The purchase and use of chicken egg incubator has been on the rise over the past few years. With the help from blogs like this, farmers are now getting a hang of brooding chicks on their own. After some level of success brooding chicks, it is only normal to want to experiment with some fertile eggs from your stock.
If you are like me, having some turkeys, Noilers, cockerels, and broilers, sometimes you just want to hatch your turkey or noiler eggs by artificial means. That new feeling of hatching chicks and poults yourself coupled with the money you will save is enough to make you want to do this.
Since this post is mainly about selecting the best chicken egg incubator, let us not waste time. When you start to consider buying an incubator, there are some factors you must consider.
This is the main reason I didn’t buy an incubator for a long time until I discovered the way out. Most incubators run on electricity and the incubation process required uninterrupted power supply. If you are in Nigeria, then you will agree that electricity is what we pay for but don’t get to use. But let’s cut that chase. There are incubators with inbuilt inverter. Alternatively, you can get an inverter unit for yours and connect it to a battery. For an extra cost of N12,000 – N24,000, you will have your incubator unit working without having to worry about PHCN.
Price of Chicken Egg Incubator
Honestly, this is the second reason why I didn’t buy an incubator before now. Until recently when portable incubators started to take the market, most available ones were big and expensive. Incubator price depends largely on it’s size, automation settings and manufacturer. The most popular name then was Petersime Incubator. So, If you are choosing an incubator now, I am sure you will get one within your budget range. You can get a small automatic incubator for as low as N30,000, and the big ones can run into millions.
Size of the Chicken Egg Incubator
While price is one factor, size is another. You don’t want to get a small incubator when what you need is a big one that can hatch hundreds or even thousand of eggs at a setting. Also, buying a big incubator that you don’t even have the space to keep doesn’t sound right. Consider you space, and the number of eggs you will need to hatch per time. This will help you to choose from the wide range of incubator sizes available.
Turning of Eggs in the Incubator
One thing about incubation is the need to turn eggs. In advanced incubators, the turning is done by the incubator automatically. That is, at a preset time, maybe 2 hours interval, the incubator tray is turned. This is necessary for proper hatching of the eggs. So, if you don’t want to manually turn the eggs trays, you want to choose an incubator with automatic turning functionality.
Control of Temperature
Chicken egg incubator should have temperature control capability for optimum performance. To maintain steady temperature, most incubators come with thermostat feature. But what is important to you is the thermometer. You should be able to see the temperature reading at any point during the incubation process. Some also come with an alarm system to alert you when the temperature suddenly gets out of range. It is important that you get one with an alarm system, because you don’t want things to go bad for long.
Humidity Monitor for Chicken Egg Incubator
Humidity is also very important if you want to achieve high hatchability. You will have to get an incubator with a humidity monitor. Basically, this tells you how wet or dry the air within the hatching unit is. There is a required humidity for each stage of the hatching process. You want to be able to set your incubator and monitor what is going on inside the unit.
How Easy Can You Observe?
It is better to be able to take a peep at what is going on inside the incubator without having to open it all the time. This is why most of the portable incubators come with transparent plastic or glass covering some part of it. Some have the clear plastic on the sides while some manufacturers use a clear cover. Even large cabinet type incubators have glass doors. So, look out for an incubator that gives you a clear view enough to see the eggs, and the chicks when they start to hatch.
And Finally, Ease of Cleaning
Depending on the type of bird, hatching should be complete between 21-28 days. After this, there is need for thorough cleaning and disinfection. Getting an incubator that is easy to clean will make the process easy for you. Most portable incubators are easy to clean. However, you still have to consider the material used as well as the presence or absence of tight corners that cannot be reached when cleaning. If you are going for a big incubator, make sure that it is easy to clean.
The tips above will help you select the best chicken egg incubator for you but there’s more. You will need to pay attention not only to manufacturers description of the incubators but also reviews from users.