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Egg Incubator - Anyone try it?

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  • Egg Incubator - Anyone try it?

    I just purchased an Egg Incubator. My hens are free range and we have had a tough couple years raising chicks between hawks, foxes, possums and raccoons. And after a chicken shopping trip last weekend and finding the price of hens at $10 each, I decided to make my own... more than likely they will cost me $20 each by the time they start laying, but that has never stopped me before. Suggestions, thoughts?

  • #2
    I hatched eggs for my first time just this past summer. Easy to do and fun to watch.

    Edited to add: Make sure you get an egg turner too if you do this.
    "Sometimes you just have to shut up and color."


    • #3
      A lot can depend on WHAT incubator you bought. The cheaper styrafoam ones will only last a few hatches.

      I owned a Brisnea Eco 20. WELL worth it, best small incubator I've ever owned, and I've hatched out thousands of chicks, of many different breeds/species.

      You may want to look into a chicken forum, backyardchickens is an excellent one. Incubating eggs can be easy, or it can be really hard.
      K-N-S Farm
      Daily Goat Videos & Pictures
      Website | Facebook | Youtube


      • #4
        Definitely invest in a turner too. Monitor your humidity closely. Enjoy the show!
        "Rock n' roll's not through, yeah, I'm sewing wings on this thing." --Destroyer


        • #5
          Hmmm I've had my styrofoam one for 10 years. It's still going strong.


          • #6
            The older GOOD ones were made far better than the new ones. Like the TSC foam bater? Crap. It worked great for a few hatches and then just went downhill. The new hovabaters are better, but still not as good as the older ones.

            And you can seal them and make them last longer. I forget what they use to do it...saw it on a thread on BYC.

            For the price of a foam bater and turner, spend a little more and go with a bater that should last forever and isn't as temperamental. The Eco 20 is a good example.

            I also used to have a very old metal Brower bater, oh how I loved that thing. No turner and no way to put one in, but I hatched so many eggs in that sucker. Sold it for quite a lot of money, wish I hadn't, even though I no longer raise poultry.
            K-N-S Farm
            Daily Goat Videos & Pictures
            Website | Facebook | Youtube


            • #7
              At Tractor Supply yesterday, my 5 year old son pointed to an egg incubator display and said, "Look! An egg cooker!"


              • #8
                I've only ever used the styrofoam type incubators, both the forced-air and still-air models. I actually have a bunch of chicken egss in a still-air model right now. I've hatched chickens, guineas, ducks and even goose eggs in them and they've always done really well for me. I've never used a turner, either. I prefer to manually turn the eggs, so I can catch any problems soon. As long as you are diligent about temparature and humidity I think they work great. I'm currently on year 5 with this one.
                Of course, if you are wanting to hatch very large numbers, then a larger incubator will be needed!


                • Original Poster

                  Thanks. I ordered a Hovabator with a turner and fan kit which included a thermometer. After one time, it might be the end of the fun for me! I am very excited about hearing peeps!


                  • #10
                    I just picked up a new Hovabator 2362n. I decided to go for the turner, and I'm VERY glad I did... turning those eggs 3x/day would have driven me nuts, with all the other things I need to get done. Plus I would have felt terrible if I had forgotten to turn them a few times. I know of several people that have had excellent luck with the still air 1602. I think the fan is just a nice addition however, it keeps the eggs the same temp at the top as well as the bottom.

                    Be VERY careful with the thermometer they include. They are rather cheap. You can certainly stick it in there as a second, but I would highly recommend going to WalMart, Target, etc and finding a good digital unit that measure both temp and humidity.. about $8. Humidity is a BIG deal when hatching eggs. You have to keep the water trough(s) full, especially this time of year with it being so dry out. Right now I need to keep both my troughs with water because it's so dry here.. (the 2362 recommends just 1 for the first 18 days) and that's just to keep the humidity at 50%. Since humidity needs to go up towards the end of the hatch period, (last 3 days of incubation, when turning stops) I'll need to put in sponges, cups of water, whatever I decide to boost that humidity up to 60-65%.

                    Have fun!! Do you know what you want to hatch yet? I just got a 'barnyard mix' since it's the incubator's first hatch and I want to make sure everything is working right. So far, so good! Babies in T minus 17 days!
                    Last edited by TooManyChickens; Feb. 22, 2011, 02:28 PM.


                    • Original Poster

                      I am going to hatch some of my eggs and a few of a friends. My rooster is 1/2 RI Red, 1/2 Barr Rock. My hens are mostly buffs, but have a Silver Lace, Barr Rock and something called a golden.... (very pretty). My friend has RI reds and Aracauna. So basically, it will be a mixed group of chickens.

                      Has anyone purchased eggs of ebay? I would love to have more Silver Lace!

                      I will head to Walmart for a better temp/humidity gauge.


                      • #12
                        I borrowed an incubator.. because I did not want to spend the several hundred dollars to buy a good one with gauges and a turner in it.. I bought eggs from a breeder on Back Yard Chickens for a type of chicken that cannot be purchased from a hatchery ..

                        Good Grief! I was not so invested when I was pregnant with my own dear children!!! Honestly - I was up several times every night checking the temperature and humidity.. it almost drove me nuts!

                        Started with 18 eggs. Right off the bat - 6 of them did not develope. Then the number kept going down. I had 5 pip and 1 of those died trying to hatch.. I ended up with 4. I did everything you were suppose to do and out of 18 - I got only 4 baby chicks. AND - 2 of those don't even look like what I thought I was buying!!

                        Anyway - long story short.. next time I will buy a broody hen and let her take care of it all. I am glad I got to experience it ... but know now that I am NOT interested in investing in an incubator of my own!


                        • #13
                          Hovabator 1588 w/turner THE best countertop incubator ever.
                          Fresh, Frozen & ISO Warmblood Breedings FB Group


                          • #14
                            Lady GaGa has used the egg incubator for 72 hours and was fresh as a daisy for the Grammys.


                            • #15
                              My daughter's second grade class hatched quail eggs with an incubator this fall. Everyone got to take a turn with turning the eggs. It was amazing when they hatched and the kids got to see them come out. We were selected to return them to the ag center---"you are used to livestock, right???"
                              RIP Mydan Mydandy+
                              RIP Barichello


                              • Original Poster

                                Incubator has been running since Wednesday. I took Toomanychickens advise and purchased another thermometer with humidity at Walmart. My temps have been good and consistent, but the humidity has been low. I filled 2 areas with water and have only 50%. I keep wondering how I will get to 80% on the last 3 days before hatching. Do I just keep adding water to the compartments until I get to 60% and hope for the best in the end? Suggestions?

                                The eggs are going in tomorrow....... Chicken Motherhood is only 3 weeks away!!