Few poultry farmers do not know what an incubator is. Self-incubation of eggs can significantly save on updating the livestock. In addition, the hatching of chicks can be of great interest to breeders and people who are simply passionate about their work. In order not to get lost among the many models, you need to select it according to individual parameters, which will be discussed below.
There are poultry farmers who have not yet been touched by scientific progress. They sincerely do not understand why an incubator is needed at home, if the laying hens themselves do an excellent job with this task. There is a certain logic in this, since the hen, hatching the chicks, does not leave them later, which makes it much easier for a person to care for them. But that's probably where the benefits end.
Now let's look at the benefits of an incubator.
- Maximum number of chicks that can hatch at one timechicken - twenty. More simply will not allow its size. And in the incubator, a much larger number of eggs can easily fit - from 30 to 1000 pieces, and in production ones and more.
- A bird that is incubating eggs may be frightened by some extraneous noise, and it will leave the clutch, which will lead to the death of unhatched chicks. What is an incubator? This is a mechanism, a “soulless machine”, which is not afraid of any noises and knocks.
- And the most basic advantage of the incubator is that it allows you to get chickens and not disrupt the process of obtaining eggs. For those who don't know, the hen that hatches the chicks stops laying for this period. She also does not give eggs for the entire period while she nurses the chicks. In total, this is about three months. Now calculate how many eggs can be saved if the average hen lays one egg a day. Those who sell eggs have long appreciated what an egg incubator is - it has become their faithful assistant in business.
Whether it's the chick or the machine, the process takes twenty-one days. And the conditions in both cases should be approximately the same.
The main advantage that an egg incubator can provide us with is the optimal temperature required for the successful hatching of chicks. It is 38 degrees and a deviation of even one degree can cause the death of the entire brood. And it is the conditions of the incubator that are able to maintain the temperature on thislevel.
In addition, the eggs must be constantly turned over. In nature, this is done by a chicken, in inexpensive models for a small number of eggs, by a person, and in more expensive models, this function is performed by an automatic egg incubator. The instruction necessarily contains a description of the model and an indication of this function. Therefore, before purchasing, be sure to check that your incubator provides for automatic flipping.
Automatic egg incubator
The incubation mode is controlled by a large number of various sensors, automatically setting the optimal one for the successful breeding of chicks. Such an incubator greatly simplifies the life of a poultry farmer - he may not check it for days, and the mechanism will do everything on its own.
There are models that not only monitor the temperature and turn the eggs, but also monitor the humidity level, which is also very important in the hatching process.
Auto egg flip
What is an incubator with automatic egg flipping is probably understandable. But how does this process take place? You should be aware that the flipping process can be carried out in three ways, which can significantly affect the price of the model.
- Rollers. These are the most expensive models, equipped with special rollers located under each egg. With the help of this technology, the egg constantly rotates, thus obtaining the most uniform heating. The most efficient incubator, but quite expensive.
- Rolling grate. In such an incubator, the grate in which the eggs are placed constantly changes its position. Because of this, the eggs roll there and are evenly heated. Such models are also quite effective and give a high percentage of hatchability. The cost is much lower than the first model.
- And the cheapest model of the incubator uses a grate that tilts to one side or the other. But not all eggs roll there because of such a device, so they must be checked periodically, having previously marked them. If you notice that some eggs do not turn over and heat unevenly, they must be turned manually.
How to choose an egg incubator
- Determine which chicks you need an incubator to hatch. It can be under a chicken egg, goose, quail, etc.
- Select capacity. You do not need to take the most spacious one, unless you plan to keep a large number of birds and constantly update it. The optimal incubator for home use holds 100-150 eggs. Such an incubator will cost you no more than three thousand rubles.
- Choose the flipping method - manual, mechanical or automatic. Keep in mind that even with a small number of eggs, manual overturning will constantly take up your time. Such an incubator is worth taking only in cases where you simply want to try the process of hatching chickens and possibly never return to it. In mechanicalincubators, turning is carried out by a lever, while turning all the eggs at the same time.
- After you have decided on the required model, you need to pay attention to the body of the incubator. It should not have any cracks and holes, it is desirable that it be insulated from the inside and made of materials that do not absorb odors and are resistant to moisture. A viewing window is required, otherwise, with the constant opening of the incubator, you will disturb the microclimate inside it, which can lead to the death of the chicks. In addition, the incubator should be easy to clean and disinfect, as this will need to be done after each hatch.
- Microclimate control. Another important point in choosing an incubator. Criteria to pay attention to:
Forced ventilation. The presence of fans in the chamber not only helps to evenly heat the eggs, but also provides a constant supply of oxygen and the removal of carbon dioxide. Natural ventilation is usually insufficient for such purposes. Digital thermostat. Compared to analog, these devices give a smaller error in temperature. Also, such devices can show the level of humidity.
- Reserve power supply. A very important criterion when choosing an incubator. Unfortunately, none of us is immune from sudden power outages, and above we have already told what temperature changes can lead to. Usually in incubators, a car battery is used as a backup power source, which must be purchased separately. It is this condition that leads tothe fact that the price of an incubator with battery operation is not much higher.
- Producer. It may sound strange, but there is already a certain circle of incubator manufacturers on the market that the consumer trusts. If you are a beginner poultry farmer, then you should not experiment - it is better to opt for already proven models.
Mistakes of beginner poultry farmers
- If you don't know what an incubator is and have never bred chicks before, then before laying eggs, you must carefully read the instructions and the incubator itself.
- After laying, it is imperative to keep an incubation table, which indicates the periods of incubation, temperature, humidity and the number of coups.
- Eggs being harvested for the incubator have been stored incorrectly or for too long. It is recommended to lay them on the fifth day, but no later than the second week after they were demolished.
- Eggs were not properly prepared before laying: they didn’t wash, they didn’t reject unsuitable and “empty” eggs, they neglected other selection criteria.
- The temperature and humidity mode has not been adjusted. Indicators are constantly changing.
- Eggs are heated unevenly due to lack of turning.
- The incubator is in a draft or other inappropriate place.
The first time they turn on the incubator without eggs, on the so-called idling, and watch it for at least three days. If ano defects were found during this period, then the incubator is washed, dried and eggs are laid.
How to lay eggs correctly
- The incubator heats up to the required temperature.
- Each egg is treated with an antiseptic and disinfected with ultraviolet light.
- Eggs are laid out on a tray.
- The tray is being loaded into the incubator.
- Doors close tightly.
At the end of the article, you can finally answer the question of what an incubator is. This is a necessary assistant for every poultry breeder. By following the simple rules for laying eggs, you can easily update the bird population without putting any effort into it and without spending material resources on it. In the age of technology, one should probably not rely only on nature, especially if there is a wonderful opportunity to help her a little.