Using a poultry incubator for your first batch of hatching eggs is easy. While some may opt to use a homemade box with the most rudimentary features, getting one from the general store is just as rewarding and fun. Here are a few basic steps in using your very first egg incubator:

1. Place the machine in a cool, dry place well away from direct sunlight or rain. If you live in a country with cold climate, keep your poultry incubator in the house. Avoid windows with direct exposure to the sun as it may cause overheating of the embryos or the developing chick.

2. Unless you pick a hova bator incubator, which is very popular owing to its completeness in feature and function, store yours in a well-ventilated area. Normal air exchange is essential for the complete development of your chicks so make sure that there is plenty of oxygen. Ventilation plugs must also be working and unclogged as these may help dissipate the heat inside the incubator.

3. Try not to wash the eggs before incubation. Water strips away the protective coating on the shell exposing your embryos to the possibilities of infection.

4. While waiting to incubate the eggs in your poultry incubator, turn them once every day. Bear in mind that the waiting period should not be more than ten days; otherwise they will no longer hatch.

5. To keep a little moisture in the air therefore keeping the contents of the egg well hydrated, place water in a humidity container and position it very near your poultry incubator. The goal is to avoid too much evaporation from the eggs themselves. Very dry eggs have a tendency to adhere to the shells and this can cause crippling in some chicks. Make sure that the water is replenished daily.

6. Ensure that the eggs you are hatching are fresh (less than 10 days and never placed in the fridge). In storing before the incubation, place them in egg rails away from direct sunlight.

7. When you place the eggs inside the incubator, the ambient air temperature will drop. This is expected and should not be a cause for alarm. Do not make any adjustments (especially when using a hova bator incubator) as the temperature will return to normal once the eggs have once again heated up.

8. Since turning the eggs at least four times a day is necessary for successfully hatching them, mark one surface with an X and the other with an 0. This way, it will be easier to remember whether they have been turned as often as they should have been. Turning the eggs keep the embryo in the center of the shell, keeping them from sticking to the sides. Furthermore, it also helps even distribution of the temperature avoiding overheating.

9. For the first 24 hours of placing the eggs inside the incubator, leave them untouched. Remember to maintain the temperature at 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

You can use these guidelines to help you know how to best use your poultry incubator. Best of luck on your project!