Breeder Chronicles: Incubator

The incubator is set up and ready to go for the new season and I should have eggs from my Super Hypo female Shiny sometime in the next two weeks. I’m still working on getting either a Mack RAPTOR or Nova male but I’m sure I can find one before the breeding season is over so I won’t stress about it. It needs to warm up a bit in New York before shipping here isn’t a liability anyway.


Setting Up the Incubator

In the meantime, since I just set mine up for the season, here is some advice on getting your incubator ready for eggs. Make sure you get it set up at least a couple of weeks in advance and keep it running. There is always a chance that the female will lay early and being prepared is important. You’ll want to work out any temperature kinks well before there are eggs inside the incubator.

Step one is making sure that it still works. Get it situated where it will be stored for the next couple of months. Pick a place that doesn’t have large temperature swings and allows for easy access to all areas inside. I remember last year I put the incubator in the corner by my rack and had to get down on my knees to see clearly inside. It was very inconvenient. You should also check all the power cords and seals to make sure they are all in working order.

Next get the temperature dialed in. Set a separate thermometer or the probe inside and put the incubator either on the temperature setting you need or the one that worked the previous year. Let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour and check on the temperature again. Raise or lower it depending on the reading. Repeat the above process till you get the desired temperature. I can’t stress these steps enough: the temperature setting on the incubator will not always result in the temperature you are looking for. That’s why it is important to know the actual temperature regardless of the incubator setting.

Extra Steps

You could stop here but there are some extra steps that I take. The first is using a dual probe thermometer. I place one probe at the bottom and one at the top to see if there is a big difference in temperature. Since hot air rises there can be a significant difference in the temperature even with the probes only a foot or two apart. You can also use this temperature gradient to your advantage using the bottom to incubate for female and the top for male or mixed. You can also use a battery powered fan to distribute the air more evenly to decrease the gradient.

The second extra step I take is to use the min/max setting of the thermometer. I’ll keep the incubator setup for a day or two and check back to see the highest and lowest temperatures it hit. There shouldn’t be a significant fluctuation if you are using a good thermostat or have a higher end incubator but it is possible that the ambient temperature around the incubator will affect the temperature inside. If these readings are acceptable for the results your are looking for you are good to go.

Taking the time to setup your incubator well in advance will make a big difference in having not only a more successful hatch rate but a much less stressful season as well. Keep all your G.E.O.s and SIMs, your incubation medium and a scale handy so that when you find eggs in the box you can quickly and easily get them set up and in the incubator.

Dubia Mystery Solved

Now that my incubator is set up I thought I’d give you an update on the mystery of the escaped roaches. I had found three male Dubias outside of their tote and thought I had figured out their escape route. I can’t confirm it but I haven’t found any others so I guess the problem has been solved. The colony is also reproducing at a rate that will allow me to start feeding off of it soon. I gave some of my geckos a taste test over the weekend and it went well. Only one refused to eat at least one Dubia and others ate three of four.

Please keep following Long Island Geckos on both the site and Facebook page. I have gotten a lot of helpful comments and it is much appreciated. What kind of incubators do you guys use? Do you have any tips I didn’t mention on setting up an incubator? Please leave them in the comments below.

What do you think?

Written by Justin Hansen

Justin Hansen's first reptile, an African Fat Tailed Gecko, sparked an interest that ended up consuming a dorm room in New York City and almost getting him expelled. Now that he has the space he is renewing his passion for breeding geckos. Currently focusing on Leopard Geckos he hopes to be able to branch out to other gecko species. He will be found at once he has a spare moment to finish the site.

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