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Setting up the Brinsea Mini Advance Incubator

Storing eggs for incubationThe Brinsea Mini Advance Incubator gives you a lot of control over incubation settings, so it takes a few minutes longer to set up than a traditional incubator.  Of course, you have to start with fertilized eggs that have been stored properly --- our hens came through with the seven eggs we needed within the four day window pre-hatch with no trouble.  I penciled the date each egg was laid on the shell and tried to guess who each egg came from based on egg size and color (maybe two from the old girls, three from the young Measure eggsGolden Comet, and two from the White Cochin?)

Next step was to adjust the turning angle, which Brinsea recommends setting between 90 and 120 degrees.  The eggs sit in a plastic cradle with seven holes in the bottom (one for each egg) so that the underside of the egg rests on another surface below.  When the turning motor spins the lower surface, the eggs rotate like wheels, with their turning angle depending on how long the motor runs for.  The instructions Adjust incubator settingsinclude a diagram to let you measure the diameter of your egg and come up with a rough estimate for turning time.  Our extra large hen eggs seemed to be larger than the biggest circle, so I set the turning time to 12 seconds, but after marking an egg and watching it turn, I backed off to 8 seconds.

You can also set the incubation temperature (99.5 for chicken eggs), number of days remaining so that the egg turner will stop two days before hatch, turning interval, and temperatures at which an alarm goes off.  We stuck with the manufacturer's settings for all except the turning angle and the number of days (which, oddly, came pre-set at 40 rather than the 21 day chicken incubation period.)

After preheating the incubator and filling half of the well in the center with water, we plopped our eggs in, making sure the blunt ends faced the center.  Although the eggs tend Brinsea egg incubatorto sit pretty flat at first, they will eventually tilt a bit so that one end points up.  The instructions explain that the big end should point up, and that we might need to turn an egg around if for some reason the little end starts pointing up.

Now we just have to wait and hope that we can keep the temperature in range.  I chose this model because it's one of the few consumer-grade incubators that actually tests the internal temperature and makes subtle adjustments rather than relying on you to keep Putting eggs in an incubatorthe incubator in a room with constant air temperature.  Still, the directions say that you should, optimally, keep the room temperature between 68 and 77 and never let room temperature drop below 63 degrees or let the incubator sit in direct sunlight.  I can promise the latter, but not the former.  In a week, we'll candle the eggs and hope to see signs of life, then rethink our incubation area if need be.  Even if we don't get a hatch, I'm sold on this model --- it's easy to use and the temperature control worked well all day Sunday.  If the eggs die, it will be our own fault.

We'll raise our chicks using our chicken waterer from day 1 for healthiest peeps.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I set my brinsea 21 days ago and today I have 6 little chicks squeaking in my bathroom! The incubator is so easy to use. I was a incubator virgin... I have one egg left from a White Cochin I wonder if it was fertile or not...
Comment by Anonymous Thu May 5 14:13:00 2011
We only hatched one chick this first time, but our incubator had to deal with a lot of temperature variation. I'm thrilled to hear that it can work so well!
Comment by anna Thu May 5 18:19:20 2011

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