Although the instructions on this page relate to Brinsea's small Mini Advance incubator, the digital setup on all their incubators is the same. The only variation is humidity levels.
This article covers general points about how to keep fertile eggs in the best possible condition for hatch, before looking specifically at the control panel on the Brinsea.
This is particularly important if you have eggs delivered by post or if they've been jolted on a journey. They need time to settle before you begin incubation.
Allow at least 12 and preferably 24 hours for them to 'rest' before they go into the incubator, and make sure they're stored in such a way as to maximise the likelihood of a successful hatch.
This page about storing fertile eggs gives you all the detail you'll need.
Once eggs begin incubation they start to become more porous. Added to that, the warm, moist air inside an incubator makes an ideal breeding ground for bacteria.
Bacteria can kill an embryo. So it's really very important to make sure your incubator is spotlessly clean - even if it's new.
If you've used it before, there will be residual dirt post-hatch, including fluff around the fan. First, wash all the static parts (obviously not the electrical circuits!) with dish washing soap and warm water. Finish the rest with a clean, dry cloth.
Hopefully you will have done this immediately after you hatched your last set of eggs. Even so, do it again.
Next, sanitise it and allow it to air dry. If you have nothing else available, use a very weak solution of bleach - about one teaspoon to one litre (one quart) of water.
Spray with a mister, and allow to air dry.
This is important for every incubator, whether it's a still or "forced" air machine. Otherwise, there's likely to be cold spots in the incubator which will mean the eggs will develop erratically - particularly in still air machines such as most of the home made incubator setups.
Make sure you turn on the incubator several hours before you want to set your eggs.
This allows the air inside the incubator a chance to reach the correct levels of warmth and humidity before the eggs are placed inside.
It's particularly important if you're incubating during the colder, winter months when the cooler temperature in the room will mean it takes the incubator longer to reach the right temperature.
Speaking of which...
Brinsea incubators have a digital display which will tell you what the temperature in the incubator is and how many days remain to hatch. The more advanced models also read and adjust the humidity levels.
Reading the instructions for setup can make it sound complicated, but it's actually very straightforward. This short video shows you how I do it.
Why not settle down with a nice cup of something and watch how it's done!
Again, cleanliness is ultra-important. Make sure, before you handle your eggs, that you have washed your hands thoroughly.
Once you're sure the temperature inside the incubator has stabilised, it's time to set the eggs.
If you're incubating different breeds, mark them with a pencil either by number or by name. Take each egg and carefully place it in the incubator.
If your incubator lies the eggs flat, place the rounded end facing the outside of the incubator. If it stands the eggs, make sure the pointed end is facing downwards (towards the floor). This positioning is critical to a successful hatch.
Now close the lid - and wait. Your eggs are 21 days away from becoming chicks.