Cheap Equipment Warning

In early October 2017, a horrible thing happened in outer Melbourne that has brought to light (again) the dangers of cheap poultry equipment being bought in Australia for hatching and brooding chickens. It is only 4 weeks into Spring and I have heard of one cheap Chinese imported incubator exploding inside a laundry (luckily no-one was hurt in that instance).

The second was a fire in a backyard coop using a ceramic-type heat bulb that was being used to keep a sick rooster warm. The best of intentions and the owner was using the equipment in the manner it was sold for, so there was no owner/user error involved.

Despite this, a fire broke out and spread quickly through the wooden coop. As you can see from the pics, a few more minutes and it could have spread along the fence to the main house. Luckily the neighbours called the Fire Brigade and the owners came home from a rare night out around the same time.
Fifteen beloved chickens perished, leaving behind three traumatised feathered survivors (one with minor burns) and two very traumatised Poultry Lovers.
This has lead to quite a few poultry owners revisiting the wisdom of their money-saving decisions to go with cheaper imported equipment and the possible ramifications of this…

I personally suspect it happens more often than we know, with only a fraction of poultry keepers active on Facebook to tell their stories and raise awareness.

Your house and property are the biggest financial investment you will make. Your family is the biggest emotional investment… EVER. It is not worth losing one or both, to save a few dollars on a incubator or brooder.
We use and sell Brinsea equipment because we stand beside their products and their safety. This was brought to light three years ago when our only ceramic brooder setup burst into flames when my Husband was in the garage and he was able to put it out. We shudder to think what could have happened if he wasn’t in the room. It would have been bad.

We have also found this study done in England by the North Somerset Trading Standards (their version of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Unsafe Imported Incubators. Links to the course investigation are in the article attached.
Advice from that investigation advise that you should be concerned if, when looking for an incubator –

     *  Price.  A product that is selling significantly below the market average should set alarm bells ringing. Everyone loves a bargain, but no-one wants their fingers burnt -literally.

     *  Don’t assume a CE mark on the product means it is safe. A CE mark can be applied to an unsafe product by a manufacturer as it is the importer into the EU that is responsible for electrical safety – although some may not be aware of this.

     * Look for a manufacturer’s address on the product or instructions. Alarm bells ring for Trading Standards when a manufacturer or importer can’t be traced from its product.

     * If the product is unbranded or is a brand that you don’t recognise then do an internet search for the manufacturer. If there is no English language website for the manufacturer with full contact information be suspicious. 

     *  Product instructions should include warning of electrical safety hazards and recycling symbols – if these are absent, the language is imprecise and badly translated then the product doesn’t comply with EU regulations and may be dangerous.

     *  Is the distributor/seller contactable by phone and do they give a full trading address? What is their returns policy? Reputable distributors will have this information readily available, if not, be suspicious.

From my family to yours, feathered and Human, please don’t buy imported equipment that doesn’t meet Australian Standards. 

Please don’t let it happen to you…
Christine & Arthur
Suburban Chooks