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Discussion Starter #1
I want to stop buying my meat chicks and start hatching my own so I have been reading reviews on incubators. So far they all seem to have such mixed reviews. I don't want to spend a ton of money on one that won't work well. I would love to get your thoughts on the most reliable one to get. Thank you.
 

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Hatching your own meat chickens is not that easy. First you have to get them to live long enough to lay eggs. Dual purpose chickens would be easier.

How many chicks do you intend to hatch at a time?
 

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Believe it or not the incubator isn't the most important part of hatching. It's the instruments used to measure temps and humidity. A cheap GQF can hatch like nobody's business if temps and humidity are being read correctly. I know, I did it for years.

And what the others said, hatching meat birds is not as easy as you might think and would probably cost more in the long run.
 

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I want to stop buying my meat chicks and start hatching my own
What kind of meat birds?


Believe it or not the incubator isn't the most important part of hatching. It's the instruments used to measure temps and humidity. A cheap GQF can hatch like nobody's business if temps and humidity are being read correctly. I know, I did it for years.
Absolutely!
Test/calibrate all your thermometers and hygrometers.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
We currently have about 70 egg laying chickens but none of our girls ever get broody. We purchase about 50 - 60 meat birds at a time so I'd like to hatch at least that many. I have an incubator we used 20 years ago when we were trying to hatch but it would spike temps mid month and kill the eggs so we gave up and started purchasing meat chicks to grow up and process. We are just trying to save the cost of buying and the stress of shipping the day old babies each year. Not to mention, with the way the world is going I don't want to rely on outside sources to get my meat.
 

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It is very difficult to raise the meatbirds that you are buying now to an age that will provide eggs. Very difficult.
 

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The modern strains of broilers seem to be a coveted secret of hybrid strains. You might get close in crossing Cornish with Plymouth Rocks but it will be hard to get 100% hatch rate. It's more efficient/cheaper to buy them as chicks from a store.

I had good luck with Brinsea brand of incubators.
 

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I have a smaller Brinsea and a larger GFC. They both serve their purpose. Either you want to hatch them in smaller batches or larger ones. That is if you can get them to lay for you in the first place.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Getting the eggs isn't a problem. Our girls are giving us tons of eggs. Maybe I didn't explain well. We have 60 chickens now that are constant egg layers. Aside from that we usually purchase day old chicks once a year that we grow up to process for meat. We have been doing that for many years. The incubators I have used in the past either stop working or fluctuate temperature to much to give any real consistent success. I was just hoping that someone would have suggestions on a machine that was reliable. :)
 

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All incubators need maintenance or repair at some point. Even Brinsea. Although having had one I can say they are an excellent machine.
 

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I just bought my third Nurture Right from TSC. I hatch lots of Silkie chicks, ducks, and turkeys to sell and have had pretty good luck with them. They are easy to use but you have to watch the humidity, as it fluctuates based on your home temperature. I like the built in egg candler and clear plastic sides. I read all the reviews and I’m sure there are exceptions, but I really like them.

I had a bigger one but there were several design flaws. The egg trays didn’t come out easily for cleaning and there were gaps on the sides of the egg turning trays that allowed the baby chicks to literally fall through the cracks. I like to leave chicks in the incubator for a day and it just didn’t work.

I prefer hens for hatching, but we have snakes and it is frustrating to loose eggs!
 

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Maybe I didn't explain well. We have 60 chickens now that are constant egg layers. Aside from that we usually purchase day old chicks once a year that we grow up to process for meat.
I think the confusion came with the term 'meat birds'...made us think about Cornish Cross or Rangers.
So you are hatching a bunch of layer breeds to slaughter for meat?
Any particular breed you find best for this endeavor?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
We usually get cornish or cornish cross birds. They work well and are usually the cheaper of the day old birds when you order through the mail from a company like Murray Mcmurray.
 

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Your can replace the thermostat disk.
Use tools to calibrate temp and humidity and putting the incubator in a room that is warm draft free not direct sun light is huge. Shoot i have 28 year old incubator still working. Really where u put the incubator makes a big differentsl.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks, I have a seed starting room that has a heater on a thermostat and stays a constant 70 degrees to make my peppers happy. I would be using that room to house the incubator. The one I have now was in that room and only fluctuated within 2 degrees for the first 12 days and my eggs were all doing great when I candles them at 9 days. Then I came in on day 13 with no changes in the room temp and the darn thing had spiked to 107. It must have been that way for awhile because the eggs were extremely hot to the touch. A lot of the reviews I am reading online complain about sudden spikes or sudden dips which is what prompted me to post here. I don't want to make an expensive purchase just to get another machine that won't hold temperature.
 

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No direct sunlight it can really jump temps. Little giant incubator s is what i have most of. I added fans and turners bought temp humidity cant think what they are called but all in one sit in side.
Little giant start at like $60 and $160 check tractor supply. Or other online stores even amazon.
The fan and turners are good. But you still need to check the incubator alot. Add water wjem needed. Ne a good mother hen and you will do well hatching. I worked my way up bit was able with good eggs to get like 90 to 99 % ofy eggs to hatch health chicks. Temp humidity can effect the health of the chick. And never help a chick hatch. I know its our natural feeling to help but chicks need to do it themselfs. Get a incubator set it up a month before and test it . if it holds temp and humidity then add eggs. You cam collect eggs for a week or two in egg cartons rubber band shut and elevate one end then turn the carton a few times each day. I did mine on the kitchen counter so i didnt forget. Every did older eggs. But put all eggs in at dame time in incubator. Opening to add eggs as you go is bad. Staggered hatch is bad cause eggs at different stages need different humidity. I even played with temp to hatch more male or females. But get the birds to hatch health is the end result you want. Not sure if Fireman is still around but he is s wealth of hatch info.
 
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