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

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

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

Dave

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

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8489
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

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

Registered: 08/26/05
Posts: 1280
Loc: Canada
DavidW:

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!

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

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.
Ken

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#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 day...no 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?

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#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
http://www.silverpulletpoultry.net

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#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.

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

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

Dave

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

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1968
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.

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#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 ya...it 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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#78051 - 11/02/06 02:21 PM Re: Incubator is crap! Any suggestions?
Uno Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/26/05
Posts: 1280
Loc: Canada
Confession: I never measure humidity. Don't have a humidity measurer (hygrometer?). I just pour some water in the tray when I remember, and am sure to definitely add water, lots, for the last three days. Damp sponge, all that, and I have had good luck with my hatches.

What frustrated me was the variability in thermometers. They are often cheap and crappy and not accurate. But I got one of those thermoms that attach inside fish tanks with a suction cup. The bottom is filled with tiny pellets of some kind. I tuck that end between two eggs and get a VERY accurate reading of egg temperature. Also putting the incubator in a room with even room temp, no wild heat / cool fluctuations made a big difference.

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#78052 - 11/04/06 05:27 PM Re: Incubator is crap! Any suggestions?
Jo Jo Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 04/14/04
Posts: 309
Loc: Massachusetts
I had dreadful success with my hovabator until I got a very good thermometer. I had the chicks alive right up to the end, just like you, but had only 3 hatch, one okay, one with a limp and one with spraddle, from several dozen of eggs, over 6 different sets. Some of my problem was the eggs, since I got them all mailorder, but once I got the Brinsea Thermometer, and the water weasel, I have hatched twice, and a friend used it and hatched once, and we only lost 2 eggs out of 3-4 dozen total. The good thermometer made the difference for me.
Good luck! -jo

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#78053 - 11/05/06 02:51 PM Re: Incubator is crap! Any suggestions?
Vesper 35 Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 01/16/03
Posts: 243
Loc: Canada
Where did you get your Brinsea thermometer? Hope it was from a store that we have in Canada. I am going to Chicago soon so may be able to get one there.

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#78054 - 11/05/06 04:47 PM Re: Incubator is crap! Any suggestions?
Sarah B. Offline
Chicken

Registered: 09/02/05
Posts: 78
Loc: Wyoming
DavidW, My sisters and I use the Brinsea Octagon incubator. We have had great success with it. Last year we only had two hatches and both had 100% hatch rate. Plus it regulates the tempeture so you don't have to. Good Luck!

Sarah ~:>
_________________________
4B's Bantams

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#78055 - 12/08/06 04:49 PM Re: Incubator is crap! Any suggestions?
Anonymous
Unregistered


Freaking out now! I have my eggs in a hovabator! Everyone looks fine-- even my 14 day old chick! Air-pocket looks right-- will I have a problem?
I have two thermometers and the temperature has never went over 101, or below 99 (except for a few seconds when I pull one out to candle). I'm still waiting for my hygrometer in the mail, but judging by the chicks, I've done a good job with the humidity and temperature. I think everything is functioning correctly, and I've read some old forums, so I'm not going to wrry. Like a broody hen, I have been in that room staring into my automatic egg turner 5 times a day, minmimum. I candle for a few seconds almost every day-- (can't help it, embrology). I saw my seven day old Partridge cochin doing the funky chicken smile He's really much more hyper than his brood mates.

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#78056 - 12/09/06 05:26 AM Re: Incubator is crap! Any suggestions?
Jocelyn Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/26/02
Posts: 1467
Loc: Canada
You know the old sayig, "do't count your chickens before they hatch"...it's still true. Most deaths happen during the first third and the last third of incubation...not so much in the middle. So, you have gotten past the first third already and the odds are in your favour. Watch for the temperature during the last few days as it often rises as the chciks get more active...and you may need to turn it down a little. Make sure the air cell does grow...a third of the egg by hatch time or the chick can't breath at pip. You don't have to turn them as much at the end either...and they will hatch just fine if you forget a time or two. Once they get to day 21 type back and tell us what is happening and we can give pointers from there.

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#78057 - 12/09/06 11:01 AM Re: Incubator is crap! Any suggestions?
Anonymous
Unregistered


My setup is mixed, and highly irregular and I know I will get fussed as just for that. I put my "Stats" in my signature: but I am going to include a picture of my incubator setup here:

Right now, my hygrometer says 100 degrees, and 53 percent humidity. I've been watching for the "animal heat" problem, and it has went up 1/2 a degree, and I've turned it down.

Also, I have a small 3 egg incubator (still air, light bulb run). I have one chick (in egg) that is 14 days old because I started it in that incubator. When it gets to day 18 or 19 and I don't have to turn the egg, can I put it back in that incubator if I set it up and get it stable first without problems?
That particular egg is also very loooong. Many of my full size chicken eggs are. I candle it and the air sac looked a little too small.
Then I have the bobwhites and Seramas with their tiny eggs, which seem to have the right sized ari sac, but it might be suffocating my others. I have all sorts of hatching days, as you can see. The mystery eggs are 7 day olds.
For this setup, does anyone have advice (other than seperate the batches)?
Do I need to make any adjustments to temp/humdiity, etc?

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#78058 - 12/09/06 03:05 PM Re: Incubator is crap! Any suggestions?
Jocelyn Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/26/02
Posts: 1467
Loc: Canada
A little dry is best, so that the ones that need a bigger air cell can hatch. Slightly larger air cells don't lower the hatch, so if some are too small, let them all dry out a bit.

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#78059 - 12/09/06 05:52 PM Re: Incubator is crap! Any suggestions?
Anonymous
Unregistered


By a little dry, do you mean in the 40% range? Because that's what I keep my house humidity because we grow orchids and bromeliads, too.
The incubator's humidity fluxuates between 49-67% during the day. Should I drain some water then? confused

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#78060 - 12/09/06 08:19 PM Re: Incubator is crap! Any suggestions?
Jocelyn Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/26/02
Posts: 1467
Loc: Canada
Just let it run dry of water for a day before refilling it. Check the aircells, especially on the seramas, as they seem to have a hard time losing enough water. Seramas that are incubated too wet grow to day 19 or 20 and drown....so make sure you let the water pans run empty enough that they have a full one third of the egg as air cell by day 19. An egg that loses a bit too much water will have a small weak chick that may need you to put a few drops of water on the shell membrane as it is hatching. It may need help to drink for the first 2 or 3 hours, but will grow strong shortly....better than a drowned, too wet, chick, which is dead. Don't worry about the humidity fluctuating, this happens every time you open it. Just keep an eye on the air cell sizes...big as a dime at newlaid...big as one quarter of the egg at day 14 for chickens, big as one third of the egg at hatch for all species.

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#78061 - 12/09/06 08:33 PM Re: Incubator is crap! Any suggestions?
Anonymous
Unregistered


Thanks, Jocelyn. I didn't know Seramas had a hard time losing water-- I would have thought the smaller egg size would mean problems with too little humidity. I'll let the water dry up, then, and check my 15 day old on Tuesday to see what's up. I'll post back then.

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#78062 - 12/12/06 05:54 PM Re: Incubator is crap! Any suggestions?
Silly Goose Offline
Chicken

Registered: 08/06/06
Posts: 127
Loc: Wisconsin
Has anyone tried a Brower incubator. They are around $100 and work great. I never could get my sitll air incubator to work but this one works great. Highly reccommended!!!

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#78063 - 12/12/06 09:03 PM Re: Incubator is crap! Any suggestions?
Anonymous
Unregistered


I think a Brower incubator seems much better than the Hova-bator. They definately are targeting their information at Hova-bator users-- styrofoam, drilling holes, adding extensions, buying racks, replacing wafers, questioning heat source-- whew! Bless G.Q.F-- they've been in the business of providing incubators for a long time, but... this definately looks like a better product.
My Hova-bator is doing well, however. My 18 (almost 19) day old chick is looking fine-- air pocket is where it is supposed to be-- 100 degrees and 60 percent humidity inside. I took out an empty egg rack and I will place the egg in the bottom tomorrow and raise the humidity to 65 or a little more. I let my incubator dry out and dip to 35 percent humidity last night, so the other eggs should be able to withstand slightly higher humidity. I'll be on hand Friday to help the birthing process, if necessary.
I hope to have a great hatch, with lots of pictures, which I'll post here as they come.
I hope to bring great news Friday, instead of a desperate plea for help birthing a chick eek

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#78064 - 01/03/07 04:32 PM Re: Incubator is crap! Any suggestions?
Anonymous
Unregistered


My opinion: The Hovabator is not a piece of crap unless you have old/ misfunctioning discs. It does keep the temperature pretty steady if you're willing to check on it often. The wafers are not too expensive but it seems annoying to have replace them so often.

It is a pain in the a!& to clean, being styrofoam and having so many layers for germs to hide in.

The only cochin that hatched was the one that moved a lot in its egg. Probably not a coincidence. Another moved, but not much, and it died on term.

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