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Brinsea Octagon 20 Advance incubator review

Brinsea Octagon 20 advance incubatorWe decided to increase our chances of success for our second round of incubation by upgrading to a Brinsea Octagon 20 Advance Incubator.  I don't really blame our hatching problems on the Brinsea Mini Advance Incubator, but I do think that the larger model makes sense for our more difficult incubation environment.  Here are the features that sold me on upgrading:

  • Larger capacity --- After talking to several folks and reading lots of accounts online, I'm coming to realize that beginning chick-keepers should expect to hatch only a small percentage of the eggs they place in their incubator.  While we can work on improving our hatch rate, it also makes sense to hedge our bets by starting off with more eggs.  The Octagon 20 holds 24 hen eggs (fewer if you're hatching all jumbo-sized eggs), which I hope will give us at least seven living chicks.
  • Incubator ventHumidity readout and vent --- In addition to tracking the temperature, the Octagon 20 gives a digital readout of the current humidity in the incubator.  There's also a vent that you can open or close to help get the humidity into the range you're looking for.  I'll talk more about humidity in a later post, but I think that incorrect humidity in the incubator was one of the major causes of our low hatch rate the first time around.
  • Less noisy --- The eggs in the Octagon 20 are constantly being slowly rotated, so there's no sudden beeping and then whirring as the eggs are turned.  This isn't really important, but it's nice not to have an alarm go off every 45 minutes! 

That said, there are a few disadvantages to the Octagon 20 compared to the Mini incubator:

  • Larger size --- Of course, it takes more room to fit 24 eggs compared to 7 eggs, but the way the egg-turner rotates the whole incubator from side to side means that the unit can't sit close to a wall.
  • Auto turn cradleA bit more setup --- You have to assemble the egg-turner and take off a plastic plate to install the incubator's power cord.  This isn't really all that tough, but it will take you about half an hour with a Phillips screwdriver.
  • No auto shutoff of the turning motor --- The Mini incubator had a feature where it would automatically shut off the egg turning motor two days before hatch.  The egg-turner for the Octagon 20 is a separate unit with a separate power cord, so you have to shut the turner off manually when the time comes.  On the other hand, you need to increase the humidity in either incubator at the same time the egg turning stops, so there's not a huge benefit to having the egg turner shut off automatically.  Plus, with the incubator and the egg-turner being completely separate for the Octagon 20, if one fails, you can just replace that part instead of your whole unit.

I also had a minor problem that I hope none of you run into --- I assembled the egg-turner and it was missing a piece.  After second-guessing myself for a while, I called Brinsea and they sent me out a replacement piece at no cost, but the delay (just two working days, plus the weekend) meant the hatching eggs I'd ordered online had to sit around while I waited on the part.  The delay might affect our first hatch in the new incubator, but is already water under the bridge.

The Brinsea Octagon 20 incubator is costly, at $300, but I'm hoping the extra money will be worth it.  We're going to have to hatch a lot of chicks to make this incubator pay for itself....

Our chicken waterer pays for itself in no time with clean water for your flock and less work for you.

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