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Artificial Incubation

If you don’t have a broody breed of hen or it seems unlikely that your hen will go broody then you can artificially incubate your eggs. It is slightly more complicated and time consuming to incubate an egg yourself using an incubator, for example you will have to check the egg regularly. However, if you have a large number of eggs and since the incubators tend to behave more reliably than a hen, it is actually better to use the incubator. And practice makes perfect.

What equipment do you need?
There is a standard range of incubation equipment you will need to get started:

Choosing the right incubator

There are a reasonable number in incubators available on the market. Most incubators work in a similar way by providing heat and humidity to the developing egg. Below is a diagram showing the basic components that make up an incubator.
The basic components of an incubator.

The basic parts of an incubator.

How many eggs do you want to hatch?

This is probably the most important question and will to a great extent dictate your choice of incubator. When making the calculation of how large an incubator you would like, you need to account for infertile eggs and the inevitable cockerels. Only between 50-80 percent of the eggs you start with will hatch and half will be cockerels. So, if you want 5-10 hens you should aim to incubate 20 eggs.

Do you want to turn the eggs yourself?

Your eggs will need to be turned over 3-5 times a day. It is easier and more reliable to get an incubator with an automatic egg turner however these incubators are generally more expensive.

Fans or no fans?

You can buy incubators with or without fans. Incubators without fans rely on the natural circulation of air (hot air rising and cold air falling) to give an even temperature throughout the incubator. The Incubators with fans are now very popular and Omlet only recommend using incubators with fans because they have an increased success rate.

Customer Images

Chicken Incubator with eggs inside
Brinsea Mini II Advance Egg incubator
My artificial incubator ready to hatch some chicks.


Nina, 11 April 2016

Did you see the Fake Britian programme last week about fake incubators which are being sold, do your customers need informing? Mine is a Pekin bantam a she is safe!!!!