The new incubator is up and running with the first set of eggs. It’s a Brinsea Ovation Eco 28, a new design for Brinsea. The incubator has automated egg turning and digital temperature control. The humidity control is done manually although you can purchase a separate attachment to automate humidity.
So far the incubator has been running great. It maintains a temperature of 99.6F, with no fluctuation I have noticed. There is a warning alarm if the temperature goes above or below a pre-set level. This incubator is a big step up for me, function-wise and price-wise. For many years I’ve used styrofoam body incubators. The first one did not have automatic turning so I had to turn the eggs by hand twice a day for 19 days. Then I got one with egg turning racks and a blower fan. It was around $175, a Hovabator.
The hatch rate for the styrofoam incubators was always disappointing for me. It rarely got over 70%. Some hatches were dismal with only 40% or so. The poor performance was most likely due to difficulty with maintaining correct warmth and humidity. A chicken breeder said try a better quality incubator, so this year I finally sprung for the $380 Brinsea. It has a hard plastic case. The digital temperature control is much easier to use than the old manual control on the Hovabator.
The Brinsea only holds 28 hen eggs as opposed to 42 for the Hovabator. In the past I was lucky to get 18-20 chicks in a hatch. Most of the time there were less. But with Brinsea users attesting to 90% plus hatch rates, I may end up with more chicks than ever before! I’ll just have to wait another 20 days to find out!