The incubator I ordered arrived on Tuesday afternoon. The Brinsea Octagon Eco-20 (affiliate link)is a sweet little thing. Super easy to set up, came up to temp quickly, kept the temp steady once it got there. Can’t ask for more.
This is the most basic of the Octagon models, you can get all sorts of additional functionality for a price: auto-turning, humidity pump, digital temp read outs with hi/low alarms. You can get the works for around$400, or this basic one for around $200.
As much as I’d love the bells and whistles, an extra $200 for features that can mostly be replaced by an attentive owner, and with only a week left, it seemed over kill. In the future I may add the auto-turner cradle as turning eggs needs to be done several times a day and it can really anchor you to the home while you’re incubating.
The Brinsea line came highly recommended: The best reviews on Amazon, lots of satisfied users on the Backyard Chickens Forum, and on various blogs. In addition to the incubator, I picked up a temp/humidity gauge from home depot that sits inside the incubator. It takes up a bit of room, but since the Eco-20 will hold upwards of 20 standard eggs, I doubt it will ever get in my way– at least as long as we’re living on the burbstead.
Once the incubator was running at a steady 99.5 degrees, I started the transfer process. I candled each of the eggs to judge whether or not they were viable.
Day 16 Nonviable vs. Viable. Note the larger dark area (the embryo/yolk) and the amount of veining in the viable egg.
Out of the six eggs left, one definitely showed no sign of being viable. It probably quit in the first week, but I like to hang on to questionable eggs just in case they’re being sneaky. In this case, even though I know it’s not good, I kept it in the incubator because otherwise I would have needed a spacer of some sort to prop up the other eggs so they won’t roll about during the turning. Since there’s only two days until “lock down” when I no longer need to turn, and there’s no bad smell coming from it I decided to let it ride.
Of the other five that looked to be about where one would expect visually– large dark mass showing the embryo is growing, nice big veins, a big air sac on the big end where it belongs– I spotted movement in three of them!
Our abandoned eggs are tucked safely away in the Brinsea after about 45 hours in the “Tempubator”. We’re down to only five (not counting the quitter that is still in the incubator in the above pic) of the original eleven that went in under Phoebe. Its a good sign that I saw actual movement in three of them, but chicks in eggs are fickle and delicate creatures. They’re also sneaky little buggers, so we’ll see what happens on hatch day, which is likely to be on the 26th of June.
In the meantime, I better get moving on the brooder box. Since hatching out eggs under a broody last year, I’d decided I wasn’t going to raise chicks on my own ever again. Broody hens are the way to go, even though Phoebe kind of sucked at it. I would hands down take a good broody over an incubator, and/or purchased chicks. Anyhow, the old brooder box, a large plastic tote, got cleaned out and is under the RV in Revelwood, storing tools, but that’s OK because I have a decent sized cardboard box just begging to be upcycled.