Choosing the right egg incubator is the first step in incubating eggs. Even before picking out the best eggs to incubate. You want to make sure you get the right incubator for your lifestyle, your space, and your needs/wants.
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When we incubated eggs the first time, I borrowed an incubator. I wanted to test the waters if you would before jumping in and buying an incubator, plus I had no idea what to look for when buying one.
I actually used the money I got from selling those quail eggs to buy my own small incubator.
What to Think About When Picking An Incubator
Here are some things to think about when you are going to buy your incubator:
The Size of the Incubator
When you think of the size of the incubator that you are buying don’t just think about how many eggs it is going to hold, but also think of the footprint the incubator will be taking up. Where you will be keeping it.
I recommend starting small and going from there.
How Much Can You See?
I did not think about this when we bought our incubator. A tiny little window was not enough to look through when you (and your kids) are trying to watch egg hatch.
It’s critical not to raise the lid of the incubator in the last days of incubation and during the hatch, so it’s important to be able to see clearly without disturbing. You want to make sure you know when your chicks are hatching.
How Easy is it to Clean?
You need to be able to give your incubator a good cleaning in between hatches. Bacteria have a nasty habit of entering through porous egg shells and that can result in the death of the chick embryos.
Measuring Temperature and Humidity
Measuring temperature and keeping humidity is important during incubation. Once you have your temperature set you are often good to go, humidity changes as you open and close the incubator and throughout the 21 days of incubation.
How do you want to measure them? Do you want to use a separate thermometer and hygrometer which you keep an eye on yourself? Or do you want it to be done digitally so you set it and forget it?
Do you have the time to turn the eggs everyday for 18 days, 3-5 times a day? It is important to turn the eggs at a minimum of three times a day, but up to five times.
I turn our eggs – first thing in the morning, noon, early evening, and then again before I go to bed. Each egg is marked with an X on one side, an O on the other. All Xs are up, when it is time to turn them, I turn them all to O up, and this is how I keep track of turning all the eggs.
What are you Planning to Hatch?
I almost forgot to add this. What are you planning to hatch in your incubator? Not all incubators are going to come with turner devices that are suitable for all types of eggs. For example, quail eggs are very small.
Choosing the Right Egg Incubator for Hatching Eggs
Think about all your answers now. What type of incubator is best suited for your needs?
The decision about how automated you want your chicken egg incubator to be will depend entirely on your answers to the questions above.
There are many options to pick from basic, home made incubator to, at the other, a large cabinet machine which will hold anything up to 580 eggs and is completely automated. And the cost will vary from a few dollars to upwards of $2,000.