Egg incubators are devices that render temperature conditions and various other factors for the smooth hatching of eggs. There are three types of egg incubators available in the market. Given below is some brief information about each of them.

Still Air Incubator: Eggs in a still air incubator are heated by uncirculated radiant heat. Placing the eggs in the right position is very important for their smooth hatching. The thermometer too should be placed correctly. An incorrectly placed thermometer will show an inaccurate temperature, which would be enough to cause failure of the hatch or death of the baby chicks inside the eggs. The air must be evened out at least four times a day when you turn the eggs, so that the noxious gases that accumulate in the incubator are released.

Convection Incubator: This incubator has ventilation holes to ensure the smooth passing of fresh air and even distribution of heat. Fresh air is drawn in the incubator with the help of its upward draft. The air is then heated by radiation and circulated within the incubator. Its disadvantage is the higher rate of evaporation which is caused by the warm air currents. If you want to maintain the humidity level, use evaporation trays and carefully monitor it with a device known as a hygrometer.

Forced Air Incubator: Forced air incubators are aired, but heat and air are distributed with the help of a fan instead of convection.

How to make a Homemade Egg Incubator

The above given egg incubators are good, but are a little pricey. However, if you want to have one at home, you can build one for yourself with inexpensive materials. The following are some points which will help you make your own homemade egg incubator.
  • This egg incubator will have similar heating principles as a convection incubator. Get a box that is at least two feet high and wide each, to serve as a lodging for your egg incubator. You can choose a cardboard box or an old cooler box. It should be clean and strong, and with a cover.
  • Line the box with aluminum foil to help contain the heat inside. Place a tray containing water at the bottom for humidity. You can use a disposable aluminum pie tin as a water tray.
  • For the heat in the incubator, install four light sockets. Use four incandescent bulbs of 25 watts each.
  • Place a thermometer inside, or you can even use a thermostat switch and connect it to the bulbs. The switch will automatically turn the lights on and off to control the temperature.
  • Make half inch holes in all the four corners of the cover and make two quarter inch holes in each side, just above the eggs. These holes will provide ventilation and even out the temperature and humidity in the incubator.
  • The last thing you need to install in your egg incubator is a hygrometer to control humidity.
Incubator Plans

While making an egg incubator, you should have all the details of the things that you will require for making it from scratch.

Flooring: The base of your egg incubator should be made from a material which is easily detachable and easily cleaned. Take care that you don't use materials which can be poisonous to the little chicks coming out of the eggs.

Temperature: Your egg incubator should be capable of maintaining the required temperature useful for the smooth hatching of eggs. The temperature must be maintained between 97 to 110 degrees F. Always place a thermometer or a thermostat switch to monitor and control the appropriate amount of heat needed.

Humidity: The homemade egg incubator must be capable enough to maintain an appropriate level of humidity. The humidity level must be between 55 to 70%. To maintain this desired level, always place a pan of water under the incubator to raise the humidity, and vents or slots to decrease the humidity.

Important Points to Remember

Once you have built the incubator and placed the eggs inside, there are a few important things that you will need to keep in mind. They are as follows.
  • Do not keep the eggs too close to the bulbs. They should be placed at a little distance or separated by a mesh.
  • It is very important to rotate the eggs three times a day every eight hours. Failure to do this is harmful for the chicks, as they can be born deformed or not be born at all.
  • It takes 21 to 24 days for the eggs to hatch. It is recommended to not rotate the eggs for the last 2 or 3 days as the chicks begin looking for a way out.
  • Keep a watch on the water bowl to see that the level of water is maintained and does not decrease as this can affect the humidity level inside the incubator.
Making an egg incubator at home and hatching eggs in it is not very difficult. Once the few important steps are taken into consideration, this can be made into a fun activity.