Egg incubators makes it easy to hatch chicken eggs, duck eggs or those of other types of poultry. In turn, this helps to multiply and increase the size of our flocks. The bigger the flock the more chances are to make a profit.
Whether you intend to sell chicks, goslings, ducklings or whatever is to be hatched or you want to raise them for meat or eggs, successful hatching is the genesis to a fruitful poultry farming.
The rate of hatching, effectiveness and efficiency is higher when you have an egg incubator. The tendency in a broody hen or turkey hen may sometimes drop and the hen decides to abandon the eggs.
However, with an egg hatcher you are sure to get the baby chicks without the help of a mother hen.
Some breeds like Hamburg’s and Orloff chickens will not hatch well because they do not get broody easily. If you decide to hatch chicken eggs without an egg incubator, and rely on these breeds, you may end up with only a few or no chicks.
For the egg incubator, it does what you need it to do as long as the eggs are fertile and the conditions are ideal, expect baby chicks. So, let’s talk more about incubating eggs using egg Hatchers.
What is an egg incubator?
An egg incubator is a machine or a device that artificially hatches eggs. The incubator plays the role of a broody hen by providing the eggs with the required conditions that are ideal for hatching.
However, an incubator for eggs will hatch the eggs but will not raise the chicks like the mother hen.
Many people often wonder if an incubator is also a hatcher. Yes a hatcher can be an incubator since facilitation of hatching eggs is done there. Also, a hatcher is someone who facilitates or simply looks after the hatching of eggs.
What are the three types of egg incubators.
- Forced air incubators.
- Convectional incubators.
- Still air incubators.
Forced air egg incubators
These are the commonly used and most popular kind of egg incubators. The reason they are referred to as forced air egg incubators is because they have fans that evenly distributes warm air inside the egg compartment.
Temperature variation can be brought about by how air is distributed inside the egg chambers since warm air rises while cool air settles down.
Due to this concept, there can be a difference in the degree of warmth which can affect the success of hatching.
These kinds of egg incubators allow a bigger and a wide range of eggs to hatch. However, it is important you note that the bigger the size of eggs you place, the fewer number of eggs will fit in because they will occupy a bigger space. For instance turkey eggs are bigger in size compared to chicken eggs.
Forced air incubators have a hatching temperature of 94 degrees F and 82 to 88 degrees F for egg hatching.
These are special kinds of egg incubators that work by convection. This is where warm air rises from below and is pushed by cool air hence, the warm air settles on the eggs. As we studied in physics and science, hot air is less dense than cold air and it rises.
I can also refer convectional incubators as manual incubators since they lack some modern features like automatic egg turning, temperature control and humidity control.
When using these kinds of incubators, you are required to check the temperature, humidity and turn the eggs regularly.
Making convectional incubators is easy as they require cheap and readily available materials. You can learn more on how to make these kinds of egg incubators by watching videos on you tube or learn more by visiting articles about how to make DIY egg incubators.
Still air egg incubators
These are the kind of egg incubators that do not allow an even balance of warm and cool air in and out of the egg compartment. Still air incubators are very tricky to use and mistakes can easily occur as there is no balance.
Their doors require to be opened thrice a day to allow fresh air to get in. They require to be set with precision due to anomalies.
103 degrees F is the ideal hatching temperature for the still air incubators. Ensure that you set your incubator at a level ground and away from direct sunlight.
If you operate your incubator in a dump room there is no need to boost moisture levels. However, check the moisture level three times a day if your still air incubator is placed in a dry place to prevent dehydration of the embryos. (Source).
Commercial egg incubators
These are kinds of egg incubators that have a high capacity for holding eggs. They are capable of holding over 1000 chicken eggs at a time and are suitable for commercial or large scale hatching. Cabinet incubators with eggs have high performance levels.
These kinds of incubators are not easy to upgrade. However, for some models can be easily upgraded by adding more shelves in them in order to hold a large number of eggs.
What is the best type of incubator for eggs?
The best type of egg incubator according to me is one that can hatch fertile eggs at the rate of 99.9% if not 100%.
However, there are those factors I consider first before labeling an incubator best. These factors are the rate of performance and how the incubator is operated.
Best Products for Egg Incubators
There are different types of incubators for eggs. However, I have prepared a list of some of the best that I have used.
I have also scoured through the internet to get the best information from people who have used them and found out that we share a similar experience.
KEBONNIXS 12 Egg Incubator with Humidity Display
Worry no more about opening the door to turn the eggs. This device will automatically turn the eggs after a few minutes.
Egg turning will ensure uniform warmth and comfortable embryos thus increase the hatch rate.
It has a stable temperature regulation system. This incubator for eggs has an in built fan that allows uniform air circulation hence equal amount of warmth is generated and dispatched.
You do not need to dig deeper in your pocket and buy an additional hygrometer. It has in inbuilt moisture control system that will automatically detect any changes in moisture level.
Three days prior to hatching, it will stop turning the eggs to give them enough room for hatching. Additionally, it will ensure the embryos have no stress and can break their way out of the shells with much ease.
Do not worry about temperature loss when opening to add water. It has an external water top up that allows you to add water without opening the lid.
Farm Innovators Model 2200 Circulated Air Incubator
This incubator for eggs is large in size and can accommodate up to 4 dozens of eggs at a time. Such a device will allow you to hatch a large clutch compared to smaller ones.
It has an inbuilt fan that ensures uniform air circulation. All the eggs get the right amount of warmth thus, improving the hatch rate.
There is an inbuilt hygrometer and a thermometer that measures the temperature and relative humidity. This will keep you informed on the temperature and humidity levels as required.
It has two large windows made of glass that gives you an excellent view of the eggs to monitor the progress.
It has a red LED light that will turn on when the device is on use. The circulatory is solid and provides a long lasting and reliable temperature setting.
Brinsea Products USAG47C Ovation 56 EX Fully Automatic
This incubator for eggs is fully automatic with an inbuilt egg turning, temperature and humidity control systems. It is very digital and easy to use requiring very little human intervention.
It has an integrated humidity pump. This will help prevent eggs from drying and cracking thus, improving the rate of hatching.
These egg incubators have a calibrated temperature control system. In addition to this, their egg turning is programed after every few minutes.
It has a capacity of 56 chicken eggs. However, this incubator allows different sizes of eggs thus, making it a multi-purpose for hatching turkey, geese and duck eggs.
This incubator has been built using an ABS high quality plastic material that makes it durable and very easy to clean.
Manna Pro Harris Farms Nurture Right Incubator
This egg incubator has a 22 egg capacity. However, it can hold 12-18 duck eggs depending on the size. This is a good device for small scale farmers who want to hatch a few eggs at a time.
It has a 360 degrees visibility view of the interior. This allows you to monitor the eggs during the entire incubation period and when hatching.
These incubators for eggs have an induced air flow. They have optimum uniform warmth and automatic egg turning that stops three days before hatching simulating a mother hen.
It is made up of a high quality plastic material that is easy to clean.
Magicfly Digital Fully Automatic Egg Incubator 9-12 Eggs
This type of egg incubator is good for small scale purposes. It can fit 9-12 eggs depending on their size and will hatch them perfectly well.
You do not have to turn the eggs manually. It has an inbuilt egg turner that tilts the eggs after every few minutes to ensure that warmth is uniformly spread.
They are able to control and regulate the temperature automatically. This ensures that the eggs are safe and the embryos are protected from high heat.
It is accurate, easy to use and durable. This egg incubator is made of a high quality plastic material that is very easy to clean.
Factors to consider when buying egg incubators
There are some determining reasons that make a buyer settle on a particular product. Also, there are some reasons that make a product good, better or best than others.
Here are the factors you may have to consider before purchasing an egg incubator.
This is one of the most basic factors you are probably going to consider. You don’t have to strain thinking of what you cannot afford. Incubators vary in prices and choose one that is affordable within your budget.
There are so many brands of incubators some that are of good quality while others will break down within a short period of time.
As the saying goes, cheap is expensive. Cheap products are of a low quality and they won’t last long.
Consider the period of time you intend your egg incubator to serve you. If you intend to have your device serve you for long period choose a quality one and you will not get disappointed.
First do a background search on whether the product is manufactured by a reputable company. This will be of great help if you want to settle on something good.
This is another considerable aspect when buying an egg incubator. An incubator with automatic temperature and humidity control is the best option. This saves you time used to check humidity levels and optimum temperature.
Consider a device that has automatic egg turners as you will not have to turn the eggs manually. A fan in your incubator will ensure even distribution of warmth in the egg compartment.
Some have an alarm system that sounds when any anomalies occur. There are those kinds that have automatic LED displays that make it easier for you to know what is going on making it easy to monitor the progress.
This factor will determine the number of eggs to be hatched. Commercial hatcheries and large scale poultry farmers will require large capacity incubators that will hatch many eggs at a time. For the small scale farmers, a small incubator is ideal as they hatch fewer eggs at a time.
Hatch failures and incubation problems
Wondering why your eggs never hatched or why they hatched fewer than you expected is a puzzle many don’t understand. The reason you incubate those eggs is to hatch them.
The kind of eggs, where you got them from, how they were stored and even handled are some of the factors that can lead to hatch failures.
Down here, I am going to break down some of the common problems that lead to hatch failures. Some are personal mistakes that are avoidable; some are mechanical issues with our incubators and also hereditary factors.
The source of your eggs can determine the hatching percentage. Some people will source their eggs in the market and put them in the incubator and expect to hatch.
The question is, do you know whether they are fertile or not? How long they were stored and how they were handled from the time they were laid until the day you bought them?
Fertile eggs that are sourced from sources well known to you or those laid by poultry in your farm are the best. If you get them from commercial farmers, ensure you know the history of the farm and don’t forget their integrity too.
The breeder stock from which you get your incubating eggs is also an important aspect. A healthy flock will lay healthy eggs that are of high quality and they will not let you down as they will hatch. Don’t forget the ratio of cocks to hens and consider their respective medical history.
Eggs of good quality have a smooth shell that lacks bumps, they are of a good size and are fertile. Small eggs will results to small chicks.
These small young ones will grow into small sized birds that will not fetch good prices in the market or will yield poor quality products.
Keenly look at the eggs as there are some that are double yorked. Double yorked eggs hatch if they are fertile but these hatched twins never survive.
Discard them or use them for other purposes like baking or for breakfast. Additionally, eggs laid by a flock that is under medication are not suitable for hatching.
Some medication that is used may get in the poultry reproductive system and get in the eggs as a residue.
This may lead to hatching of chicks with malformations or with other kinds of related illnesses. However, such eggs may never hatch at all.
Choose clean eggs as cleanliness is another aspect of quality. Dirty eggs will contaminate your incubator and they might also affect others.
Dirt and chicken poop on your eggs may block the airspaces on the eggs making exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide impossible leading to zero hatches.
Mechanical issues of egg incubators
Is your incubator functioning properly? Maybe the reason why there were low hatch rates is because there is a mechanical issue.
Perhaps the reason why you never achieved a 100% hatch rate is because there was a leak that allowed cold air in your incubator.
Check if the incubator ventilations are blocked as more hot air may be trapped inside killing the embryos.
A good incubator will allow a balance of air movement as this will make the temperatures remain at optimum levels.
If you have an automatic egg incubator check if the egg turner is properly working. Check if the fan is in good condition especially to those using forced air incubators as this will ensure uniform warmth distribution.
For those who have access to homemade incubators, how often do you turn your eggs? Do you check the temperature often to ensure that it remains at optimum levels?
Don’t forget to add water in your water bowl to keep moisture at optimum levels and prevent dehydrating the eggs as this can lead to hatch failures.
Fertile eggs will definitely hatch if they are given the right conditions. However, this is only possible when you have a good incubator for eggs.
Make sure you maintain your egg hatcher well if you want it to do an amazing job for you. Always be on the look out when there is a power blackout so that you can power on a backup generator to keep the egg incubator working.
Do not rely so much on store bought eggs. Maybe they are available for sale because after egg candling they were found not to be fertile. Additionally, you may never know how long they have been stored and the history of the hens that laid them.