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Randy Pryor

  1. Right Before the Hatch

    Today I set up my brooder, and prepared the eggs to hatch. The brooder kit I got is quite ingenious.Two rolls of plastic can be unrolled and taped together to make the walls. PVC pipe forms a tripod, from which an ultra-violet heat bulb hangs.

    I set it up in my garage. I live in northern Utah, where winters can get pretty drastic and very unstable. So at first I worried whether or not the temperature would drop so much at night that even the heating lamp would not be enough to keep them warm. So I monitored it for a few days. I determined that while the heat does, in fact, go down, it is not too severe as long as you keep the garage door closed. Most of the cold that does get in tends to come from the cement floor, so I decided to layer the floor thickly with padding, which brings us to my next question.

    What would I use to cover the floor? The most important thing about

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  2. A Few Questions

    As my eggs have incubated over the past couple of weeks, a few questions have arisen.

    First, as I previously mentioned, the temperature spiked after I placed the eggs in the incubator. I researched the question, but the best answer I found was a vague article mentioning  that it may be due to chick development, particularly around days 12-14. The temperature spiked after I put the eggs in, but slowly decreased back towards normal, this was mildly frustrating for a while, as it required frequent adjustments or the temperature would get way to low. The last few days, the heat has began to rise back up. (Right on schedule, according to the information I found.) I think this may be because the chicks inside the eggs put off heat of their own, which adds to the heat you are already applying.

    Another issue I had been wondering about was smell. T

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  3. Low Cost Electronic Thermostat for Egg Incubators

    Low cost electronic thermostat for egg incubators

    Low cost electronic thermostat for egg incubators

    Today we are testing samples of a brand new thermostat that we hope to start selling very soon.  This thermostat provides a mid-ground between the bi-metal mechanical thermostats and the digital electronic thermostats that we sell.  Here are the specifications for this new thermostat:

    •   -110 Volt AC (Sorry no 220 Volt version yet)
    •   -Heater Indicator Light
    •   -Temperature Control Range Switch (Narrow or Wide)
    •   -Easy turn temperature adjustment
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  4. Candling

    Today I candled my eggs for the first time. It is a little over a week into the incubation process.

    First I washed my hands. I had read that this was important but wondered why. Upon looking it up, I found out that eggs are covered in tiny pores, which are vital to help the egg ‘breath’. The oils in your skin can quite easily clog these pores. After my hands were carefully cleaned, I went into a dark closet with each egg and candled them.

    The candler is a small gray cylinder with several LED light bulbs, which illuminate more clearly than regular light. This is because the light is ‘cooler’ (This refers to the color of the light, not the actual heat output.) To candle, you go somewhere dark and set each egg, in turn, on top of the candler. You wrap your fingers around the point where the egg meets the light, in order to eliminate excess light. As the l

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  5. FAQ's About Poultry Molting

    Have you ever checked on your chicken coop and wondered if a predator got in your coop because of all of the feathers scattered around?  You check around for holes in your poultry wire and then count your chickens and joyfully find that they are all accounted for.   So where did all of the feathers come from?

    Your birds are probably molting. 

    What is molting?
    Molting is a natural process a bird goes through.  It normally occurs at the end of the laying cycle in the Autumn.  As the days get shorter and feeding time decreases, their natural clock tells them it’s time to take a break from the rigors of laying and replenish their feathers.  Feather production requires protein, just as egg production.  So the bird stops laying eggs in order to redirect the nutrients to the production of feathers. 

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  6. Eggs in the Mail

    After my Incubator was stable and ready to go, I ordered eggs. I got a variety pack with 4 types. The Khaki Campbell Duck, a extremely efficient egg laying breed, with as many as 320 eggs a year, the Indian Runner Duck, a very unusual duck that can not fly but runs or walks (hence the name), the Peking Duck, which has been bred in China for centuries specifically to eat, and is the main component in a National Dish of China, and the Rouen Duck, a very large duck that originated in France.

    The order said it would send eighteen eggs plus what else they could send. This, apparently, is the way they usually place orders. They send a given number, but because eggs are very perishable, any unsold eggs have to be sent somewhere, so they just send them to people who have placed other orders. I had wondered how they would ship eggs. The company they came from was in Florida, so would they make it all the way? The box they came in was heavily lined in foam, bubble wrap, and packaging

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  7. Increasing Egg Production During the Fall/Winter Months

    As the fall and winter months begin to set in most people notice that their chickens don’t produce as many eggs as they do in the summer months. While there are many different possible causes, we will focus on only a couple important factors that have a large impact on egg production.

    The first major factor that causes a reduction in egg production is the amount of light chickens are exposed to in a day. On average chickens require approximately 14 hours of light a day to constantly produce eggs. As fall sets in the amount of sunlight decreases every day which in turn decreases egg production. To help provide more light it is as simple as adding a light bulb to your coop. To save on energy costs we recommend using a timer to turn the light on and off in the morning and evening.  The’s

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  8. Getting my Supplies

    As I waited for the Incubator to arrive, another question dawned on me. ‘How long do I need to keep them in the brooder after they hatch?’ The answer is not a matter of overall time, but temperature. You start with the temerature near the temperature of the incubator (99.5 Degrees) and decrease it by 5-10 degrees each week. If, during the process, the ducklings huddle under the lamp, make it warmer. If they are staying away from the lamp and pant, the heat is too high. A table found at shows optimum temperatures at specific times.

    After finding the answer to my question about brooding, I waited for the incubater and brooder to arrive. The shipment came in a large box. I opened it and had several questions as I went through the supplies. The first thing that stood out to me was a large red trough with twenty-eight holes in its lid. Each ho

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  9. A First Look at Incubation

    Today I first began my research on egg incubation. I decided to start with ducks. Two questions immediately came to mind, and this is where I started. The questions were: “What do I need to do?” and “What do I need to buy?”

    I started with the first question, ‘what to do’. I found some answers at You basically Put them in a 98 to 99.9 degree (F) incubator at 50 to 55 percent humidity, and turn them three times a day (or more, but always an odd number of times). You do this for 24 days. On day 25, however, you decrease the temperature to 97-98 degrees (F) and increase the humidity to 70 percent. On day 28 they should hatch, and what you do next is crucial to their survival. Let them dry of most of the way, then move them to a ‘brooder’. This ‘brooder’ must be at least 6 sq. in per duckling, have hay, water, food, and

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  10. Turning or not Turning? That is the question

    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 chec

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