These chicks are the first to hatch from my new Brinsea incubator. The hatch was a great success, 96% hatch rate! The best rate I ever got was around 70% using styrofoam incubators. I’ve started the second clutch, a total of 28 eggs.
I was amazed by the difference in the hatching process between the solid plastic, double walled Brinsea Ovation Eco 28 and the styrofoam incubator, a Hova-Bator circulated air model.
In the Brinsea, the chicks all hatched within 20 hours, compared to a three-day process for the styrofoam. In the Hova-Bator, it was always evident when the eggs were hatching because the chicks made so much noise. They often peeped very loudly. In the Brinsea the chicks are quiet. The double plastic walls do insulate sound, but there is no loud, endless crying.
The chicks in the styrofoam tended to move all over the inside of the incubator, peeping and scrabbling around, disturbing the eggs still hatching. In the plastic model, the chicks all gather in the middle of the incubator and fall asleep.
The Brinsea incubator also seems to dry the chick fluff more quickly than the styrofoam incubator. They fluffed up hours before chicks that hatched in the Hova-Bator. At the same time, the humidity level was well maintained. The chicks stayed moist inside the eggs and easily broke out of the shells.
The most telling thing for me was the cleanliness of the new incubator after the hatch. The inside contained just broken shells and loose fluff. No nasty smells or egg insides stuck to components.
With the styrofoam incubator there was always a smelly mess. The inside was always smeared with meconium. There was none in the Brinsea incubator. Early expulsion of meconium, the contents of the intestines that formed during the development of the embryo, can be a sign of stress in any newborn. With this first hatch from the plastic incubator, none of the chicks passed meconium until they were placed in the brooding box.
I think this fact and the quiet, calm demeanor of the chicks during and after the hatch are testimony to the greatly reduced stress achieved by the Brinsea incubator. Even now, several days after the hatch, the chicks are more calm compared to past hatches.
The only complaint I have about the Brinsea is that the well holding the water for humidity is too shallow. There are two wells, the second is to be filled only at the time of hatch. Using just the one well requires adding water about every other day. This can be annoying. Filling both wells during incubation would probably raise the humidity too high due to an excessive water surface area. However, overall, I would say this new incubator is a great addition to my operation.
I look forward to watching these babies mature and to the results of the other hatches I have planned this year.
Also, let me state that I have not received any remuneration from any incubator seller. This comparison is based solely on my personal experiences with two incubators I chose to use.