Whether you are running a poultry farm or want to demonstrate how eggs are incubated and hatched, or simply hatching a few eggs that your broody hen is not up to doing, you can always rely on egg incubators to do the job for you.
What are egg incubators? The use of egg incubators is an artificial way of incubating poultry eggs. In essence, these incubators make the eggs warm enough for the fetus to grow and eventually hatch even without the parent. There are several reasons why many resort to using incubators, among which are that they are inexpensive and practical to use: inexpensive because there are incubators that can easily be made at home or can be bought for reasonable prices, and practical (especially for large-scale egg hatching facilities) because it is by far safer and can save you time and energy.
To cite, here are just some of the egg incubators that will make the incubation easier and safer:
1. Forced Air Incubator
The forced air incubator is one of the most common and widely-used egg incubators. It makes use of a fan to spread the warm temperature all over the egg chamber. This consequently allows a greater number and at the same time wider size range of eggs to be incubated at the same time, as the heat is distributed evenly inside the incubator.
The usual temperature for forced air incubator is between 99-100oF and the humidity (which can be measured using a wet-bulb thermometer) between 82-88oF for setting and 94oF for hatching.
2. Convection Type
Another type of egg incubator makes use of convection. The convection type relies on ventilation holes found at the top, side and bottom of the incubator. With these holes, warm air rises and pulls in from below cool air, providing an even warming area for the eggs. However, convection type of incubators is prone to air drying, and so it is essential to carefully monitor the humidity.
On the other hand, one good thing about the convection type of egg incubator is that it is can easily be made using recycled materials at home:
- For the incubator’s housing, a box (unused cooler, cardboard, etc.) that is sturdy enough and has a cover will do. In order to help reflect the heat within the box, an aluminum foil can be used as a cover lining. For the water tray, disposable aluminum tins (like those for pies and cakes) can be used.
- Light sockets (about 25 watts or less) can be used as a source of heat.
- Ventilation holes about 1/2 inch each can easily be drilled around the corners of the box to provide the airflow.
3. Still Air Incubator
Contrary to the convection type, still air type of egg incubators has no air holes. Still air incubators are harder and trickier to use, and it requires precision to set this kind of incubator. The radiant heat warms up the air, and since the air will not be able to circulate, it is very crucial to identify the correct placement of the eggs. In addition, the setting of still air incubators have to be exact (103oF), otherwise, temperature and humidity anomalies might occur inside. Still air egg incubators need to be opened at least 4 times a day in order for fresh air to come in.
These 3 common types of egg incubators will more or less do the trick of artificially incubating your eggs. And in order to ensure a successful hatching, here are some factors that need to be taken into consideration:
- Turning the egg thrice a day (at the very least) to move the embryo away from the wastes as well as to move it towards fresh food inside the egg. If you are using forced air egg incubator, experts recommend external turning devices and to refrain from turning 3 days before the eggs hatch.
- Checking the temperature and make sure that the setting is correct (settings vary according to the type of incubator you are using).
- Monitoring the humidity in order to provide sufficient moisture to the egg (again, settings vary according to the ventilation and air flow process of the incubator being used).
With these factors cautiously and carefully taken into consideration, you will definitely be assured of a successful incubation and hatching, regardless of which of the common types of egg incubators you want to use.