Everyone who incubates knows how nice it is to have an autoturner. If you're at work and can't turn the eggs, no worries, the turner's doing it. It can also turn the eggs more often than most people would ever be able to. And turning eggs is important - studies show that a broody hen turns her eggs upwards of 50 times a day!
Both of my Brinseas have autoturners that I purchased for them and they are great to have. However, about three weeks ago, just after I had ordered some eggs, disaster struck. My big incubator, which was thankfully empty at the time save for my cat's fluids, had its autoturner break. The small plastic arm that holds the turning mechanism to the turner motor broke right into two, and the incubator lurched forward and pitched itself onto the table it sits on, turning almost completely upside down. If there had been eggs in it, they all likely would have broken. Needless to say, the turner was no longer working.
Since I had eggs on the way, I tried to do a quick fix with some plastic glue, but it did not take. Defeated, I decided to contact Brinsea and hopefully get a new turner before my eggs came in, since it is still under its three year warranty. This is where things got frustrating.
I started by sending them an email on a Thursday night. By the following Tuesday, I still hadn't heard back. My eggs had come in and gone into the incubator at this point. I had put them in my smaller one that I use as a hatcher because it still had a working autoturner - except now it didn't, because that one picked this time to fail too. That one is out of warranty and I was out of luck on with it, but since I use that incubator usually only as a hatcher, it wasn't a big deal except now I had to hand turn until my new turner from Brinsea came in.
Tuesday before I headed out to work in the afternoon, I gave Brinsea a call since they still hadn't gotten back to me. I was informed that they would not send me a new turner right away even though I needed it, but that I had to send mine back first. This annoyed me because that is not at all what good customer service is or what we do where I work. If a customer receives a product that breaks, they get their replacement item sent right away, especially if they need it immediately.
But I didn't have a choice. I needed the turner and the only way I was going to get it was to send mine back. So I headed off to work with plans to send it out the next day.
The very next morning, I finally got a reply to my email. It was not a good one. In the email I had explained the situation and asked what I needed to do. The only response I received was "Did you send it back yet?" No acknowledgement of any of my questions and just the assumption that I knew what to do even though in my email I made it clear I didn't. I thought perhaps the person I spoke to on the phone had made a note in my account but why then send an email the very next morning demanding to know if I had sent it back? The email I sent in reply may have been a little terse.
I sent the turner out via priority mail the next day and it arrived by Saturday. After they had had it about four days, I decided to call to check on the status. I was told it was "getting ready for testing so that they can find the problem and make repairs". Four days there and it hadn't even started to be repaired. Plus, you didn't need to test it, the problem was a very obvious broken part. I reiterated that I needed it ASAP because I had eggs incubating and was told they "didn't expect to keep it very long".
The next week I called again to check on it on Thursday. I was told it was finally repaired and was "sitting on the go back shelf" ready to be shipped out. I was told that "it may ship out tomorrow". After all this and they couldn't even promise that they would ship out my fixed turner the next day even though it was ready to go!
That was last Thursday. As of today, a week later, I still have heard nothing from them and I still don't have my turner back. The eggs that I ordered right when the turner broke are now in lockdown and I had to do the whole incubation hand turning. It has been over three weeks since this all began.
In summary, I love my Brinsea incubators, but their customer service sucks.
We've now come full swing into the holiday season. Thanksgiving was last Thursday and Christmas is fast approaching. The temperature is dropping, snow is threatening to fall, and a mad dash to buy everyone gifts has begun. What better than to hatch chicks at this time of year?
I said I was done hatching for the year and I really thought I was. But then I picked up a gorgeous new Ayam Cemani cockerel.
I promptly put him over my hens and let him go to work. Even then, I wasn't planning on hatching. I already have some juvenile ACs in my workshop along with a batch of brown split to Isabelle leghorn chicks and I really don't need more young birds.
But then the girls started laying. I checked eggs for fertility and started selling them as possibly pure mixed eggs since they had been out free ranging with the rest of the birds at a low price. But they slowed down and laid six eggs, not enough to fill an order, and then stopped again. They sat languishing in an egg carton for nearly two weeks before I just couldn't bear it any longer. They went into the incubator Thanksgiving night. So if all goes well I will have some chicks hatching a week before Christmas. Just what I need to complicate the holidays!
I am no stranger to hatching (those of you who know me from BYC will know my User Title reads 'hatchaholic') and we are now right in the middle of hatching season here on the farm. Each year I hatch out chicks, ducklings, goslings, keets, etc to add to my flocks and work on improving the breeds I keep and this year is no different. However, this year I did step it up a notch.
I used to own three incubators. Two were LGs, and I did not like them and used them only when I had to. One was dubbed "The Murder Box" because it seemingly killed anything you put in it. Still, it made a serviceable hatcher, and it was sentenced to that use for the rest of its life. My third incubator was a Brinsea 20 Eco, which I love. The only problem was its small (for me, at least) capacity. Without the rails in I could manage to stuff it full of 25-30 eggs at a time, but I needed room for more. So with this year's tax return, I got myself a present.
A Brinsea 40 Eco, the bigger version of my little Brinsea 20 Eco. I got it up and running, made sure the temperature was good, and waited for everything to stabilize. And then I promptly filled it.
To my delight even with some of the eggs being large welsh harlequins eggs without the rails I was able to fit in 54 eggs. And so the hatching was on. In due time I had a flood of chicks, keets, and ducklings. And ever since filling it up the first time, I haven't been able to unfill it. Eggs just keep going in. Some of my own and some from other breeders. I keep thinking I'm done but then I run across a good deal, or go to a Chickenstock and win eggs, or win eggs for a low price in an auction, and before I know it, the incubator is full again.
This weekend I should be expecting some chicks, poults, and ducklings. And wouldn't you know but as soon as I locked down that batch of eggs tonight another was waiting in the wings to take their place.
What can I say? My user title isn't 'Hatchoholic' for nothing!