I got tired of $100 and $200 like the Hovabator and Little Giant ones having
- their 'pancake' thermostats giving wild temperatures after a few months of use. If I was in the USA I could have returned them for replacement under warrantee, but being in Canada, it cost almost enough to ship it back for repair as to buy a new one.
- these small ones and their 'hot spots'-even though I bought the 'fan' versions - especially with larger eggs (duck, goose) - the eggs were just too close to the heating element when using an egg turner - and I have no desire to turn eggs by hand 3 times a day.
- The fan blowing right on the eggs when I got to the hatching stage, drying 30% of them out and shrink wrapping them. (Killing them after they pip but before they hatch.)
- The plastic trays becoming brittle and cracking after 1 year's use.
- The metal 'floor' grate rusting out,
- The metal floor springing up in places (warped due to scrubbing to clean them) and chicks dying by getting caught under the floor grate.
- Just in general the low quality of them. Several blogs talk about upgrading every year or so as they wear out.
- I have one hovabator left if you want to buy it despite everything I said above. $125 and it is yours (I have a new bottom tray for it that isn't cracked yet, only used for 2 hatchings.)
I did get better with them with practice, but they still were very inconvenient - and replacing them every 6 months to 18 months meant they cost several hundred dollars by year three.
So I went to a 'more expensive' two level one. That was even worse. While they sell in the range of $200 to $300, of the 2 I bought, neither got the right temperature in the bottom layer. The wires were a pain - always getting in the way, If I used the USB power supply to adjust the humidity, it over powered the converter and the unit kept resetting itself. One fan broke when a egg fell on it! Basically they looked pretty but they were junk. (I'll sell both of them for $300 if you want - I've repaired everything except the ability to power the USB humidifier - that is a design flaw, not something I could easily fix - though I have an idea with a relay if you want to buy them.)
I then built my own 8' tall cabinets. That was actually a pretty good success! They were big enough that the air flow meant the temperature was even and the air slow enough that it doesn't dry out the chicks.
But the best I have ... I bought some professional, cabinet sized incubators. I have a couple for sale, your choice for $550. You can have a NIB (New in Box) or you can have one that has been tested with one or two incubations. I'm buying more of these in the coming months. The current ones only have trays for quail, but they hold more than 600 eggs in 3 trays.
Published: 2018.Mar.29 Last edited: 2018.Mar.29
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