Poultry 101: Incubators and Incubation Management

Raising backyard chickens can be an exciting way to discover the benefits of being self-sufficient. It also gives new meaning to the creation of life. Hatching chicken eggs is not as simple as watching an egg crack open to reveal a cute little bundle of fuzz. There is much work that goes into providing the right environment to aid in the egg’s development and choosing the right chicken incubators plays a major role.

Chicken Incubators

The right types of chicken incubators have to be able to provide accurate temperature and humidity at a steady pace. Understanding the different features of a system can help in knowing what type of unit to purchase or build. Yes, that’s right you can also easily learn how to make an incubator for your own homemade incubator.

Temperature Accuracy

There are two different types of incubators to choose from, still air and fan forced. A fan forced unit circulates the air around so that the temperature is constant anywhere within the unit but a still air incubator goes by the temperature directly above the eggs.

But that’s not simply enough to know that your chicken incubators are set to a particular temperature. Thermometers are the only method of obtaining an accurate reading and it is critical that the reading is correct. Even the most inexpensive models come with built-in thermostats for keeping the interior warm but it is up to you to know the exact temperature of your chicken incubators. Keep a few thermometers on hand and perhaps take readings with two different ones. It’s better to be safe than sorry when hatching chicken eggs.

What Size Should a Chicken Egg Incubator Be?

Incubator for Chicken EggsChicken incubators come in many different sizes, from holding 3 eggs to hundreds of eggs at one time. Your personal operation should dictate what type of unit to purchase or build. For the beginner, a small unit or a homemade incubator can get you started with all the necessary features. Many of the larger scientific units have fancy additions such as passive heat, stainless steel chambers and sensors that control the rotation and regulate the temperature and humidity. These units can cost as much as $3500.

The average backyard chicken raiser should become familiar with the different settings and changes in seasonal humidity before embarking on a large-scale system. After all, learning is half the fun! Having a small plastic unit with a window for viewing is a good way to watch your project in process. These units will run a little higher than totally enclosed plastic models but the ability to watch is priceless.

Incubating chicken eggs is a learning process that can be made much easier with the right incubator. Whether you choose to spend a little or a lot on your chicken incubator, the key to success is monitoring and taking notes for records. Only by comparing the differences in temperature and humidity settings with each new batch, will you be able to determine what best works for you. Read a few of the chicken hatching sites to get a better idea of what type of success incubator users are having with hatching chicken eggs and be sure to check out the manufacturer’s warranty or take the time and enjoyment to learn how to make an incubator so you can customize it to your own liking.

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