In this article, we are going to be discussing the incubation of poultry eggs. We have natural incubation, where the eggs are placed under the mother hen and she can take care of them until they hatch. This means that she would provide them with the sufficient warmth, oxygen, and turning them around. On the other hand, artificial incubation is whereby the eggs are put into an incubator until the time of hatching. In this article, we are going to discuss natural incubation vs. artificial incubation.
Advantages of Natural incubation
- The hen does most of the work on the egg, which includes turning them and maintaining the temperature
- Broody hens hatch higher percentages of eggs as compared to incubators
- She will care for the chicks once they hatch
Disadvantages of Natural Incubation
- You can’t tell when a hen wants to brood.
- There’s no guarantee that the hen will be a good mother
- Only a number of limited eggs can be put under a hen
- The hen can go wild, making chicks hard to tame
Advantages of Artificial Incubation
- One can hatch eggs at their convenience
- One can hatch as many eggs as possible depending on the size of the incubator
- You care for the eggs and chicks personally
Disadvantages of Artificial Incubation
- The temperature, ventilation, and humidity are your responsibility
- If the eggs don’t turn automatically, you have to turn them at least three times a day.
- Lower percentage of eggs hatched as compared to natural incubation
Egg Incubator Guide
We are now going to look at an egg incubator guide that should be able to guide you into acquiring an incubator to suit your needs, according to the thechickenhub.com website. It is good to note that incubators are not only used for chicken, or poultry, but also for reptiles, since reptiles also need the mother to brood the eggs. They are also used for premature human beings, and to harvest bacteria, but their most common use is for eggs. The incubator controls the temperature, humidity, and air circulation, allowing the eggs to mature and hatch. There are some that automatically rotate the eggs, while with some, the eggs have to be rotated manually. They can cater for eggs of all birds and reptiles, although their hatching would vary depending on the species.
Benefits of an Egg Incubator
- Save energy with free organic material from chicken
- Reduce waste in the form of food remains by chicken
- Helps to decrease the use of chicken farms
- One can make money from the sale of eggs
- Satisfaction of watching chicks grow from the egg status
Types of Incubators
- Still incubators
- Moving air incubators
- Automatic incubators
- Semi-automatic incubators
- Manual incubators
Features of an Incubator
- Capacity – refers to the number of eggs it can carry
- Rotator – some rotate eggs, while some don’t have the feature
- Species – some are made for particular species of birds or reptiles
- Temperature and humidity – some come with thermometers, hygrometers, and other devices to control the temperature and humidity
- LCD display
- Cabinet material – can be made from fiberglass, wood, plastic, polyurethane, and a host of other materials.
Incubation can either be done naturally or manually. It all depends on your preference, and the reason that you would like to hatch the eggs. Artificial incubation is usually used for large scale production of chicks or reptiles.