperature and humidity). I might have lost 5 eggs to this issue (excluding 2 assists and 1-2 too-late-to-assist)

3) It's not very safe for small birds. Chicken chicks might be ok, but not quail. See picture of my little fellow who nose-dove into the corner and got stuck. Luckily I watched it happen and were able to pull it out (not easy, it was really stuck!)

PS. The LED-light isn't strong enough to candle quail. Not sure if it will work with white eggs, but it didn't even catch obvious "lightbulbs"

Haven't cleaned it jet. Seems to be a bit tricky (i.e unscrew + loosen watering hose ++)
Also "difficult" to remove excess water

Positives;
1) You can refill the water without opening
2) It has four trays for water (unlike most others with 2-3), but those might still be a bit too big
3) Price (although it isn't really worth it - at least if you don't know how to cope with its faults, which you now hopefully are)


2.6C.jpg

Q7.jpg
 

penkwolf

Songster
9 Years
May 2, 2011
69
11
104
Wow thank you! I didnt expect such a detailed response.

You seem to be really lucky that you were pro active and dealt with all the problems. Being only £40ish seems a bargain when i cant find anything even close to this price.

Will you use it again or get a new one?
 

penkwolf

Songster
9 Years
May 2, 2011
69
11
104
Als77 can i ask where you purchased from and also what your hatch rate was? Thanks
 

als77

Chirping
Jan 31, 2021
145
83
91
Europe
Wow thank you! I didnt expect such a detailed response.

You seem to be really lucky that you were pro active and dealt with all the problems. Being only £40ish seems a bargain when i cant find anything even close to this price.

Will you use it again or get a new one?
Good timing on your behalf :) I would be happy to know that someone else has learned from my mistakes - either through avoiding this machine, or navigate better how to use it.

I actually might use it again - at least until lock-down. With what I have learned and how to compensate for it, I think it might work well for the first stages (0.5C difference between the eggs isn't bad I believe). I have not tried it outside my living-room though, so it has been located in a stable 22C 24/7. With a good choice of liner (one that doesn't prevent airflow, but also protects from feet injuries) it might work for lock-down as well (maybe figure out a way to prevent the babies from falling into the corners - again without blocking airflow).

If I use it again I will try to put some "cups" in the turners, so that the quail-eggs don't fall on their side. For others eggs the turner should be fine (assuming that there is enough room above and to the lid - I wouldn't know)

If you do go with it, make sure to buy a few hygrometers (and thermometers) to check the temperature. Mine seems to be fine-ish temperaturewise, but I wouldn't trust it (well, you shouldn't trust any incubator in that regard).
Als77 can i ask where you purchased from and also what your hatch rate was? Thanks
I bought it through aliexpress. The ad claimed a 95% hatching-rate :mad: so I blasted them with the horrible cold spot-issue and got half my money back... I had it shipped from a warehouse in the EU, but I'm not in the UK so I don't know how taxes will be for you.

Hatch-rate;
My experience is from one hatch with quails (and I have not hatched anything before). I had done research before, and I also had this forum to vent and freak-out on :)

Short version; 61% (11 out of 18 fertile. Well, maybe 17 - I need to check later), but I expect a lot better next time! If I had known what I know today, maybe 95% wouldn't have been too far of.

Long version;
I still have 5 eggs in the incubator from that batch of 18 fertile eggs, but I think they are dead (probably could have been prevented if I had known what I know now). I lost 2 more earlier; one that pipped (on day 14!) and never absorbed the yolk (what can you expect from one that wants to hatch that early?), and one that zipped almost 360 degrees, but I think (s)he failed at pipping :eek: (goes back to my mistake of blocking the airflow and hence way to low humidity and just too tough membrane for the poor fellow to manage). Besides that I successfully assisted 2 that had pipped and/or zipped, but where stuck (probably because of the same issue with humidity during lock-down from blocking of air-flow), and 9 that hatched perfectly on their own.

Can add that I had the eggs shipped, but with a animal courrier (although at least one air sack was loose from what I could see). Being winter probably does help either (but would explain the low fertility; 18 out of 24)
 

penkwolf

Songster
9 Years
May 2, 2011
69
11
104
Good timing on your behalf :) I would be happy to know that someone else has learned from my mistakes - either through avoiding this machine, or navigate better how to use it.

I actually might use it again - at least until lock-down. With what I have learned and how to compensate for it, I think it might work well for the first stages (0.5C difference between the eggs isn't bad I believe). I have not tried it outside my living-room though, so it has been located in a stable 22C 24/7. With a good choice of liner (one that doesn't prevent airflow, but also protects from feet injuries) it might work for lock-down as well (maybe figure out a way to prevent the babies from falling into the corners - again without blocking airflow).

If I use it again I will try to put some "cups" in the turners, so that the quail-eggs don't fall on their side. For others eggs the turner should be fine (assuming that there is enough room above and to the lid - I wouldn't know)

If you do go with it, make sure to buy a few hygrometers (and thermometers) to check the temperature. Mine seems to be fine-ish temperaturewise, but I wouldn't trust it (well, you shouldn't trust any incubator in that regard).

I bought it through aliexpress. The ad claimed a 95% hatching-rate :mad: so I blasted them with the horrible cold spot-issue and got half my money back... I had it shipped from a warehouse in the EU, but I'm not in the UK so I don't know how taxes will be for you.

Hatch-rate;
My experience is from one hatch with quails (and I have not hatched anything before). I had done research before, and I also had this forum to vent and freak-out on :)

Short version; 61% (11 out of 18 fertile. Well, maybe 17 - I need to check later), but I expect a lot better next time! If I had known what I know today, maybe 95% wouldn't have been too far of.

Long version;
I still have 5 eggs in the incubator from that batch of 18 fertile eggs, but I think they are dead (probably could have been prevented if I had known what I know now). I lost 2 more earlier; one that pipped (on day 14!) and never absorbed the yolk (what can you expect from one that wants to hatch that early?), and one that zipped almost 360 degrees, but I think (s)he failed at pipping :eek: (goes back to my mistake of blocking the airflow and hence way to low humidity and just too tough membrane for the poor fellow to manage). Besides that I successfully assisted 2 that had pipped and/or zipped, but where stuck (probably because of the same issue with humidity during lock-down from blocking of air-flow), and 9 that hatched perfectly on their own.

Can add that I had the eggs shipped, but with a animal courrier (although at least one air sack was loose from what I could see). Being winter probably does help either (but would explain the low fertility; 18 out of 24)
Thank you Als77!

I have ordered the same one as i cant afford the really expensive ones. Im going to follow all your tips though so thank you!
 

als77

Chirping
Jan 31, 2021
145
83
91
Europe
Thank you Als77!

I have ordered the same one as i cant afford the really expensive ones. Im going to follow all your tips though so thank you!
No problem :) You probably should be able to get a decent hatch-rate with the bator.

If you have time (and patience - that's the hard part lol) then play around with it before starting the incubation, especially what liner to use for lock-down to prevent leg injuries without blocking airflow (that's what I need to experiment with once I give up on the last 5 eggs) - ideally using several thermometers inside the bator to check possible cold spots.

Probably wise to have an extra thermometer to check the one in the incubator (there is articles here for how to calibrate thermometers). And a hygrometer will also be of help (but worst case you might get away with testing the one in the bator by bumping up humidity till you see condensation/fog at 37.5C. I believe that is supposed to happen at 70% or slightly above. A crude way of "calibrating", but maybe good enough?)

And make sure to use this forum for advice for any hatching issues, nerves or what-ever! My 11 quail-chicks would have been 9 if I hadn't discovered this forum
 

penkwolf

Songster
9 Years
May 2, 2011
69
11
104
No problem :) You probably should be able to get a decent hatch-rate with the bator.

If you have time (and patience - that's the hard part lol) then play around with it before starting the incubation, especially what liner to use for lock-down to prevent leg injuries without blocking airflow (that's what I need to experiment with once I give up on the last 5 eggs) - ideally using several thermometers inside the bator to check possible cold spots.

Probably wise to have an extra thermometer to check the one in the incubator (there is articles here for how to calibrate thermometers). And a hygrometer will also be of help (but worst case you might get away with testing the one in the bator by bumping up humidity till you see condensation/fog at 37.5C. I believe that is supposed to happen at 70% or slightly above. A crude way of "calibrating", but maybe good enough?)

And make sure to use this forum for advice for any hatching issues, nerves or what-ever! My 11 quail-chicks would have been 9 if I hadn't discovered this forum
The incubator arrived today! That was quick.

I set it up about about lunch time. I am a bit worried that the clear plastic top doesnt connect properly with the bottom, does yours?

Ive put it in the polystyrene casing and set it up to see how it runs. My humidity is staying in the 50s which is good i think but the temp is fluctuating between 37.7 to 37.9.

I have ordered some thermostats that come tomorrow to put in it. What is the allowance for temp differences once i put my eggs in?

Im also gna do a fake lockdown ina a bit to see if it will hold high humidity because the plastic not fitting perfect. Did you just keep putting water in to get it up? Theres not to much i can put in is there?

Cheers!
 

als77

Chirping
Jan 31, 2021
145
83
91
Europe
The incubator arrived today! That was quick.

I set it up about about lunch time. I am a bit worried that the clear plastic top doesnt connect properly with the bottom, does yours?

Ive put it in the polystyrene casing and set it up to see how it runs. My humidity is staying in the 50s which is good i think but the temp is fluctuating between 37.7 to 37.9.

I have ordered some thermostats that come tomorrow to put in it. What is the allowance for temp differences once i put my eggs in?

Im also gna do a fake lockdown ina a bit to see if it will hold high humidity because the plastic not fitting perfect. Did you just keep putting water in to get it up? Theres not to much i can put in is there?

Cheers!
My plastic lid seems to be a very snug fit (maybe even too snug?). Probably not an issue if is it not very snug (unless we're talking several mm).

The polystyrene casing made things worse for me, but it supposed to help (and is said to help with other bators!), so just experiment with and without it (+with and without a sweater covering the lid) once you get the extra thermometers :)

Temperature fluctuations of 0.2C is nothing to worry about. Even 0.5C is probably perfectly fine. I believe mine was acceptable stable (within 0.5C total fluctuations, mainly on the downside), but my main issue was that the midle two rows turned out to be a lot colder than the two other rows (the bator showed 37.5C, and that was true for the sensor and the two outer rows, but the midle two rows were in reality 35.5-36.5C...)

The "goal" is 37.5C (on top of the eggs), but we have some wiggling room; there was one article (for quail I believe, but probably same for most birds) which showed that 36.7C worked (with a small 2% reduction in hatch rate), and 38.3C also was doable (but with a 10% loss). That's throughout incubation, so fluctuations of say 0.5C around 37.5C should be perfectly fine. If your temperature is too high they'll hatch early, and if it's too low they will hatch late. From what I understand too high is worse than too low (but I am a beginner), so if you are worried/uncertain then going on the lower side is probably better.

Water; Yes, you can put too much! (ignore what the instruction manual says!) It is surface area (plus what happens to be the humidity in your area at the time) that controls humidity, so too much surface area and your humidity will skyrocket, BUT my model (I don't know if you have the exact same one or if different sellers can have slight variations) has four trays. I assume you also got a bottle with the bator? It has markings; 50/100/150 I believe. This is NOT ml, but just some random scale (I found out when I was trying to add 25 and used ml). In my bator the first tray fits 150 of this whatever scale (so from say 50-150 you will have the same humidity). If you fill more it will overflow into the second tray which holds another 250 (so from 150 to 400 you will have a higher humidity), then that will overflow to the third which holds another 300 (and even higher humidity), which overflows into the forth for another 300 (a total of 1000 whatevers). If the forth one overflows it will drain through the four holes in the bottom of the bator, but your humidity will probably be way too high long before that.

For me (which might be very different than what works for you, I don't know) I used one tray to get to 50%-ish, and then another tray for lock-down (but the second one might have been to much - I don't really know since I messed up at this stage). If your test-run shows that this gives you too much humidity you can either cover part of the second tray (i.e reduce surface area), or (maybe easier) add wet sponges/papertowel to the bator (i.e increase surface area). Or, worst/lazy case (before lockdown) you might consider letting the bator run without water a few hours to compensate if your humidity has been on the high side. For humidity it is the average that counts (until lockdown that is). It is temperature that we really have to "worry" about (but we do have some wiggling room, and it is also the temperature of the egg itself that matters so short-term fluctuations is totaly fine).

This sounds a lot more complicated than it really is though, so I hope I'm not scaring/overwhelming you with too much information...
 

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