How To Use The Chicken Egg Incubator

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A chicken egg incubator is simply an artificial method for hatching eggs. You don’t need the chicken when using an incubator. It mimics the right conditions under which eggs hatch.

Proper calibration is necessary and key to using the incubator. It is all about getting the right conditions – temperature, humidity and ventilation levels. The conditions must remain stable during the whole process.

If you are new to chicken egg incubators and are wondering how to start, you are at the right place. we have split this guide into four steps for easy understanding .

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Step 1: Get ready to use the incubator

Pick the right incubator

The first thing to you will need is to get the right incubator. Go through different chicken egg incubator reviews, considering the type and the model you wish to use.

Since there are different types, you must be weary when selecting especially the cheap ones. They probably have manual controls only which means you will need to set aside time to control everything.  

Clean it

Vacuum or wipe off any debris that may be on the incubator. You may not see them, but they are always there, so use a clean piece of cloth or sponge to get rid of such.

Make sure you wear gloves to avoiding bleaching yourself. Cleaning is very necessary, particular if you bought is used.

Place it is the right location

The most ideal condition for the incubator is a place with little or no temperature.  The best room conditions are 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not place it near a window.

Plug it

Plug it correctly is a power outlet. Ensure the place is strong enough to hold it.

Add warm water to the humidity pan

There should be directions on the instructions booklet.

Calibrate the temperature

This procedure should take place at least 24 hours before you start using it.  Adjust the thermometer to properly measure the temperature around. The heat source should read between 99 and 102 Fahrenheit.

Wait for about 24 hours before checking the temperature again. Don’t add the eggs if you notice a difference. They will not hatch well is the temperature is outside the range.

Get the eggs

Get fertile eggs that are about 7 to 10 days old. These are the most viable ones for hatching. Get eggs from a good farmer and consider how many you want to hatch.

Expect about 50 to 75% of the eggs to hatch. But it may be higher. The goal is to get the number of eggs based on this.

Store the eggs in cartons. Keep in mind the temperature in the cartons to be 40 to 70 degrees F. Keep rotating them until you are ready to hatch.

chicken egg incubator

Step 2: Incubate the eggs

This is a very delicate process. It will very much affect the overall results for the whole process.

Be sure to wash your hands first whenever you are handling eggs. The aim is to keep potential bacteria from transferring to the eggs.

Warm the eggs

Temperature fluctuations are a threat to incubation. This is why it is vital to warm the eggs to room temperature.

Mark the eggs

This whole process will require you at some point to keep changing the eggs. Use a pen to mark both sides of the eggs so that you don’t confuse when changing.  Use something like X and O to remember the turning sequence.

Place them in the incubator

The eggs should be lying on their sides. To protect the embryo form misaligning, consider placing the larger end slightly higher to the pointy end. Be very careful during this process as you can easily break them. Space them evenly – not too near to the edges.

Wait for the temperature to drop

Do not be alarmed if the temperature drops after placing the eggs. It will come back to normal soon, as long as you have set it correctly.  Do not be tempted to increase the temperature here. This will highly affect the embryo and may even kill it.

Keep the record

When and how many eggs have you placed in the incubator? It takes about 21 eggs for chicken eggs to hatch; you should start counting from this day.

Turning the eggs

This is an exercise you should be ready to do at least 3 times every day. This process helps mitigate any effects from temperature changes.

Use the symbols you made to know where or not you have turned the eggs. While on it, check for cracked ones and remove them immediately.

Shift the eggs from position to position in the incubator. Let the eggs be for the last three days.

Set the right humidity

In the whole period, be sure to keep the humidity at 45 to 50%. But these levels depend on the eggs. Some may require higher while others can do well in lower humidity.

Use a hygrometer or a wet bulb/dry bulb to record the humidity. Measure the temperature as well. Use a psychometric chart to get the relative readings. Keep adding in warm water for humidity. A sponge in the water pan can also keep the humidity in check.


There must be proper ventilation in the incubator. Check for openings on the sides and top. They should be at least partially open at all times to allow fresh air in.

chicken egg incubator

Step 3: Candling

After 7 to 10 days, candle the eggs to view the space occupied by the embryo. There should be development already. Remove eggs that have no viable embryos.

Use a tin can or a box that can fit over the egg, hold one egg over the hole and light the bulb.

egg incubator

Step 4: Hatching

The best chicken egg incubator for the money is the one that gives you maximum yield. By now you should already know how many eggs will hatch. Stop turning the eggs 3 days before the day you estimated.

Take cheesecloth and place it under the egg tray before the hatching begins. It will catch bits of eggshells and other staff.

Increase the level of humidity to about 65%. Then leave it closed until they are completely hatched. Leave the chicks in the incubator until they dry well. This may be after 1 or 2 days under at 95 degrees F. Now you can remove the empty shells, clean the incubator and start a new process.

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