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Bellsouth Chicken and Poultry Blog, Information on Keeping Chickens, also available at http://www.bellsouth.com.au

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Questions and Answers about Incubators

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Questions and Answers about Incubators, Which Incubator is best for me?

We are asked a great number of questions about incubators and incubation, some customers expect us to sell sell sell an incubator to them. We allow you to buy an incubator, when you want to, without pressure,  based on factual information, and which is as objective as we can make it. Given we sell and support certain brands, not all brands of Incubator, Bellsouth also make the Bellsouth 100 Incubator, so we are fairly biased towards it and our other egg incubator machines. We are more biased towards making sure we have provided accurate information.

Questions that don't help

  • Whats the hatch rate of such and such a machine?

​Answer!, How long is a length of string! Whilst this question seems OK and will start a conversation it is very difficult to answer!  Hatch rate with whose eggs? When?. There are too many variables to answer the question properly. A suitable answer is - Whats the hatch rate of your eggs!, but we usually aswer this by saying the machines maintain what they need to maintain to allow a good hatch. All Bellsouth Incubators work and work well, they have a great following, but hatch rate depends upon the stockmanship of the user, that are their observation skills, the care and cleanliness of the machine, the observation skills and proactive attention the owner of the eggs applies to the task. The hatch rate depends upon the breding flock, the diet, the breed and the ambient temperature an Relative humidity. The hatch rate depends also on the Incubator's ability to turn the eggs (or you can) maintain temperature and maintain and alter if need be the Relative humidity. So if someone quotes a hatch rate, it is for them, their birds at that time, with their skills and their incubator.

  • Is this a set and forget incubator?

​Asking an Incubator shop salesperson this question sets of warning bells. Is this customer interested?, is this customer interested enough to engage and make sure they have success?, and how do I answer this customer without simply saying "absolutly not!".  Ok we are dealing with life and death , with an animal in your care being incubated by electromechanic means in order to achieve a lovely live and healthy hatched animal. A Egg Incubator can help and automate, but an incubator is just a machine, the user and controller of the proces is you. If you are, personally, set and forget yourself, then you may well expect an incubator to be set and forget, but people also (you) need input, guidance, monitoring and maintenance otherwise things go wrong, plus things can go wrong anyway. If you are too busy then perhaps you are too busy for the incubation process. Please find a friend to help, please monitor the process, please be prepared for a successful hatch. We have some machines that do a lot but none are set and forget. You will need to clean them as well, so incubation is not over until a machine is cleaned, disinfected and dried and put away, not before the chicks are made comfortable in a brooder with good chicken feed in a good feeder and clean water and brooder for heat.

Questions that help

Incubator capacity: how many eggs do you want to hatch?

Incubator type:  Fan forced, still air, cabinet or bench style? A still air is more like a chook, fan forced allows different sized eggs in the cabinet, cabinet style ( larger, often tilt the eggs), bench style is often smaller and often roll the eggs.

Egg Turning: Does the incubator turn eggs? How?, does it tilt or turn?, do you care? If you have large eggs will the machine turn the eggs well enough for the embryo to have a feed. If the eggs are small, i.e quail, will the eggs turn too much? unlikely but some incubators can adjust the turning amount.For example the Bellsouth 100 Auto turning incubator and the pro versions of Rcom Incubators.

Ease of use: Is the machine easy to use?, can you see the chicks hatch?, do you care if you can see this? Is the machine easy enough to clean?

Features: Some incubators, i.e Rcom incubators nearly all have automatic humidification built into the machine and built into the cost of the machine. Some Incubators have inbuilt water tanks, some have external water pumps (this means tubes and a container somewhere). Some Incubators use evaporation to humidity some, like Rcom incubators actively create humidity in the cabinet. Some featurees have consequences, what are they? Rcom Incubators should have distilled water in use for example, so the humidification element does not corode, some have evaporative pads which are a consumable, i.e Rcom 10 pro incubator.

Consider a hatcher for cleaner incubation: If you hatch in an incubator you are making it more difficult to clean and also more difficult to get great hatching. Consider this when you are buying. For example if you are setting and hatching at the same time and hatch a chick hatched and an egg with some poo on it, then the chaces of cross contaomiation is greater, it is also greator simply during setting if you have dirty eggs. Remember an incubator is perfect for growing bacteria.

Support of the seller: As a seller we are not perfect but we make a lot, I mean a lot of effort to help you. This means training of staff and having staff available to help. We also have technical staff for repairs. Consider this as part of your decision as well.

Cost:  Cost is subjective and personal consideration

Hopefully this helps a litte, for more information please take a look at the following - Choosing an incubator

 

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