If you want to keep chickens, ducks or quails, you will need to buy an incubator to keep your eggs warm and moist so they can mature and hatch. However, there are dozens of brands to choose from, many of which look like toys, so it can be challenging to go through all of them to find the right one for your situation. We have chosen ten different models for you so that you can see how they differ. We’ll tell you about our experience of using them and any features they have that might make them stand out. We also provide a short buyer’s guide in which we discuss how these devices work so you know what to look for when shopping. Read on as we discuss capacity, stability, durability, the ability to create the right environment and much more to help you make an informed purchase.
Apdo Egg Incubator – Best Overall
The Apdo Egg Incubator is our pick as the best overall incubator for chickens, ducks, and quail. It’s easy to set up and adjusts to fit multiple egg sizes. You can use it to incubate 12 chicken eggs, 9 duck eggs, 4 goose eggs, or 35 quail eggs. An automatic egg turner pushes and turns the eggs while keeping them evenly spaced for more effective incubation. The LED digital temperature control is easy to read and set, while the Smart Airflow system keeps the temperature even over all the eggs. A channeled panel helps to regulate humidity, and an LED candler allows you to see inside the egg to make sure it’s developing properly. There are even four small drinking cups for the chicks to use after they hatch and an over-temperature alarm to let you know if it’s getting too hot.
We enjoyed using the Apdo Egg Incubator, and we had plenty of success incubating eggs with it. The only problem we had is the turner doesn’t always work, so you will need to keep an eye on it and turn them manually on occasion.
Magicfly Digital Mini Fully Automatic Egg Incubator – Best Value
The Magicfly Digital Mini Fully Automatic Egg Incubator is our pick for the best value. It can hold up to nine chicken eggs and has a durable construction. It automatically controls the temperature and pushes the eggs and turns them, so you won’t need to do much once you have it set up besides adding water to keep the humidity high. A digital readout tells you about the environment at a glance, and it takes up very little space.
We had a lot of luck with our Magicfly and most of the eggs hatched. It’s perfect for children starting to learn how to incubate, and it has a good price. However, it’s not very large, and we noticed the temperature could fluctuate, so it may not be suitable for commercial purposes.
AQAWAS Egg Incubator with Humidity Control
The AQAWAS Egg Incubator with Humidity Control is our premium choice egg incubator for chickens, ducks, and quail. It has a huge capacity that can fit up to 192 eggs. It uses extremely durable ABS and Polypropylene plastic to last for many years without any signs of wear. It provides perfect temperature, humidity, and air circulation for the best results without adding a lot of noise to the environment. A large LCD digital panel makes it easy to see what the incubator is doing and make adjustments.
We loved using the AQAWAS and could hatch chickens by the dozens, and it’s suitable for any other type of egg as well. The only problem we had with it is the high cost that might put it outside many people’s price range.
24 Eggs Incubator, Automatic Poultry Hatcher Machine with
The 24 Eggs Incubator, Automatic Poultry Hatcher Machine with Automatic Turning is an excellent design that can hold up to 24 chicken eggs and is suitable for any other type of poultry as well, including ducks and quail. It turns the eggs automatically and has a built-in LED candle that allows you to see inside all of the eggs at once, so you will instantly notice if an egg isn’t fertilized or is falling behind schedule. It has a durable construction with a clear lid that provides maximum visibility of the inside. The digital control panel is easy to understand and make adjustments.
The only problem we had with the 24 Eggs Incubator was that it leaks a little, so you will want to watch what surface you put it on, and the clear top panel frequently fogged up, making it difficult to see all of the eggs.
VIVOHOME Egg Incubator Mini Digital Poultry Hatcher Machine
The VIVOHOME Egg Incubator Mini Digital Poultry Hatcher Machine is another smaller design capable of incubating about nine chicken eggs at a time. It’s fully automated and will turn the eggs and maintain the correct temperature automatically. It’s easy to clean so no bacteria will grow, and the LED display makes it easy to see what the machine is doing. Once you have it set up, you will only need to add eggs and water to keep it running.
We love these compact incubators and felt that the VIVOHOME Egg Incubator is very durable. However, there is no easy way to check the humidity, and we found the temperature gauge off by several degrees, but if you use a food thermometer, you can get an accurate reading.
How to Choose the Best Chicken Egg Incubator
As you can see from the list above, the best egg incubators come in all sizes, shapes, and functions.
So, how can you choose the best model for your home or farm? Here are a few important features to keep an eye out for. Just like you would when looking for good chicken feed, think about the features that are important to you. Here they are.
How many eggs do you need to fit in your incubator at one time? The ideal capacity for your chicken egg incubator depends on your goals.
Even the best egg laying chickens will lose their productivity over time (1). So, if you are interested in raising more chicks to continue producing eggs, a small egg incubator will suffice. Hatching between 7-9 chicks in a single batch will ensure that you get at least 1-2 laying hens to keep at home. Small incubators are also great for classrooms and fun home projects with kids.
On the other hand, if you want to raise birds to sell, you should consider a larger egg incubator. An incubator with a 20-40 egg capacity will allow you to replace at least ⅓ of your flock each year, which is recommended for profitable meat and egg production (2).
If you have never hatched chicken eggs before, I recommend an incubator that automatically turns the eggs and adjust temperature. (All but one of the products in this list do that.) This way, you can watch your progress and learn without any risk of losing the eggs. The most important automated features include:
Egg turning: Chicken incubators with automatic turners continuously rotate the eggs, so you don’t have to turn them by hand.
Temperature and humidity regulation: Fans and air belts in an incubator will ensure that the environment stays safe and warm enough.
Ventilation: The ventilation in your incubator needs to be continuously adjusted to keep your chicks healthy (3). Automated vents will open and close on their own, without manual operation.
With automation, you can safely incubate your eggs even if you don’t have the time to monitor them or don’t know how to hatch chicken eggs.
3. Digital Display
The best incubators for chicken eggs come with a digital screen to display various settings. Even if you are an expert, this is a crucial feature – it’s important to know the exact temperature and humidity level inside your incubator.
Temperatures that are too high (over 104 degrees Fahrenheit) or too low (under 84 degrees Fahrenheit) can kill chicken embryos within a few hours (4). If anything goes wrong and the temperature suddenly drops, you need to know about it.
Likewise, a humidity monitor helps you to keep the environment inside your egg incubator from becoming too wet or too dry. The more consistent your environment is, the better chances your eggs have of hatching.
Chicken Egg Incubator FAQ:
Which is the best chicken egg incubator?
The best incubator should come from a reputable brand (like the one we have reviewed above), be affordable, and offer almost 100% hatching results. The best model will also be determined by the number of eggs you want to harsh. For instance, a small incubator might be the ideal one for home use while a bigger one is perfect for commercial use.
How Does an Egg Incubator Work and Why Do You Need One?
Are you dreaming of a home poultry farm? Your dream can come true with home incubators. They are not an innovation; industrial poultry farms have large-scale incubators installed which can process thousands of eggs. The manufacturers tend to design more compact and user-friendly devices for domestic use so that even an amateur could raise their first chicks.
What Is a Modern Home Egg Incubator?
No, this isn’t a heavy-weight design with hundreds of spare parts. On the contrary, the dimensions of the most compact incubators resemble egg trays rather than an appliance. In fact, there is a place to lay the eggs and a digital unit, which carries out the basic processes of growing the chicks. Optionally, the incubator may be combined with additional devices, but we’ll talk about them later.
How Does an Egg Incubator Work?
All you have to do is to lay the eggs and turn the machine one. That’s it: the best devices are completely autonomous and can control the temperature and even turn the eggs on their own. If you own a less sophisticated gadget, you’ll have to perform all of that manually and invest into additional temperature and humidity measure devices.
How much does the incubator cost?
Prices vary across various models and brands which offer different features and performance levels. A typical 9 to 12 egg incubator is about 60 to 150 dollars. There are large capacity incubators that can hold up to 48 chicken eggs within the same price range.
Which are the best temperature and humidity levels for your incubator?
The right temperature for hatching eggs is between 99 and 102 degrees. The ideal humidity is between 50 to 65 percent.
What happens if you don’t turn the eggs in an incubator?
If you don’t turn the eggs in the incubator, you will have a lower hatch rate and chicks stuck in shells. You have to turn eggs at least 2 to 3 times a day during the incubation period for great results.
Can I use my incubator to hatch other bird species?
Yes. There are advanced incubators that allow the hatching of other bird species that are hard to catch like ostriches and doves. However, the incubators come with unique features and are more expensive.
Where to Buy A Chicken Egg Incubator
Chicken egg incubators can be gotten almost at all online shops or retailers close to you. You can also purchase from the manufacturer’s website.