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#78041 - 10/30/06 08:29 PM Incubator is crap! Any suggestions?
David W. Offline

Registered: 03/02/06
Posts: 131
Loc: Missouri

This is my thrid time using my hava bator still air incubator. The first time I used the automatic egg turner and had about 20% hatch. Then again in the summer my friend borrowed it with NO hatch. I just completed a 3 week and 2 day cycle and now no chick for me. Hand turn and I've been zealous about it!

I have used three different themometors so I know that isn't the probem. Used plenty of water and humidity stayed between 20 to 50%. Heat fluxuated between 99 and 102 couldn't really regulate it better than that. There was one day it got to 104 but the chicks continued to grow (from candeling) so I know they weren't dead at that point.

Is it the incubator or me (and my friend)?

Any suggestions for a cheap incubator that hatches better than this crappy thing??? LOL


#78042 - 10/30/06 10:26 PM Re: Incubator is crap! Any suggestions?
CJR Offline
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8501
Loc: Montana
Small, cheap incubators work wonderfully for some people and not at all for others. I have two TurnX that cost around $300 +-. I have had FEW good hatches. Last two were total failures and a sad loss of valuable irreplaceable eggs, after a 95% success hatch. I am back to using hens and keep enough that I have setters off and on all year. Better to have a 100% hatch of 6 chicks under a dependable bantam hen that a total loss of 35 eggs that candled fertile at 5 days!

There are a lot of variables with small incubators like the Hovabator (I had one once, and got several hatches from it before it, too failed totally.) Location, is one of the main ones, that has a great affect on holding temperature steady. And yet some people swear by Hovabators for year after year!

I will use HENS. CJR

#78043 - 10/30/06 10:28 PM Re: Incubator is crap! Any suggestions?
Uno Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/26/05
Posts: 1283
Loc: Canada

I can empathize with your disappointment and exasperation. I invented my own incubator, the fridgebator, out of an old RV fridge. It was a dumb idea.

Have you used this hovabator in the past and got good hatches? If yes, then maybe the wafer is shot. It's that little metal frisbee thingy. They can go fooey now and then and not regulate the temps as well.

I also had bad hacthes keeping the hovabator in the basement where the temps fluctuated quite a bit from day to night. The incubator was not able to cope with the changes in the surrounding temp. When I set the incubator in the spare bedroom with the electric heater turned on low and a steady room temp, I had much better success.

It could be bad eggs, it could be improperly cleaned between hatches (bad germs), it could be over zealous turning (no shaking!) it could be that you didn't pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time. :p

I think people who set eggs in an incubator have a bit of the gambler in them. Let's toss these eggs in and see what we roll. The risk factor, the chance factor, the humidity factor are all extreme. Don't get discouraged, maybe try a new wafer. Hatch on!

#78044 - 10/31/06 05:18 AM Re: Incubator is crap! Any suggestions?
Ken Offline

Registered: 05/24/04
Posts: 61
Loc: Florida
How are you measuring the humidity? Most problems with small tabletop incubators are with the humdity staying too high. They hold too much moisture. Have you checked any of the unhatched eggs to see what stage of development the embryo's were in? That can tell you a lot about what's going on.You might try Bill Worrell's dry incubation method before giving up on your unit.

#78045 - 10/31/06 06:03 AM Re: Incubator is crap! Any suggestions?
Jocelyn Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/26/02
Posts: 1467
Loc: Canada
First thing, your temperature swing is too big. One degree up and one degree down is about all eggs handle well. So, like Uno said, get a new wafer...and while you're at it, put a drop of oil on the little nib that sticks out of the microswitch the wafer presses against. Next, if it has a removable liner, take it out and wash it with bleach, then wash the bottom of the incubator before putting thr liner back. If it doesn't have a liner, try painting the bottom with clear silicone sealant for fish tanks or white latex paint...this seals in germs and makes washing much easier. Candle the eggs at 2 weeks and at nearly ready to hatch...and adjust the water pans time spent full so that the egg is 1/3 air cell by hatch day. If you don't have a room with steady temperature to put it in, try small one litre plastic containers for vinegar or some other grocery item arranged around the inside edge. Fill them with water, run the machine two days before setting eggs so the water comes up to temperature. The containers prevent you placing eggs close to the edge and also give off heat into the eggs when the room is cool. Instead of 55 large eggs set all over the machine, you get 25 set only in the middle, but no chilled ones at the edge. Try turning gently 5 times a practical difference for more times turned than that. Turn over a full 180 degrees....make a mark on each side....X up now, O up next turn, whatever mark you like. Type back and let us all know how you do?

#78046 - 10/31/06 07:34 AM Re: Incubator is crap! Any suggestions?
Smoky73 Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 01/14/05
Posts: 697
Loc: Colorado
I started with Hovabators and did okay, for about a season, then they all went to pot and I got nothing.
Then I bought a good incubator, a Lyon TX-7 and have had nothing but 95% - 100% hatches! My hatch rate with those are so good that I bought 2 more, all Lyons, TX-6 and TX-7. You do not have to open the incubator for ANYTHING and they are extremely accurate. I bought all of mine used, on Ebay or from people selling them on poultry sites. Most people sell them to get more eggs to hatch as these only hold 18 standard chicken eggs and 26 bantam. But, I would rather set only 18 and get all 18 to hatch, than set 40 in a Hova and get less than half to hatch!
Cara Smith

#78047 - 10/31/06 11:46 AM Re: Incubator is crap! Any suggestions?
Oakie Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 08/30/02
Posts: 415
Loc: Oklahoma
I too used to have the Hovabators and they worked for a while and then I had to start getting replacement parts. Never better than a 30 to 40% hatch rate and when I started being happy with that I knew it was time to get a new one. I have a Brinsea 20 that regulates the temp very well and I also use the Dry Method of hatching. A nice incubator is well worth the cost to me.

#78048 - 10/31/06 09:49 PM Re: Incubator is crap! Any suggestions?
David W. Offline

Registered: 03/02/06
Posts: 131
Loc: Missouri
Thanks to all for the comments.


#78049 - 11/01/06 10:40 PM Re: Incubator is crap! Any suggestions?
Foehn Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1974
Loc: New Zealand
Hovabators have a very bad reputation in NZ and people I asked when looking for an incubator, all said not to touch them with a barge pole. I know this isn't any help to you, but if you are losing such a high percentage of your settings, perhaps it's time to cut your losses and look for something more reliable.

#78050 - 11/02/06 07:09 AM Re: Incubator is crap! Any suggestions?
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
I did very well with my Hovobator. I received a 100% hatch this time around. It's the first time I've used it since I was 12 years old. Until this year, I've always relied on my hens to do it. I'll tell was a whole lot easier worrying about the eggs in the incubator and KNOWING she wasn't accidentally kicking eggs out. I keep my humidity inside of the incubator between 70-78%. perhaps the humidity was the problem? Did you open the eggs to find out what went wrong? Were they in the wrong position? Did they pip into the air cell but not the shell? Was there any development? Where did you put your humidity guage?

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