What is an egg incubator?
In Short, an egg incubator artificially simulates the role that a broody hen does in nature.
An incubator is a mechanical device which regulates the temperature and humidity at perfect levels therefore creating the ideal conditions which allows the chick to develop inside the fertilised egg with optimal hatch rates.
Incubators are much more successful at hatching than hens and have been driving force behind the huge expansion in the poultry industry in the last hundred years. For example, a hen can only hatch 20 – 30 eggs per year however, by using an incubator that same hen can produce almost 300 chicks per year.
How it works;
Incubators are built to include a motor and a fan which work at keeping the temperature at the required levels which vary from species to species. As the temperature inside the incubator must be kept constant it is best to keep the incubator in a room where there are little to no fluctuations in temperature.
The eggs are placed on a tray inside the incubator and need to be turned at least 3 times a day.
Water needs to be added to the incubator each day to maintain the humidity within the incubator. The humidity increase foe the last few days of incubation. There is usually a hole in the base of the incubator which allows for the water to be filled externally to reduce the need to open the lid while eggs are in the incubator. Therefore, reducing any major fluctuations in temperature.
There are manual and Automatic egg incubators available. As the eggs have to be turned multiple times per day the model of incubator will determine whether the eggs must be turned manually by you or automatically by the incubator itself.
Manual Incubators VS Automatic Incubators
One of the major advantages of an automatic egg incubator is that it turns the eggs for you, so you don’t have to. The eggs sit in compartments on a specially designed tray. The tray is turned automatically by a motor which causes the eggs to rotate.
If you want to be more involved in the incubation process, then a manual egg incubator is for you because with a manual egg incubator, you are required to turn the eggs at least three times a day by hand. It is best that you mark one side of the eggs so that you can track when they were last turned. It is important that eggs are turned regularly as the chick can stick to the inside of the shell.