Bird keepers in any way, shape or form usually want to keep an incubator on hand in the event that their birds are at least one step of the way to successful reproduction in producing eggs. Here are some tips to consider if you are buying an incubator:
- Ask questions! The sales rep should be able to answer your questions about capacity, operation, power requirements, and general hatching requirements. Remember, each species is different in their requirements, so the person you are speaking to may not be familiar with your individual species.
- Evaluate the size of the machine to fit your operation. The size of the incubator you need will depend on the species of birds you rear, the number of eggs you may expect at any given time, the number of eggs a female will produce, and the space you have available for storage.
- Confirm that the rating (the number of eggs the manufacturer estimates for capacity) is close to the actual incubation, hatching, or combined capacity of the machine. The sales rep and other consumer reviews should support this.
- Ensure you understand the correct price of the machine. If you are looking for a deal, evaluate the reviews of a low-cost incubator, and ensure the machine will satisfy your requirements. When buying an incubator, the lowest cost unit may not always be the best. Remember, companies do not usually include the cost of shipping or tax in the list price of a unit. What you can afford to spend on an incubator will depend on what you are prepared to commit to for successful reproduction of your birds.
- Understand what you are getting with your incubator. Many manufacturers offer various options and models of incubators. Be sure the one you select will fit your needs and the requirements of your species. If you are unsure of what is included with your purchase, ask the sales representative to clarify for you.
- Buy your incubator early! Waiting until you have eggs that need to be set is not a realistic idea for purchasing an incubator. Buying a machine in the spring, at peak season, is likely when costs will be highest, and you run the risk of suppliers having low inventory, causing further delays on top of premium prices. Always pad the shipping time of a purchase with an additional week, to account for problems or delays.
- Open, inspect and start your incubator on arrival. Ensure all parts and pieces are complete and functioning normally. Do not wait to do this, even if you aren’t using it right away. It is better to know sooner, rather than later if a machine is not working correctly or parts are missing.
By Clayton Botkin, Judging License #1234