Things to Look for in a Great Hatching Egg Incubator
No Matter what Size or Brand
There are many chicken incubators on the market. There are a lot of styles and designs and the best have the following things in common.
- Maintain constant temperature
- Smooth easy to clean surfaces
- Automated turner for less work
- Big window to see chicks hatching
- Have an automatic humidity control
- Have parts readily available
How do you choose the right chicken incubator?
Questions to ask
There are 3-egg incubators up to ones that hold thousands of chicken eggs. Most common sizes for a backyard flock is a dozen to a couple of hundred egg capacity, depending on whether you will be selling extra chicks.
Are you going to hatch a lot of mailed eggs?
If so, it is better to have an incubator that holds the eggs vertically, so they sit in a holder with the pointy end down. This helps chicks to hatch if the air cells are damaged with the mail handling.
How much room do you have?
Room for a cabinet or table top model
Where is your egg incubator going to be located?
Inside the house or outside in garage/barn. All are way better in a constant temp room, but insulation is most important if incubator in a cold area or if the temp will fluctuate a lot.
Most incubators hatch a variety of eggs. Usually the holders or turners need to be adapted to hold different sized eggs. Humidity needs to be higher for waterfowl eggs too.
How soon can I get it?
You laugh, but once you decide on a model you will want it delivered yesterday! The best suppliers can get egg incubators to you rapidly.
The Best Egg Incubator Manufacturers
The following egg incubator manufacturers are recognised as providing a great hatching experience and reliable incubators for the hobby breeder. All have varying priced and sized incubator models with differing options. Incubators range from basic with very little computer or digital controls to fully automated and even customisable programming for the more advanced hobbiest.
Brinsea models are simple to use and have a wonderful humidity pump system. This is especially helpful during hatching with rapid return of high humidity levels if the door is opened. The larger units lay the eggs along their side which is more natural like eggs in the nest. Laying on the side is not ideal for hatching shipped eggs with disrupted air cells. If you want a Brinsea for hatching shipped eggs, an octagon 20 or 40 may be a better option so you can keep the eggs vertical in an egg carton for better hatching rates.
GQF or Georgia Quail Farms produce some of the least expensive incubators, including the hovabator, but the styrofoam is difficult to keep sanitized. The Credit: amazonlarger cabinet incubators are very economical for larger volumes of eggs. The Sportsman 1200 and 1500 series cabinet models are simple to use and reliable and now have digital controls. Hatching shipped eggs effectively with the Sportsman is possible as there is room to place egg cartons and the turner is just a simple tilting mechanism.
Marsh-Lyon produce the Roll-x and Turn-X and although expensive are considered the crème of the hobby incubators. Reliable and sturdy, they last for years and years. They are often used for hatching expensive birds eggs such as parrots, due to their reliability and quality. The cabinet models are quite expensive but highest quality.Credit: amazon
R-Com also produce a high quality egg incubator. Although pricey, the computer options such as programmable hatching conditions and even USB connection to the computer are a great help to those more hands and precise in the incubation process.
Choose the right egg incubator for your flock!
This is just a brief summary, but should give you are common sense start for shopping online for hobby chicken egg incubators.
There are commercial models that hold more eggs, but the above maker and model suggestions should work very well for most back yard flocks. Happy hatching!