This 1st set of comments are mine.
Price is excellent for what I got. Sells for about $89.00 at Wings N Things shipping included. G&K also has a good deal on them.
It's built to last for years.
Clear top came with it, I didn't pay extra for it.
Sanitation before/after hatch is easy, toss it in the dish washer, or the sink.
I can set tiny to very large size eggs, I don't have to shell out extra cash for optional equipment to set different sizes. Holds 120 quail, 48 chicken, 24 duck/turkey, 16 goose eggs.
Hatched babies can't get burned on heating element cuz it's enclosed
Water well is under wire floor, chicks can't get to it. A Sponge needs to be added to raise huimidity last 3 days.
Comes with a fan. Air is heated and moves by natural convection through the center tower up and over the eggs. No forced blast only when heating element is on or hot and cold spots.
I can turn all the eggs at once manually simply by rotating the drum. Don't have to open the bator so I didn't fork out cash for the optional turner.
Eggs lay on their side in a natural manner, like in the nest.
I have excellent hatch results in this bator with my duck eggs.
What I Don't Like about it:
It's sensative to outside temp and must be in a stable temp area where outside temp doesn't flex up or down to much.
Sometimes eggs land small end slightly up after a turn. If this occurs on the last turn before hatch eggs must be adjusted by hand.
Directions say to leave the turning rack in during hatch cuz removing it affects temp, sometimes babys end up getting stuck between rack and bator floor. Plus it's a trip hazzard for the newly hatched.
Directions say to keep bator at 99.5. I find hatches have a higher hatch rate and are on time at 100*.
NOTE: Before putting this bator together check that the components on the control are positioned correctly. IE: thermister (temp sensor) is standing out, not touching anything. These may get pushed down during packing/shipping. Dust the thermister and other components on the control board, by blowing on them, after every couple of hatches as hatching dander will affect it's performance (causes temp to flex).
The Top Hatch I have is new, and though I have examined it I have not run it. I did set it up and watched it turn; a big motor in a box under the
supports, fan blade on one end and the other worm geared to a turner. From the outside looks just like the old ones. It has a slot in the base now, and a small shaft sticks out for adjusting temp, 1&1/2 degrees per turn. Water ring just like the original. They have also added teflon pads on top the support posts so that the tray slides much easier. Soon as I have more to report I will do so. See the update HERE
Hi there, You were looking for input on the Brower - and on where to purchase - so I'll give you my two-cents worth.
I'm the one that recommended DoubleR. They worked for me from the shipping standpoint. Living in California we sometimes feel isolated from the majority of the poultry and poultry supply houses, and shipping can be a concern. DoubleR offered the Brower TopHatch with auto turner, shipping included, for $120. That's pretty good from Florida to California. So, what do I think of the Brower?
I put three settings through the Tophatch this spring. The first was my own standard, show-quality cochin eggs. Hatch rate was about 65%, which I considered good for my not clipping vents, not using AI, and it being their first breeding season. I did not candle so I can't address fertility. I followed the enclosed manufacturers instructions exactly - filling the water canal, removing the red tabs, disengaging the auto-turner the final three days. I did not add a sponge (didn't know I was supposed to!).
Second hatch was half filled with my cochin eggs, and half filled with Toulouse goose eggs - which I received from Wisconsin (I'm in California). Again I followed the same pattern, except that I submerged the goose eggs in lukewarm water once a day. And again, 65% hatch rate on the cochins. Of the twelve goose eggs, six didn't develop (I'm no pro on fertility and candling though), and three finally hatched.
My third hatch was a problem, and I got no chicks. The temperature seemed to spike at times. And as I was gone for a week, I have no way of knowing how high the temperature got, or how long it stayed there.
Overall, I like the Tophatch, and I like the turner. In that I commute into San Francisco everyday for my job and so am away from my home for a ten-hour period, I needed an incubator and turner I could rely on - and I did. Also, it's a not-unattractive incubator - and it's quiet and sanitary. I'd highly recommend it.
I just had my first batch of eggs hatch using the Top Hatch incubator. I had 23 chicken eggs in the unit and 20 hatched. I do not have the automatic turner. I turned the eggs at least 5 times a day, sometimes 6 or 7. At present I have goose eggs in so I hope to have good results with them too. I'm sure one reason I had a good hatching with the chickens was because the eggs were only a day old. The goose eggs are anywhere from 10 days old to laid that day.
First off, I had little trouble getting the temp adjusted. I let the machine run for a couple of days to get used to setting the temp, and to make sure there weren't any flaws in the fan or thermister since it was a new machine. I noticed the temp went up in the morning, but I figured out it was because the sunlight was shining in on it from my french doors. I made sure the shade was down before I went to bed so the temp wouldn't rise. Also, when I put the eggs in the unit, the temp rose within hours. I waited several hours for the eggs to completely warm, then I adjusted the temp back down. I also replaced the bulb that came with the machine, with a new GE bulb. After that I no longer had unstable temps.
I found that turning the eggs manually wasn't any trouble. I had both small and very large chicken eggs in so I did have to take the lid off to adjust the eggs after nearly every turn. It didn't take long so the temp fell only a few degrees but quickly went back to normal.
When I candled the eggs, I figured out that holding the egg in the across position helped to see inside better. I had trouble seeing much when I held the egg with the round end pointing up. I was hatching many dark brown eggs so that too cut down on the viewing. The room must be rather dark in order to get a good look at the developing peeps.
I did stop turning the last 3 days and I added a damp sponge inside the machine. I also lowered the temp.
After all the chicks had hatched, clean up was fast and easy. I rinsed out the lid, rack, mesh, and drum. Then I placed them in the dishwasher and added some bleach along with the Cascade. I took the hair dryer and blew out the dander from the fan/thermister. I also cleaned the base to be on the safe side.
All and all I must say that I'm happy with the Top Hatch. It's made to last a very long time. There's nothing flimsy made about it.
I have a Top Hatch and Litte Giant. I haven't used my Top Hatch very much, but I have used the Little Giant several times.
I have started using the Little Giant just for hatching, and using a Brower Top Hatch for the initial incubation period. This saves having to open it for fairly long periods to turn the eggs, which really plays havoc with the humidity and temperature.
I don't feel it is worth the cost to buy an automatic turner for the little giant, as they cost about as much as the original incubator itself. My advice would be to purchase a better incubator, like the Top Hatch, which costs less.
Here's what I think of the Top Hatch. It has forced air, a built-in candler, and an automatic turner can be had for less than $30. For the Little Giant, you have to purchase the incubator itself (around $40), the turner (around $40) and the fan (around $25), and it still doesn't work that well. This is my limited experience with the Top Hatch incubator.
From the time I got it and plugged it in, it ran at exactly 99.5 degrees, set from the factory. It never wavers, unless it's been opened for several minutes to candle or adjust something. Even then, it comes back up to temperature very quickly. I am impressed with that feature.
The humidity is a little more difficult, but not bad. It's kind of hard to see how full the water well is and it's hard to fill, because a lot of the water seems to splash out when you're trying to fill it down the side. It does hold the humidity pretty well for me, and I fill it about every 2 days. I bought a hygrometer to test it, and it stayed at around 66% humidty with the water wells full. So I would probably add a sponge during the hatch, but that's about it.
The automatic turner is probably not really needed, since it's so easy to turn them by hand, without opening it. You just rotate the drum. The turner moves the eggs into strange positions sometimes, and it's difficult to tell if it's really doing the job. It moves in minute increments, from what I can tell. I also have had problems with the rack tipping up a bit on one side, so it rides over the tops of the eggs a bit and gets stuck. I have to check it periodically to make sure this doesn't happen. For $29.99, I probably wouldn't buy a turner again.
I also understand you can just put it into your dishwasher to clean, which is a huge improvement over trying to clean a styrofoam incubator. Also don't have to worry about germs hiding in the pores like styrofoam.
All in all, I like this incubator so far. I haven't run a complete hatch of eggs through it, as I've been moving them into the Little Giant at hatch time, so I can keep the turner going for the next batch of eggs. I would recommend this incubator as a much better table top incubator.
I have the Brower Tophatch 110. I really like it, except for a couple of things -
I just completed my very first hatch with a hatch rate of 13 chicks to 19 eggs.... What's that? About 65%? Not too great. But, it was my first hatch, and I sure learned a lot.
I love the see-thru top.
I do not like the fact that when the chicks hatch, they trip over the pie-shaped dividers in the incubator. One of the chicks had its head stuck under the rack too... had to rescue him.
Another thing, I had trouble stabilizing the temperature. I have no idea why. Incubator was initially set up in pantry - no draft, no sunlight, etc., can't figure out what happened, but one day it suddenly spiked in temperature. All I can figure is that perhaps there was a power surge.
The Brower also allows for handturning of the eggs, which is great, and they recommend turning at least 5 times a day. However, upon reading some books, after the hatch, I see where it is suggested that the eggs be turned hourly! I was amazed. I'm going to purchase the auto turner this time. For an additional $28.00 I figure it can't hurt.
Just started using the turner. It turns eggs 6 1/2 times each 24 hours.
My ADDITIONAL Comments
I wrote the above when the unit I had was new, and I was still impressed (grin). I am no longer impressed, and as a matter of fact, am ready to throw the dang things in the garbage. Yes, that was "things" plural, because I was so excited at first with the results of the first one I bought, I decided to buy a second with the autoturner. So I have two of them. Both of them suck as far as I'm concerned (sorry about the language) but right now, I'm sitting here with only 7 babies out of 23 eggs set. Not a very good hatch rate -- and the reason is that both of my Browers quit on me. One has a fan that sticks continually, even tho I have cleaned and wd 40'd it. It quit on me the day before they were due to pip -- I got up in the morning, the incubator was not heating, and the temp in the bator was down to 84. I felt the eggs, most of them were cold. I had the other Brower going with some duck eggs in it (8 to be exact), so I transferred all the cold eggs into the other Brower). The temp in that Brower would not stay constant. It was fluctuating anywhere from 3-4 degrees from the 99.5 where I wanted it. In other words, it would go up to 103 and then back down to 95, then up, then down, then up... well, you get the picture. Two Sunday's ago, hubby and I went to a neighboring farm, and purchased 6 guineas. The folks there told me about this lady whose husband had recently passed away, and she was selling off all his bird stuff, including a GQF 1202, and all she wanted was $150.00. Then this past Sunday, we rode out there to visit this lady with our new found friends, and I purchased the incubator. I got it home, oooohed and aaaawed over it. It has the auto turner, the auto humidifier, two temp controls (a back up heat system), 3 egg racks, and a hatching tray on the bottm that has a covered wire top to it. I'm ecstatic over it!!
Fortunately, I had just started the GQF this past Thursday, to test it out, and had saved 6 more duck eggs, and a 7 Ameraucana eggs to run my test. Well, when my second Brower quit, I put ALL eggs into the GQF. The temp in my GQF has not varied even .25 of a degree either way. It is as steady as a rock. It does not have the see-through door, but that doesn't seem to bother me at this point in time.
Those eggs that were supposed to pip and hatch that were in the first Brower are now in the hatching tray of the GQF. Unfortunately, only 8 of them have hatched. 2 pipped, but never made it. I blame the Brower for ANOTHER lousey hatch. I'm getting ready to sell them real cheap, but not before I write to the company, and get the replacement parts. I look at it as a waste of a couple hundred bucks.
Brower Top Hatch
a. Still in the middle of the first group of eggs for incubation. This is my first try with it.
b. Problem: temperature varies a lot.
c. Egg turner works great, not very noticeable, but some eggs do tend to get turned in weird directions so I have to readjust them.
d. "Automatic candler" isn't much. I still use the hand-held candler
e. I like its size. It is easily sitting on my sewing machine cabinet.
f. I like that the temperature control is concealed and difficult to accidently (if at all) change.
g. I like the clear top.