Incubators are insulated and enclosed apparatus that provide the optimal temperature, humidity, and other environmental conditions required for the growth of organisms.
The device is utilized to regulate these environmental conditions and the turning of fertile eggs that are placed inside for successful hatching. Incubators are mostly used in hatching the eggs of reptiles and birds.It also eliminates external threats that could harm the egg.
The incubation process starts right from selecting eggs to be incubated. The eggs should also be cared for properly before incubation.
First, you should collect eggs from well-developed, mature, and healthy breeders. While collecting eggs for incubation, you may want to go for the medium-sized eggs because large eggs hatch poorly, and small eggs produce small chicks.
Do not wash dirty eggs for incubation; it removes the eggs’ protective coating and exposes them to the entry of disease organisms. Incubate only clean eggs. The eggs should be stored in a cool, humid storage area. Allow cool eggs to warm slowly at room temperature before placing them in the incubator. The rapid temperature change can mess with the hatching process.
Do not store the eggs for more than seven days before incubation. When you store the eggs for too long, it reduces hatchability. Keep your incubator indoors to offer protectionfrom major weather changes. Also, it is simpler to maintain uniform temperature and humidity when the incubator is indoors.
It would be best if you observed keen control of the temperatures and humidity for the best results. Improper controlfor a certain time interferes with the growth and development of the embryo. You also must ensure proper ventilation, egg turning, and sanitation of both the machine and the eggs.
There are different types of egg incubators; forced-air as well as still-air incubators. A forced air device is a large incubator with fans inside to provide air circulation. On the other hand, a still-air incubator is small, and the rise anddischarge of warm air as well ascool fresh air’s entry from the incubator’s base aids in achieving air exchange.
The required temperature to incubate eggs in a force-air incubator is 100° F. A still-air incubator is 102° F to compensate for the temperature layering within the incubator. The relative humidity in the egg incubator between setting and three days before hatching should remain at 58-60%. When hatching, it is increased to 65% relative humidity.
Separate different eggs of different ages before hatching. This is to prevent the hatched ones from interfering with the eggs in their incubation process. Egg incubation requires 100% cleaning and disinfection for disease control.
After hatching, thoroughly clean and disinfect the incubator and hatcher, and remove shells, down dust, and extra dirt materials. Wash with detergents and rinse with disinfectants. After cleaning, you can fumigate for pest and disease control, and then wash again properly before the next use.
This article gives a small guide on how to go about incubating eggs to hatch. For more guidance, you can seek advice from professional farmers.