How to Choose Best Chicken Egg Incubator?
Are you interested in raising your own chickens and does not know where to start? Don’t worry because we’ll guide you here on how to begin your new hobby or poultry business. So first, let us talk about how to choose best chicken egg incubator.
Before going out the market to buy chicken egg incubator, follow our guide below to ensure you get the best value for your money.
1 Know you purpose for raising chickens.
The natural way to hatch the chicks is through their mother. But in most cases, the egg does not fully develop and chick dies before it hatches, especially if they are too many. And that’s the reason why you should need an egg incubator. But before you get yourself an incubator, you should know first why you would need one.
Ask yourself the kind of chicken you want to hatch. Because this will play a role in choosing the type of incubator that you want. You might think of the white or brown chicken you would see in TV commercials when we talk about chickens. But there are more chicken breeds you can raise in your backyard. Each breed’s eggs require specific incubating needs so you may want to take note of that.
Also ask if you’re hatching chicken for you to have your own chicken meat supply or it is just a hobby that you want to try. There are benefits of being your own supply of chicken meat and eggs. Aside from saving your budget, you can get organic and Non-GMO eggs. Farm or backyard chicken and eggs are more nutritious and healthy. Putting up a poultry business is also beneficial as chicken is a staple food in almost anywhere so you can be sure return of investment.
2. Determine the how many eggs you want to incubate.
The next thing to consider is the number of eggs you want to hatch. This is because incubators can come in all shapes and sizes, holding up to few eggs to thousands of eggs. You would not want a cabinet size chicken egg incubator if you only have 20 eggs or less.
Or if you are incubating just one egg for a school project, you will only need the most basic incubator. If it’s just for a hobby, you can buy a typical incubator which holds 20 to 25 eggs. Whatever number of eggs you want to hatch; it will definitely have an effect on choosing the best chicken egg incubator.
3. Consider the storage space where you’ll place the incubator.
This factor is connected to number two. The number of eggs you’ll hatch determines the size of your incubator. If it’s just one egg, a small room would suffice. But if we are talking about at least a dozen of eggs, you’ll need a bigger space because remember, the eggs will be chicks and chicks will be chickens. You may want to measure your backyard now for these possibilities.
Where should you put the incubator? The incubator is not like any other machines that you’ll just plug anywhere.
There are environmental factors that you need to consider. The recommended space to setup the egg incubator is in a steady, secure and most importantly has constant (may vary but only few degrees) temperature level.
If the room’s temperature varies largely, the incubator’s temperature will be harder to maintain. If possible, put the incubator in a room with a thermostat and with 24-hour source of heat so it will not be too cold during the night.
Keep the incubator away from windows, radiators or doors which will give too much heat. Keep good ventilation also to manage the humidity. Most importantly, put it on a place not too far from you so you can easily and regularly check the eggs.
4. Decide whether to get a manual, automatic egg or semi-automatic incubator.
If you are new in hatching eggs, you may want to try manual incubators which you can actually make on your own. You’ll need styrofoam box, light bulb socket that plugs into standard extension cord, incandescent light bulb (wattage depends on size of box), scrap wood to make a frame, screen, hardware cloth, or fabric to wrap over the frame, hygrometer, and shallow cup for holding water.
Making the manual incubator is easy but using it is a new level of challenge. You need to maintain 99 to 102 degrees F for the next 21 days. To maintain the temperature, cut small holes in the box’s lid until you get the correct temperature. You can also buy dimmer switch to control the light and water heater thermostat for automatic on and off control of the bulb. Then you’ll need to control also the humidity level of the incubator. It should be about 40-50% in the first 18 days and 60-70% for the last 3 days. If it’s winter season, a wet sponge can help you achieve the right humidity.
If you have the budget and would want an easier egg hatching experience, get yourself an automatic egg incubator. These incubators are easily bought in the market. They usually have temperature and humidity control that you just need to set.
here are household incubators for few eggs, multi-sage incubators where you can incubate eggs at different times and the single stage incubator where all eggs should be placed there and hatched at the same time. These automatic machines have their own settings you can easily moderate for successful hatching.
There are also semi-automatic egg incubators you can buy. You don’t have to build it and also has temperature settings. However, it still lack advanced functions an automatic incubator has which will discuss in the next step.
5. Know how much time you want to give to turn the eggs.
You need to turn the eggs by your hand in a Manual Incubator. You need to individually pick each egg from the incubator, turn it and then return it to the incubator. Turn the eggs at least three times a day.
For Semi-Automatic egg incubators, you still need to turn the eggs by hand but you just need to do it once which saves you more time than the manual incubator. The semi-automatic incubator has an external rod connected to the incubator floor. Push or pull it and it will turn the eggs.
And finally, there’s no sweat in turning eggs using fully Automatic Incubators. Simple set-up the machine and it will do the work for you.
6. Check how much you can see through the incubator.
Hatching eggs need constant monitoring especially if you are using a manual incubator. Egg visibility is important so you can check if the embryo is developing. Avoid lifting the manual incubator’s lid to check the eggs because it will surely affect the temperature. Semi-automatics and full automatic egg incubators give the best visibility.
7. Check if the incubator has countdown to hatch day feature.
With manual incubators, you’ll need to closely watch and mark your calendar. If you lose count, your chicks can be premature or overdue or worst, will not hatch at all. Adjusting the humidity level also depends on the number of days the egg has been incubating. Automatic incubators have countdown features you can setup.
8. Calculate your budget for the egg incubator’s cost.
This is possible your major consideration and again related to your reason why you want to hatch egg. If it’s just for experiment or school project or five eggs, you can just make your own manual egg incubator. It would cost you about $3- $5 only but could be lesser if you recycle.
The price of the egg incubators also depend on its size. There are automatic incubators which cost $20 or more depending on how many eggs it can incubate. And of course, the cabinet-sized egg incubators will cost you thousands of dollars. They are also heavy-duty and ideal for poultry farms.
Top 3 Best Chicken Egg Incubators on the Market (2018)
We searched for the best egg incubator we found online for your guidelines. Remember the factors we discussed above before choosing your own egg incubator. These best incubators are easily found in Amazon and offer their own unique features.
Brinsea Products Mini II Advance Automatic 7 Egg Incubator, One Size
It is a fully-automatic incubator with excellent visibility, fully digital menu driven controls, and programmable automatic egg turning. It also counts down to hatch day with an auto stop so don’t worry for over or premature hatching. This incubator is made out of strong hygienic ABS plastics construction for easy cleaning. It is available at Amazon for $227.50 with $1.22 shipping fee.
This is our best choice for those who are just beginners in hatching eggs. It is a space saver and can be easily monitored. Plus it is fully automatic so you’ll save time also.
IncuView All-In-One Automatic Egg Incubator with built-in Automatic Egg Turner
This comes with Incubator Warehouse Incubator Control Module. It has automatic egg turner (any size egg up to Goose) and can incubate up to 27 chicken eggs. This incubator is made out of durable and sanitary plastic construction with transparent viewing dome for excellent visibility. It has a built-in humidity gauge and automatic temperature control in °F or °C. Get it from Amazon for $184.99 plus $13.13 shipping fee.
The highlight of this incubator is its humidity level monitor because you’ll not need a separate hygrometer to measure it. Plus you’ll need not to worry about sudden drops in temperature and get confused with °F or °C. And most of all, it can handle more eggs so we recommend this if you have intermediate skills and experience in hatching eggs.
Magicfly Digital Mini Fully Automatic Egg Incubator 9-12 Eggs Poultry Hatcher for Chickens Ducks Goose Birds
Its design is simple and is made out of durable healthy PP+ABS material. It is digital fully automatic egg incubator which can hold up to 12 eggs. It has an automatic egg turner feature available for chickens, ducks, fowl and geese,etc. Magicfly incubator has automatic temperature controlling ensure right temperature and humidity is maintained. You can order from Amazon for $65.99 with no shipping fee.
Aside from the free shipping fee, what we love the most with this incubator is its fully automatic temperature and humidity control. Plus it can hatch a number of chicken species’ eggs whether they are small or big.
Investing in an egg incubator is no joke especially if it’s your first time. We hope our How to Choose Best Chicken Egg Incubator guide helped you hatch your first chickens. Best of luck and if you have questions, just leave them below.