How to Choose the Right Egg Incubator

Inside: Choosing the right egg incubator is the first step in incubating eggs. Even before picking out the best eggs to incubate.

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.

Choosing the Right Egg Incubator

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How to Choose the Right Egg Incubator

When we incubated eggs for 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 used the money from selling those quail eggs to buy my small incubator.

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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.

incubator with eggs in it

How Much Can You See?

I did not think about this when we bought our small incubator. A tiny little window was not enough to look through when you (and your kids) are trying to watch the egg hatch.

It's critical not to raise the incubator's lid in the last days of incubation and during the hatch, so it's important to be able to see clearly without disturbing it. You want to make sure you know when your chicks are hatching.

Choosing the right egg incubator - Incubator pictures

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 eggshells 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?

eggs bunched up at end of egg turner

Egg Turning

Do you have the time to turn the eggs every day for 18 days, 3-5 times a day? It is important to turn the eggs 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, and 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.

Some incubators come with egg turners and others you need to buy that separately if that is something you want.

Choosing the Right Egg Incubator

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, from a basic, homemade incubator to, at the other, a large cabinet machine that will hold anything up to 580 eggs and is completely automated. The cost will vary from a few dollars to upwards of $2,000.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    What to look for when buying an incubator? Purchase an incubator with the most accurate incubator controls to keep the temperature and humidity fluctuations to a minimum. Look at reviews, and talk to others who hatch eggs for recommendations.

    What size incubator do I need? Look a how many eggs you expect to set, and choose a larger machine accordingly. A small tabletop incubator handles 10 to 14 eggs, while tray and standard incubators hold more eggs.

    How long do you have to run an incubator before putting eggs in? Your incubator should be set up and running at least 24 hours before setting your hatching eggs inside.

    Want More?

    How To on Raising Healthy Quail

    5 Easy Steps to Incubator Lockdown

    Getting Started with Incubating Eggs

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