“What could you do today that would vastly improve your life three months from now?” That was the inspirational message on my computer screen. “Buy more incubators ” , was my instant thought. I knew that I would be so much happier in three months if I ordered some incubators today. Now I had some hard decisions to make as there are many incubator choices out there. I asked for help from others on the web and I had responses from around the world.
I currently own seven Brinsea Octagon 20 Econs, one Hovabator, two Little Giants and three Farm Innovators. Some are simply wonderful and others are a piece of junk.
The Brinseas are my pride and joy. They run like a charm and keep perfect temperature. They are small but you can get between 28-35 eggs in them if you place them and balance them just right. Cleaning is a breeze. The base is solid plastic so you just need to wash and disinfect. I take an air hose and blow out the top part when dirt and dust get in them.
I use three of my Octagons as incubators and four of them are hatchers. I can easily hand turn the Octagons if need to by lifting and turning the whole machine. It’s nice to have the automatic turners but I have had a hard time repairing them when they stopped working. Hand turning is easy and I just set an alarm on my phone to remind me when to turn.
I have had the fans stop working on the Brinseas. I sent away for new fans and it was an easy fix. I have had to send the whole top part back to be repaired by the Brinsea company. They fixed it and returned it to me free of charge. I always fill out the warranty information. Brinsea has a three year warranty on their products.
I also have a Hovabator. It is a foam incubator but it works wonderfully. It has an automatic egg turner in it and you can just fill it and forget it. It will hold temperatures quite well. I have never had to repair it or adjust anything on it.
Now we come to the two Little Giant foam incubators. They were both originally still air models. We added a computer fan to circulate the air. One of them works great but the other one is a little iffy. You do need to take temperature checks periodically. A little bit of babysitting is needed with them.
The three Farm Innovators have not worked at all for me. There seems to be big differences in temperature between the corners, middle and edges of the incubator. Temperature spikes have occurred. I find that they also leak water.
In a pinch, I will use a silkie hen as an incubator. I almost always have a broody who will be more than willing to sit on eggs for me. I have had good luck hatching with them but not such good luck raising the babies out in the coop. Too many things can happen to them out there. Silkies are known for being able to hatch any chicken egg, duck egg and pea fowl eggs. They are great little mothers.
I plan on ordering one more Brinsea Octagon this month. I am expecting more eggs this year and as the days get longer the hens will begin to lay more. I don’t want to be surprised by my hen’s egg production and not have enough incubators to take care of them all. VJP Poultry is happy to provide enough silkie chicks for all come springtime.