The Octagon 20 Advance Incubator from Brinsea

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I have sold Brinsea incubators for some years now, and am familiar with the previous Octagon 20 versions, so was intrigued at this new model.

We were invited to attend a launch day at Brinsea headquarters, but I was unwell on the day so missed out. The first I knew about the new incubator was when my initial orders arrived, I don't like selling something until I have tried it out so put them to one side until I could have a play!

So, some four weeks later, and 2 weeks after major surgery I decided to try it out, I cannot use my big Octagon 100 or do anything with my birds, so this  is a welcome distraction! I am also siting it in the kitchen, as I cannot walk out to my hatching room, so it is not an ideal environment due to the heat and background humidity.

First impressions, 1;usual Octagon shape, so can be used without cradle,eggs turned by rotatating whole incubator, no need to turn individual eggs.

2; nice bright Brinsea yellow case, clear lid a little lower than before, so eggs clearly visible

3;heating is by a heated cord in the lid, a bit like the Polyhatch, this and the fan are behind a plastic grid so out of reach of damage or hatching chicks

4;electric supply cable to lid is a seperate item, part of the lid has to be removed with a screwdriver to fix the cable in,I find this a bit annoying

5;digital setting was quite easy, even for a technophobe like me!Instructions seem OK,and it is up and running very quickly

6;Digital readout on the basic model includes temperature and humidity, and temperature is controlled by the incubator, humidity on the basic model needs to be controlled by the user but having an accurate humidity readout is a real bonus

7;assembley of incubator and cradle and setting up took under 30 minutes. I loaded the basket with 23 large fowl and one Pekin bantam egg, weighed the whole basket and have set it off, humidity at setting with fresh eggs and a small amount of water was 46%, reccomended humidity is about 44%, the incubator very quickly reached optimum temperature

I will update this guide when I have more progress to report, my present conclusions as an experienced hatcher is that it was very easy to use, the base looks easy to clean but I will not be hatching in it, as the lid area looks very difficult to clean hatching debris from, so may not be the best 1st incubator as you will require a seperate hatcher.

UPDATE 3/4/08

Eggs candled at 10 days revealed very poor fertility, only 11 eggs out of 24 were fertile, the rest completely clear, this was my first hatch of the year and it as been very cold, but I have had words with the boys! All the Maran eggs were fertile, so he is a good lad.

Candled again at 18 days, one egg had died, the rest were looking good. Due to hatch on the monday, so turner removed and divider rods to prevent damage to hatchlings. I was suprised on sunday morning to find a Maran chick looking at me! He had hatched overnight, egg beautifully cut round and he was very bright and chirpy. By monday morning 7 more chicks hatched, and late on monday a large Orpington hatched, the last egg showed no signs of pipping, and I checked it on tuesday and found it dead in shell.

All the chicks hatched quickly from pipping, were active immediately and very strong. I hatched 2 Orpingtons, 1 Rhode Island Red and 6 Marans.  No leg problems, and navels clean and no bleeding. The resulting shells were completely cut in half, and the chicks needed no help to get out. I did hatch in the incubator, as I felt this was a better test. Reading the instruction book (always a good idea!) I found that the protective grid in the lid can be removed, and the lid cleaned out, this does mean removing 6 screws, but was quite easy.

In summary, I like this incubator. The humidity meter was very useful, I was able to keep a close eye and top up when required. I kept it at about 42%, increasing to about 45% from day 18. The incubator survived a hard knock at day 12, my son whacked it by mistake and it fell off the cradle, so may explain the egg that died early on.

I think this incubator would be of use to both experienced and novice hatchers.

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