Brinsea Mini Advance Incubator Review
With spring right around the corner, the hatching season will be in full swing before we know it. For those of us who raise backyard poultry flocks and ornamental fowl, this is an exciting and often busy time of the year. Our birds begin their yearly courtship and soon thereafter dutiful hens begin laying eggs throughout the spring and, depending on breed, even into the summer months. For many of us, this means that our egg incubators will soon be full of various hatching eggs. As such, I thought it would be appropriate time to review the Mini Advance, one of the latest small personal incubators available from Brinsea – the leading manufacturer of incubators, brooders, and other avian products. For seasoned fowl breeders and poultry hobbyists alike, the name Brinsea has become synonymous with quality and advanced hatching technology. And like all Brinsea products, the Mini Advance lives up to this well-deserved reputation. For the purpose of this review, I will be setting seven bantam duck eggs in a brand-new Mini Advance incubator acquired directly from Brinsea.com. Fortunately for this reviewer, the Brinsea Mini Advance arrives pre-assembled from the factory and is ready-to-go right out of the box.
Upon initial inspection of the Brinsea Mini Advance, the first thing one notices is the incubator’s quality construction. The incubator’s see-through dome top, which provides superior egg viewing during incubation and hatch, is made of quality acrylic; while the base and egg turning tray are made of a durable high-gloss plastic. The digital display housing, which sits atop the see-through dome, is likewise constructed of quality plastic. In terms of durability, these materials offer a major advantage over cheaper styrofoam incubators such as the Little Giant incubator by Miller Manufacturing and the Hova-Bator by GQF. Moreover, the use of high-grade plastic provides a better hatching environment and makes post-hatch cleanup easier in contrast to styrofoam incubators, which can often harbor bacteria. In its overall appearance and design, the Mini Advance is somewhat reminiscent of the well-known Marsh Turn-X incubator by Lyon Electric. However, the Brinsea Mini Advance is more modern in appearance and features Brinsea’s signature yellow and black color scheme. More importantly, the Mini Advance offers similar features as the Marsh Turn-X but at just one-third the cost of that incubator. And unlike the Marsh Turn-X, the Mini Advance features digital programming of the most common incubation settings. In short, the Mini Advance gives the immediate impression of being a well-made and sophisticated little incubator.
At eight inches in diameter, the Mini Advance is the smallest incubator in the Brinsea lineup and hence the “mini” designation. If fact, the Brinsea Mini Advance is one of the smallest incubators currently on the market. Because of its small footprint the Mini Advance can be setup nearly anywhere, making it ideal for those with limited space. The Mini Advance is intended for small clutches of eggs; its default egg turning tray accommodates seven regular size eggs. However, by switching the automatic turning feature off and removing the egg turning tray, the Mini Advance can actually accommodate up to ten standard size chicken eggs. For smaller eggs, such as those of quail and pheasant, an optional 12 egg tray can be purchased separately. Again, for the purpose of this review, I’ll be setting seven fertile hatching eggs from our flock of white call ducks. As a size reference, call duck eggs are only slightly larger than the average bantam chicken egg. And as you can see in the photo below, the call duck eggs fit nicely in the standard egg turning tray.
One of the most unique features of the Mini Advance is the incubator’s digital programming menu, which allows for digital programming of important incubation settings including temperature, incubation period, and egg turning frequency. Such an advanced feature is usually only found in more expensive incubators. Preparing the Mini Advance for egg incubation is made easy by this sophisticated, yet straight forward, digital menu. In fact, I had the Mini Advance up and running within a matter of minutes. With a few quick adjustments to the digital menu, the Mini Advance was ready to incubate my seven call duck eggs. In additional to digital programming the Mini Advance also features fan-assisted air circulation and automatic egg turning, both of which are necessary for optimum incubation conditions. The Mini Advance has two water reservoirs that are used to achieve the correct humidity during incubation. By filling the first reservoir, relative humidity inside the incubator remained around 50 percent. However, by filling the second reservoir, humidity increases to about 65 percent which is the ideal humidity during hatch. Of course, this will vary according the environment in which the incubator is set up. Nonetheless, the incubator’s water reservoirs are easy to access and manual humidity control is relatively easy to maintain in such a small incubator. For those requiring automatic humidity control, Brinsea offers the Mini Advance EX which includes an external water reservoir and digital humidity control.
The Mini Advance arrives factory set to the optimum incubation temperature of 99.5 degrees. Within only a few minutes of setting my call duck eggs in the incubator, the Mini Advance had reached this temperature. More importantly, the Mini Advance has steadily held the temperature between 99.5 to 99.6 degrees throughout the duration of the incubation period with no adjustments made on my part. Should the temperature ever exceed the recommended range for safe egg incubation, the Mini Advance will sound an alarm. This important feature is not usually found in other small tabletop incubators. Using the digital menu, I was able to program the incubator to automatically turn the eggs every hour. A chime sounds each time the eggs are turned; however, the motor that rotates the egg turning tray remains relatively quite when in use. With the exception of refilling the water reservoirs occasionally during incubation, the Mini Advance is truly a set-n-go type incubator that requires very little user oversight during incubation.
In short, the Mini Advance is a quality small incubator that achieves and maintains the correct incubation conditions for hatching a variety of fowl eggs using technology usually only seen in more expensive models. At the time of this blog post, all seven call duck eggs were developing. And by the following week, all seven call ducklings had successfully hatched. In other words, I achieved a 100% hatch rate using the Brinsea Mini Advance for this particular hatch. You can visit my call duck egg incubation page to follow the incubation and hatch of these eggs. For those of us who raise and breed call ducks, it’s well known that call duck eggs are notoriously difficult to incubate and hatch. Nonetheless, the Brinsea Mini Advance did an excellent job of incubating eggs that usually require close supervision and the use of more expensive equipment. By incorporating automatic egg turning, fan-assisted air circulation, and digital programming into the Mini Advance, Brinsea has brought advanced incubation technology to the poultry hobbyist at a very reasonable price. And while the Mini Advance’s easy-to-use features are ideal for the novice, its level of sophistication is equally suited to the more discerning fowl breeder who regularly needs to incubate a small number of difficult-to-hatch eggs.
Brinsea’s mini incubators are available in three versions: the Mini Eco, the Mini Advance, and the Mini Advance EX. The Mini Eco is the entry level model, whereas the Mini Advance EX represents the most feature-rich model with automatic humidity control. The Mini Advance is the mid-line model combing both low cost and advanced incubation technology. In addition to the Mini Advance, Brinsea also manufactures the popular HatchMaker and Octagon series incubators. To purchase any incubator manufactured by Brinsea including the Mini Advance or to learn more about Brinsea’s quality incubators, simply visit the Brinsea web site. If you’ve used the Brinsea Mini Advance with success and would like to share your experience with others, please feel free to leave a comment below. Otherwise, please check out our blog regularly for future product reviews and articles of interest to the avian breeder and poultry hobbyist.
Brinsea Mini Advance Incubator: Watch Your Eggs Hatch, Every Time!