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Brinsea Mini Advance Incubator review

Brinsea mini advance incubatorSince our broody hen hasn't stepped up to the plate yet, we decided to give incubators another try.  The Brinsea Mini Advance Incubator caught my eye because it has several features that I think will make it more likely to hatch chicks in our variable climate.

Temperature has been our Achilles heel in the past, so I chose our incubator primarily based on its ability to constantly monitor and adjust air temperature.  If the outside air temperature rises or falls too much and the incubator can't keep up, it sets off an alarm and keeps a letter on the digital display so that you know a problem occurred even if you aren't around to hear the beep.  That way, you can candle the eggs and see if the chicks were injured so that you don't wait out the full incubation period thinking nothing went wrong.

Adjusting incubator settingsMore mainstream people probably choose the incubator because of the clear observation dome that allows you to watch the whole process without bothering the eggs or hatching chicks.  The automatic egg turning uses a rolling floor so that the eggs are turned horizontally, like a mother hen would roll her eggs, rather than tipped vertically the way many other models operate.  You can also adjust several of the features (incubation temperature, turning radius, turning interval, etc.) using the keypad on the top.  And the price tag is surprisingly low --- $100 to $150, which is not much more than we paid for our Little Giant incubator and egg turner, a combo that had no thermostatic temperature control and was made of hard-to-clean, fragile styrofoam.

There are also a few disadvantages of the Brinsea Mini Advance Incubator that you should be aware of.  First, the incubator has a small capacity, holding only 7 chicken eggs.  (We didn't mind this since we want to start several small batches rather than one big batch, but I can see how other chicken-keepers could consider this a disadvantage.)  We also Brinsea Mini Advance Incubatordiscovered that the incubator beeps right before turning the eggs --- we found we couldn't sleep with the incubator in the same room and have no clue why it would need to beep prior to turning.  Finally, if you're looking for the Cadillac of small-scale incubators, you may want to upgrade to the next model up which monitors and adjusts the humidity.

If all goes as planned, we expect our first hatch in the middle of April.  Even if we don't get any chicks, I won't blame it on the incubator, though --- despite all of our efforts to keep a constant room temperature around the unit, we had the high alarm and the low alarm each go off in the first few days.  But at least we'll know why we have problems if we do.  I think this incubator will make a good backup while we work toward finding the right broody hens for our flock.

We raise our chicks using our POOP-free chicken waterer from day 1 for healthiest growth.


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