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Common reasons why egg don’t hatch – Part 2

A few weeks ago I posted a list of common reasons why eggs sometimes don’t hatch.  I reviewed things like humidity, weak eggs and infection.  Here are four more things to consider.

Rough handling – It is becoming more and more common to have fertile eggs delivered to us through the post office.  With the availability of eggs from popular sites like and McMurray Hatchery, it’s getting pretty simple to find just about any kind of breed you may be looking for.  But this comes at a price.  I don’t mean a price in dollars, I mean a price in hatch rate.  Many sellers are pretty good at packaging their eggs so they make the journey un-cracked, but who knows what kind of roller coaster ride they went through to make it to your doorstep.  And occasionally the post office will X-ray packages for safety reasons.  As a general rule, when an egg comes to you through the mail, you can expect the hatch rate to be lower than if they are fresh from local birds. 

Dormant too long – Nature has designed eggs to be able to lay dormant for a period of time so the mother bird has time to lay a nice clutch before starting to sit them.  But this only goes so far.  Generally, eggs that are kept safe and cool will keep just fine for seven days.  Some folks will even go 10-14 days, but this is generally considered to be too long.  After sitting dormant too long, the viability of the embryo goes way down and hatch rates will suffer.  Also, turning the eggs once a day during the dormant period is a good idea to keep the yolk from getting stuck to the shell. 

Poor egg turning – If you ever get the chance to sit and watch a mother hen on your clutch of eggs for a few hours (not many of us get the chance), you will see the hen reach under and gently rotate her eggs.  And somehow she knows just how often and how much to do it.  We replicate this practice by using an automatic egg turner or by turning the eggs by hand.  Whichever method you choose, it is very important that the eggs get rotated!  Automatic eggs turners will generally rotate the eggs six times per day.  If doing it by hand, at least three times is recommended.  More is OK, but don’t do it less! 

Bad temperature – This one is normally pretty obvious, but even so, it’s worth mentioning.  If you notice your chicks hatching early or late, chances are that it’s because the temperature is not right.  And when they are late or early, even though some may hatch, it usually a smaller number and they tend to be not as strong.  If you hatch is a little early, turn down the temperature between 0.5 and 1.0 degrees F.  If they are a little late, turn it up 0.5 to 1.0 degrees.  Something you can be sure of is that thermometers can be wrong but nature will never lie to you.  J 

Comments | Posted in How To Articles By Kip Jensen

The Little Giant and HovaBator automatic egg turners work the same way, that is they both use an extremely slow turning motor (1/240 RPM to be exact)to gently rock the eggs back and forth. That means that for you to see the motor make any movement you would have to stare at it for about twenty minutes. Many customers do not realize that this is the case and assume that their turner is broken because it is hard to see any movement.

So how do you determine if your turner is working or not? The answer is simple; first make sure the turner is plugged in (sounds like common sense but it has happened before) and then check it every hour. The automatic turner completes one back and forth rotation every four hours so in one hour the turner should have completed a quarter turn and in two hours a half turn and so on. If you check the turner for several hours and it has moved than you can breathe a sigh of relief. If it has not moved over a couple of hours and you have verified that the turner was plugged in and noticed some other signs that it is not working like a grinding noise or a stinky odor coming from the motor you most likely need a replacement motor.

So your motor is defective, what do you do in the meantime while you wait for the replacement motor to arrive? First off all if you have eggs in the incubator or need to start some eggs you are going to need to temporarily turn them by hand while you wait. The easiest way to do this is to remove the defective motor from the egg turner, place all of the eggs in the turning racks, and then use your hand to take place of the motor and turn the turner linkage by hand. This allows you to not have to touch the eggs individually each time and to turn them all at once making the process quicker and a little less painless. Once the replacement motor arrives simply install it (remember to plug it in once it is installed) and let the turner turn the eggs automatically.

Comments | Posted in How To Articles By Evan Cornia

We all know it can be very frustrating when you invest time and money to incubate a batch of eggs and then get a very poor hatch rate.  And so often you are left wondering what in the world went wrong.

We have made it a habit of investigating each of our hatches to determine, to the best of our ability, what went wrong and what went right.  We wait until at least a couple of days beyond the due date to ensure any late developers still have a chance to hatch.  Then we break open each of the unhatched eggs to see what we can learn.  I would like to describe the common issues we find and also those that others in this field of study have found.  Please note that this list is not in any particular order.    

Unfertile eggs – Occasionally we are given reason to smile when a well-intentioned person has to be reminded that the rooster has a very important role in the process of bringing new chicks into the world.  Yes, eggs must be fertilized in order for this whole incubation business to work out.  And that’s the rooster’s job.  Make sure you have a good, healthy rooster that knows a thing or two about the birds and the bees.  (Usually this comes naturally.  If it doesn’t, don’t try to intervene.  Just get a new rooster.)  And yes, roosters get old too.  You’ll need to get a new one every few years.  

Weak embryo – Some eggs are strong and some aren’t.  I’m not talking about the egg shells, I’m referring to what is developing inside.  Nature has this way of letting the strongest survive and naturally weeding out the weakest.  This is what sometimes happens to a developing embryo inside an egg.  The incubation conditions may be perfect, but if the little chick inside doesn’t have what it takes, it will stop developing and die.  That’s just how it works folks. 

Too moist or too dry – When a mother hen sits on her eggs, her body gives off moisture in the form of moist air, of humid air.  The amount she gives off is what the eggs need to ensure they dry out enough, but not too much.  I have heard some incubationists (loosely defined as someone who really does know a thing or two about incubating eggs) say that more people kills their eggs because of poor humidity conditions than only other cause.  Well, if they are correct, then we should pay attention.  The instructions that come with your incubator regarding humidity: follow them! 

Infection – There are several barriers that nature has included in eggs to help fight of bacteria.  But sometimes, it still gets through.  And when it does, it can kill whatever is developing inside.  One critical thing we can all do to help eliminate the chances of bacteria killing the developing embryo is make sure we don’t wash off the protective outer layer.  This is a layer that the mother naturally adds when the eggs are laid.  Keep eggs clean by ensuring the hens have a clean place to lay their pearly whites (or whatever color your hens lay) and gently wipe off any dirty or crud that may be on the eggs with a dry paper towel or something like that.   Be sure to sanitize your incubator after each hatch.  And candle your eggs every few days to ensure that bad eggs get removed from your incubator. 

There are a few more common issues that I will discuss next time.    

  1. Rough handling (shipping, etc)
  2. Dormant too long  (waited more than 7-10 days after they were laid)
  3. Poor egg turning
  4. Bad temperature
Comments | Posted in How To Articles By Kip Jensen

IncuView All-in-One Tabletop Incubator

We are proud to announce that the long awaited IncuView™ all-in-one egg incubator is finally available for purchase.   In an effort to provide an incubator that comes with the technology of more expensive incubators and everything you need to successfully hatch eggs we have created the IncuView™ all in one incubator.

Here is a list of some of the key features:

Proportional Heat Control- The IncuView™ has a proportional thermostat similar to thermostats found in expensive high end incubators. The proportional thermostat varies the amount of heat as the temperature inside the incubator gets closer to the set temperature. This provides a tighter temperature range than a standard electronic thermostat which provides a more successful hatch.

Transparent Dome- This is probably one of our favorite features of the IncuView™ because it makes the hatching experience more exciting and enjoyable. The transparent dome provides a full view of the incubator which makes it possible to see all of the eggs as they hatch.

All Plastic Construction- The IncuView™ is constructed out of a durable plastic similar to high end incubators. The all plastic construction makes the IncuView™ very durable and easy to clean so it will provide successful hatches for many years.

All in One Design- One of the most common comments that we have received from customers is how they are frustrated that they have to purchase all of the components separately to get the incubator they want. The all-in-one IncuView™ features a built in thermometer, hygrometer for measuring humidity, water channels for humidity control, and a programmable automatic egg turner that can accommodate eggs sizes from quail to goose all for one price.’s One-year Hassle-Free Guarantee- We stand behind all of our products so customers can purchase with confidence.  

To view the full description and to purchase the IncuView™ all in one Incubator click here.



Comments | Posted in Incubator Warehouse News By Evan Cornia

Why Stabilizing is Important

7/23/2013 9:08 AM

Many of our customers ask us why it is important to stabilize their incubators for 24 hours before placing eggs in them.  The main reason is to make sure that the incubator is functioning correctly. Even though the majority of the incubators we sell never have any issues; there is the occasional unit that doesn’t function correctly.  Occasionally customers do not follow this step and have eggs in the incubator when they realize the incubator is malfunctioning and they lose a batch of eggs.  

It is also important to allow the incubator to stabilize for an extended period of time to make sure it is going to operate correctly for the location. Often when customers set up their incubator and initially stabilize it the room temperature stays constant long enough to hold a stable temperature, and they will set their eggs thinking that nothing is going to change. However, the room temperature changes enough over a 24 hour period that the incubator is not able to maintain a constant temperature and they either lose the eggs or affect the hatch rate. This is why it is important to have a fairly stable room temperature where the incubator is going to be located.

Possibly the last reason for allowing the incubator to stabilize is just to make sure that the user is familiar with how the unit operates and how to make small adjustments. The two most popular units that we sell are the HovaBator 1602n and the Little Giant 9200 tabletop incubators.  The thermostats on these units adjust completely different from each other. One is extremely sensitive and only requires small adjustments of the thermostat to change the temperature while the other takes larger turns of the adjusting screw to make a small adjustment of the thermostat. It is common that new users do not take time to familiarize themselves on how their incubator functions and how to make adjustments and will often over adjust the thermostat resulting in a temperature spike.

It is important to take the time to stabilize any incubator before placing eggs in it. Too often customers are rushed to get their eggs into the incubator that they either skip this step or do not fully complete it. To get the best hatch results it is important to fully allow the incubator to stabilize for a full 24 hours to make sure the incubator isn’t malfunctioning, that it is in a good location, and to know how to operate the incubator.

Comments | Posted in How To Articles By Evan Cornia

How to calibrate a thermometer

7/16/2013 1:54 PM

IncuTherm Thermometer Hygrometer

Having an accurate thermometer is a key component to successful incubation. One of the challenges with thermometers is that it is difficult and most of the time expensive to find an extremely accurate thermometer. This is why when you are considering which thermometer to use or purchase it is important to pay attention to the stated accuracy range. 

The accuracy range is how close to the actual temperature the thermometer can measure. For example the IncuTherm™ series thermometers stated accuracy is plus or minus 1 degree F; this means if the thermometer is reading 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit the actual temperature could be up to 1 degree F higher or lower than what the thermometer is reading.

Many people try to compensate for the accuracy range by using multiple thermometers in the same incubator. This actually causes more confusion and doubt for most people on what the actual temperature is. This is because it is difficult to know which thermometer is reading closest to the real temperature. It is possible and common that they are operating within the stated accuracy range but in opposite directions. For example, one could be off by 1 degree F high and the other 1 degree F low which would cause them to always have different readings and make it impossible to know which one is correct.

So this raises the question, how do I calibrate my thermometer? The best answer to this question is experience. Basically nature doesn’t lie, meaning the way to determine how accurate your thermometer is, is by the results of your hatch. If your eggs hatch on time the thermometer is reading the true temperature. If they hatch up to a day early then you know the actual temperature was up to one half a degree higher than what the thermometer was reading. If they hatch up to a day late the actual temperature was up to one half a degree lower than what the thermometer is reading.

Most thermometers that are used in incubation do not provide a way to actually calibrate the reading of the thermometer. The best way to do this is to either make a mental note of the difference or to write on the thermometer how far it is off and which direction. Once you know how much and in which direction you thermometer is off you can adjust the temperature in your incubator to compensate. For example, if you had determined that the actual temperature was a half a degree higher than what your thermometer was reading you would adjust the temperature so that the thermometer is reading 99.0 degrees. This would mean that the actual temperature in the incubator is 99.5 degrees.

This might sound like a lot of trouble to go through but if you desire to have better hatch results it is worth it. Just make sure once you get a good thermometer and have it calibrated to not lend it to friends or relatives because you might not ever get it back.

Comments | Posted in How To Articles By Evan Cornia

Years ago when we first started getting in to egg incubation, we were told that hatching quail eggs was one of the most difficult types of birds to hatch.  So when we started getting really good results with quail, we were feeling pretty good about our hatching abilities.  But I have learned that there is another type of poultry that can also be tricky to incubate: Ducks! 

As you consider duck egg incubation, there are a few key differences than other non-water fowl.  And these items make a big difference!   

First of all, most breeds of duck eggs take about a week longer than chicken eggs.  And some (Muscovy ducks, for example), take two weeks longer.  The extra time in the incubator means more time for little variables to add up and go wrong.  The temperature needs for ducks are the same as for chickens and most other poultry, but the moisture requirements are different.  Ducks get wet and so the eggs naturally are exposed to more moisture than other birds.  We try to make these changes in the incubator where the eggs will be set.

Mother Nature has designed birds with an innate ability to do the correct things to ensure a good hatch.  Their bodies are naturally the correct temperature and produce moisture which gives the eggs the environment they need.  The mother’s sense of smell tells her when an egg has gone bad so she can remove it from the nest.  They naturally know that they are supposed to turn the eggs so the developing embryos get the needed rotation.  Nature does a great job and we humans just try to replicate that the best we can.  And that’s where the incubator comes in.

The incubation period for most ducks is 28 days.  For a few species, such as Muscovy ducks, the hatch time is between 34-37 days.  The lock-down period (the last 2-3 days before hatching) needs to be adjusted accordingly.  The humidity is typically set about around 55% for the incubation period and increased to around 65% for the lock-down period.  As soon as the birds start to pip, the humidity should be increased to around 80%. 

Ducks are an extremely rewarding bird to hatch and raise.  Of all of the breeds of birds, ducks may be the cutest of them all.  They are very active, they like to run and they love to get wet!  Prepare to provide them lots of water and have fun watching them play!

Comments | Posted in How To Articles By Kip Jensen


100 Watt IncuKit

IncuKit DC



Here at we specialize in products designed for incubating different types of eggs. However we have had some customers purchasing some of our items to make fermented/cultured food such as kombucha tea and kefir just to name a couple. The most popular item that we sell for this purpose is our heat mat, but we have also seen customers us the IncuKit DC and the 100 watt IncuKit for this purpose.

The IncuKit line of products was originally designed to be the heart and brains of homemade egg incubators. This line of products is easily mounted into many different containers and would provide the heat, air circulation, and the thermostat control required for incubation; which has made it a popular item for the DIY type of customer.

The design of the IncuKit line has also has also made it a great item to make homemade food fermenters and produce cultured food. This is because the digital thermostats that come with the units are able to be set at a wide range of desired temperatures while the circulating fan and heater provides even heat distribution. The two most popular IncuKits with our customers for making fermented and cultured food have been the 40 watt IncuKit DC and the 100 watt IncuKit.  This is because they work great for small containers all the way up to large coolers for large batches.

Most of our customers who make their own fermenters and cultured food usually install the IncuKit into the lid of the container they are going to be using; making sure they are providing adequate ventilation. They then set the thermostat to the correct temperature, add their ingredients, wait the appropriate time, and then enjoy their favorite fermented or cultured food.

Comments | Posted in How To Articles By Evan Cornia

Adjusting the’s Proportional Thermostat

Proportional Thermostat

The proportional thermostat is sold in three configurations: by its self, in the IncuKit™ DC, and in the 225W IncuKit. In all of these configurations the Proportional thermostat operates in the same way; reducing the power to the heating elements as the temperature approaches the desired level or set point but not fully cutting off the power (for proportional vs. standard thermostats click here). This provides a more precise temperature range than a standard electronic on/off thermostat. However, the proportional thermostat’s factory settings sometimes do not produce the desired temperature range. Most often this is because these products are used in different configurations of homemade incubators that have many different factors such as size, shape, insulation, and location to mention a few. This is why it impossible to have a single or even several settings that fit all situations; as a result it is sometimes required for the user to adjust the thermostat settings to obtain the optimal performance for their specific application. The best method for adjusting the thermostat is by making small adjustments one setting at a time, documenting the changes, and then waiting for a period of time to see if the changes produced the desired effects. There are four settings that control the operations of the proportional thermostat which are:

Set Temperature (Set Temp*)- This is the target temperature of the incubator. Adjusting this setting will move the temperature up and down by 0.1 degree increments.  If you hold the UP or DOWN buttons down, it will change more rapidly.  NOTE: the temperature sensor on this device is VERY sensitive and will adjust very rapidly to tiny changes in temperature.  You may see the temperature display moving by several 10ths of a degree above or below the set point and then go the other direction.  The sensor is quickly communicating with the controller and adjusting the amount of power that is sent to the heaters.  The temperature variation that your eggs will experience is MUCH, MUCH less than the sensitive sensor is reading. 

Control Offset (Ctrl Ofs*)- This changes the temperature point where the heater will begin tapering down in power.   Depending on your configuration, you may find that the temperature does not get up to an average temperature that is close enough to the set point.  This could be due to the size of your incubator or the insulation that is used in your incubator. By adjusting this value up, it can help get the average temperature closer to the set point.   

Control Range (Ctrl Rng*)- This changes the temperature range that the decreasing heater slope will be applied to.  This means range is where the heater power begins to decrease and goes to zero. For example, if your control offset is 90 degrees and your control range is 12 degrees, the power to the heater will begin to decrease at 90 degrees and will completely cut off at 102 degrees. It is important to makes sure that the control range goes beyond your set point. To do this, simply add the control offset and the control range and if the number is larger than the set point the thermostat should function properly.

OSP Slope (OSPslope*)- This changes the percentage of total power that the heater will receive after the set point has been reached. For example, if the OSP slope is 0.25; once the heater reaches your set temperature the power to the heater will drop to 25 percent and gradually decrease until the temperature reaches the top of the control range.                                                        * The setting in the thermostat menu

Before any changes are made it is recommended to allow the incubator to stabilize with the factory settings to determine whether they are sufficient. Also, when making changes to the thermostat settings we recommend only changing one setting at a time in this order: control offset, OSP slope, and finally the control range. Making changes to multiple settings at a time makes it difficult to determine which setting is doing what to the performance of the thermostat.

Many customers would like a specified range that the proportional thermostat should optimally operate in. If every application was identical this would be possible. One of the keys to incubating eggs is that the internal temperature of the eggs changes much slower than the air temperature inside the incubator. This is what makes the average temperature an important number to focus on because it will closely reflect the internal temperature of the egg. This fact  makes the best way to determine if  the thermostat is functioning correctly by how well it maintains the correct average temperature.

Getting the thermostat adequately adjusted can be a tedious task but once it is done it will make a significant difference in the quality of the performance.

Comments | Posted in How To Articles By Evan Cornia

We finally decided to do it.  We are now stocking the Brinsea brand of incubators.  We do not carry their full line of products, but we do carry most of their desktop incubators.  Today I will be reviewing the Brinsea Mini Advance.  The Mini series has 3 incubators the Brinsea Mini Eco, Brinsea Mini Advance, and Brinsea Mini Advance EX.  Below is a detailed summary of the difference between the three

brinsea Mini Compariosn Chart


Here is a picture of the contents of the box (I left a few promotional papers out of the picture)

Brinsea Mini Advance Box Contents

When looking to buy any of the Brinsea products most people notice the price right off.  The price point for the Brinsea incubators is higher than other incubator brands (for similar egg capacity).  This being the case I would expect a higher quality product that stands up to it's premium price.  At first glance the clarity of the dome was a little milkier than I was expecting, however, that being said it is still VERY CLEAR.  The very slight milky look is probably because the plastic dome is so thick.  All the plastic pieces are very thick and durable.  The gear for the turning mechanism had a little play in it, but nothing that would make it perform poorly (I have seen pictures of this motor shaft rusting, but not sure if they have fixed that problem).  

For the price paid for this incubator I would expect some really nice glossy instructions, but they are just printed on regular printer paper, not a big deal, but just surprised me. 

I plugged in the incubator and it started right up.  It is not silent, I share an office and my office partner walked in and said "What is that buzzing noise" so the sound was noticable, but overall quite quiet.  

The menu wasn't extremely intuitive at first.  I consider myself a smart person and I thought I could figure out how to get into the settings part of the incubator controller.  After reading the first couple pages of the manual I realized that you just have to press both the (-) and the (+) buttons at the same time to enter the menu.  From there the menu was pretty easy to navigate.  I just had to refer to the manual to decipher the titles of some of the menu screens (that isn't a big deal because they only have 8 characters on each line of the display)

The incubator was preset to Celsius, after a few minutes of reading the manual I found out how to change it to Fahrenheit.


Overall the Brinsea Mini Advance performed awesome.  It took a little less than 20 minutes to get up to temperature and stabilize.  The incubator seemed to bounce between 99.5 and 99.6 the entire time I was running it.  After a few minutes I realized that when the * appears on the screen it means the heater is ON.  

The first time the turning motor came on it startled me because it beeped 5-6 times and turned the egg disc.  I was happy that I didn't miss the first turn.  The second time the turner went I heard the beeps and thought that might be kind of annoying at 2 AM in my bedroom.  the third time the turner motor turned on the novelty of the beeps had worn off and I was wanting to turn the beeping off.  In all my looking I still haven't figured out how to turn off the beeps when the turner starts.

In reading the manual I read about a power loss feature where if the power goes out a P will appear on the screen notifying you that the unit lost power at some time so you might want to pay extra close attention to see if the eggs are still viable.

The closest that the alarm feature can be set to the set point is 1.8 F.  Overall this is probably close enough, but seems like some might want a tighter range than this.  I've seen this with other thermostats i've evaluated 1.8 F = 1 C so it is a pretty round number if someone is designing something in a country that uses the Celsius scale.

The bottom line is that the Brinsea Mini Advance is a really good incubator and the reviews from people are pretty unanimous that the Brinsea Mini Advance is a great incubator.  It is good to note that if you buy the Brinsea Mini Advance you cannot buy the Brinsea Humidity pump later and add it.  The control module is different for these 2 models.  

Click here to start shopping for Brinsea Incubators

Comments | Posted in Egg Incubator Reviews By Incubator Warehouse Administrator
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