An egg incubator is used to hatch bird or reptile eggs. The incubator keeps the eggs warm, allowing the fetuses inside of them to grow and hatch without the mother present. The incubator is set at 98˚F (37˚C), and the eggs are placed inside. Chicken eggs usually hatch after 21 days, while other birds may take more or less time than this.
There are several reasons why an egg incubator may be used. One reason is that a farmer wants to hatch some chicks, but none of his or her hens are broody, or ready to nest. Incubators are also used in large chicken raising facilities. Another common use of incubators is in classrooms, where students learn about eggs and chickens through watching the eggs hatch after incubating for a few weeks.
Incubators are most commonly used to hatch chicken eggs, but they can be used for any type of bird, from ducks to penguins or ostriches. Incubators can also be used to hatch reptile eggs, although this isn’t as common. Eggs for chickens, quails, ducks, and similar birds are available for purchase either online or through farming stores. Eggs are shipped in a cooler, and can last several weeks in lower temperatures. They should be immediately placed into a warm egg incubator as soon as they arrive.
There are many different types and sizes of egg incubators. Larger incubators have shelves to hold several layers of eggs, with some offering room for over 400 eggs. Some are small, holding only a few eggs and able to be set on a desktop. In some, the eggs are set in egg-carton like holders, and in others they are set in freely, giving the chicks room to move around once they have hatched. Many incubators have a built in fan, keeping the air moving and the temperature well regulated, and a viewing window on top.
Egg incubators are available at most farm and garden stores or on the internet. For those who enjoy do-it-yourself projects, it is even possible to make an incubator using supplies commonly found around the home. An egg incubator is a great way to increase the number of chickens in a flock. It is important to remember that newly hatched chicks should be kept under a heat lamp for the first three weeks to keep them from getting too cold. After that time, the chicks should be gradually introduced into the existing flock to prevent the other chickens from hurting them.