Chicken Egg Incubator Reviews & The Most Frequently Asked Hatching Related Questions Answered
Does it make more sense to you, to raise your own chickens from egg to layer. If you're a chicken husband that does then take heart, you're not alone.
However, first getting acquainted with chicken egg incubators can be a little overwhelming and can leave you with quite a few questions...
- How do they work?
- How often must you turn the eggs?
- How long do they take?
- What kind of incubator should I use?
- Should I buy one or make it myself?
To help alleviate any stress when it comes to chicken egg incubators, we've put all the details here
This egg incubator review will help you to answer your questions and make the right decision about egg incubators for your eggs.
What Do Chicken Incubators Do Exactly?
Chicken incubators offer eggs a safe environment in which to hatch fertile eggs.
As long as the eggs are being turned properly and kept in a humid and warm environment most of the eggs should hatch. Incubators are the ideal replacement if there aren't hens at the ready to sit on the eggs and maintain the nest temperature.
This is an egg incubator with a wire floor for automatic turning of eggs, and an easy to read LCD screen to check temperature and humidity
What Should You Look for in a Chicken Egg Incubator?
Automatic Egg Turner Included
This is a great attribute to have. You will save a lot of time when you don't have to turn your eggs manually.
This is ideal if you're going to have times that you're not at home and the eggs need to be turned. You'll be able to set how frequently eggs are turned on some models and on other models you can choose various settings.
The main drawback to incubators that have egg turners included is that they are more expensive than models that don't have egg turners installed. Some models will have an optional egg turner but this too can be pricey.
Maintaining the temperature and humidity around your eggs is vital to hatching success.
Circulated air is an easy way to keep this in check. Some incubators have circulated air and others don't. Read the fine print and be sure you're getting what you pay for.
Egg Candler Included
In most of the egg incubators the egg candler is sold separately.
Even if you decide to make an incubator yourself, the egg candler is an essential piece of equipment.
It will show you how the chick is developing inside of the egg, or if there is no chick inside at all.
If it comes with the egg incubator it may make the incubator more expensive.
There are a few different egg candlers available online that are stand alone and don't come with incubators.
Built-in Temperature / Humidity Dial & Large View
Many experienced chicken husbands prefer an egg incubator that offers a built-in temperature controller/reader as well as a humidity dial and a large view window.
This is an ideal way to monitor the temperature and humidity within the incubator and focus on your eggs. You can also purchase such components separately however, you'll have to ensure that they are compatible with the egg incubator that you have purchased.
Getting an incubator that has both of these included can save some headaches down the track
For the most part, most of the incubators have some sort of view windows in which you can watch your eggs.
Some are large and some are small. A few of them will show the entire inside of the incubator and others will only show a portion. If you want to see everything that is going on be sure that you take this into consideration when you're shopping for your incubator.
Built in Thermostat
Egg incubators come with and without thermostats
Some chicken husbands like to have a built in thermostat and a separate one to ensure that they are maintaining a specific temperature
When it comes to ease of use, most chicken husbands prefer the built in thermostats because they tend to be easier to adjust.
Many keep an extra thermostat (external) one on hand to verify that the built in one is accurate
Easy to Use
Some egg incubators are as easy to use as simply plugging them in, others require more set up than that. Be sure to read the fine print and understand how the egg incubator you select works before you purchase it. You want it to be fairly easy to use.
For example: In order to maintain the proper humidity level you're going to have to add water to your egg incubator. The water doesn't have to be sterile as long as it's clean and free from debris.
But you don't want to be opening your incubator all the time to check the water level and add water. This is where a humidity reading on an LCD screen can make your chicken egg incubator easy to use
How Much Minding Do You Need to Do Every Day?
Every incubator will require some form of minding it each and every day. Some (typically the cheaper models) will require more than others.
If you have an automatic egg turner you're going to have less minding than if you have to turn your eggs manually. It's all up to you, how much time do you wish to put into incubating eggs?
Don't forget that you'll also have to maintain the proper humidity and the proper temperature at all times for your eggs. Without the proper humidity and temperature your baby chicks won't hatch.
Some units will monitor this and have a large display while other units will have to be checked throughout the day.
Should You Buy or Build it Yourself?
Many people wonder if they should buy an egg incubator or make their own.
The positives of buying is primarily convenience. Not only getting the egg incubator delivered to your door, but also you can buy one with the features you want which you can't build yourself (like an automatic egg turner)
There are other pros of buying an incubator. You know that it works. It comes with the benefit of manufacturing experience
- You know it works
- It comes with the benefit of manufacturing experience
- Certainty in sizes, temperature etc.
The positives of building it yourself is that It is possible to make your own for about $20 to $30 dollars. This way, you can build it to suit your own specific needs. You may even have most of what you need on hand already which would make doing it yourself virtually free.
There are many great instructions online that can help you In creating an egg incubator (like the video below). You can also see this page which has more detailed information how to build your own egg incubator.
The video explains how you can make a cheap chicken egg incubator yourself, from items you can purchase at the local stores such as Wal-Mart and Lowes/Home Depot
How Many Eggs Do You Want to Hatch?
All of the below models will hatch just about any kind of eggs. In most cases, the larger the egg the fewer will fit into the incubator.
Other eggs that have been hatched include bird eggs (nuthatch, lovebirds, parrots, parakeets and turkey eggs).
Farm Innovators Model 4250 Digital Circulated Air Incubator with Automatic Egg Turner
Brinsea Mini Advance Hatching Egg Incubator
6 to 8 depending on size
Yosoo 10 Chicken Eggs Mini LED Digital Incubator Poultry Hatcher Fan Temperature
G.Q.F. Manufacturing 1602N Hova-Bator Incubator
Brinsea Products Manual Egg Incubator for Hatching 24 Chicken Eggs or Equivalent
24 depending on size
Popular Chicken Incubators In Depth
1. Farm Innovators Digital Circulated Air Incubator with Automatic Egg Turner
- Easy to read egg timer
- Easy to read LCD
- Automatic egg turner
- According to reviews approximately 75 to 80 percent of the eggs will hatch (Which is quite good)
- Difficult to maintain temperature and humidity
- Instructions difficult to understand
2. Yosoo 10 Chicken Eggs Mini LED Digital Incubator Poultry Hatcher Fan Temperature
3. Brinsea Mini Advance Hatching Egg Incubator
- Will hatch 12 small eggs or six large eggs at a time
- Can hatch duck eggs or guinea eggs as well
- Approximately 71 percent of the eggs will hatch
- Window sometimes fogs
- Does not display humidity levels
4. G.Q.F. Manufacturing 1602N Hova-Bator Incubator
- Reviews report 90 percent hatch success rate as long as you keep an eye on thermostats
- Reasonably priced
- Windows don't give you a view of all of the eggs
- No fan but you can buy one separately
- No egg turner but you can also purchase one separately or turn them manually
5. Brinsea Products Manual Egg Incubator for Hatching 24 Chicken Eggs or Equivalent
- Holds up to 24 chicken eggs, can hold larger eggs as well but not as many
- Window allows for view of all of the eggs in the incubator
- Great air circulationFlashing temp gauge that is very accurate
- 90 percent hatch rate
- Egg turner is sold separately
- Humidity level is difficult to maintain
Clearly when it comes to choosing the right egg incubator for your needs you'll have to do a bit of homework. You can start with my guide on what you need to know before you start hatching.
If you like more hands-on experience then choose one where you maintain and manage all of the fine details such as turning your eggs manually and monitoring the temperature. If you're a busier person (and many of us are) you may wish to consider a model that is less hands-on and will turn the eggs and monitor the temperature more closely for you.
With these options, there is something for everyone who wants to raise their chicks from egg to chicken.
All the best to you in your chicken husbandry endeavors.
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