If you have a fertilized egg and want to hatch the egg but do not have any brooding hen, you’re going to need one of the best small chicken Egg Incubator below.
Raising chickens on your property is a great investment, but choosing the right chicken incubator can muddy the waters before you even begin.
Incubators are more efficient than organic hatching because the temperature and cover are consistent.
There’s no risk of the eggs cracking, getting cold, or being cannibalized while their mamas are off eating or hydrating.
With an incubator, your chicken eggs will get the warmth and humidity required for chick formation and successful hatching.
But, how do you know you are getting the right incubator for your chicken or bird rearing project?
This article, will guide you to choose the best small chicken egg Incubators and what to consider before buying one.
Let’s jump in
What is an Egg Incubator?
An incubator is a device simulating chicken’s incubation by keeping eggs warm at a particular temperature range (37.5 °c for chicken eggs) and in the correct humidity with a turning mechanism to hatch them. It takes 21 days to hatch a chicken egg.
It can be made of wood, metal or plastic and contains a heating element, a thermostat to maintain an accurate temperature, egg cradles, water troughs for humidity and in some cases a fan and automatic egg roller or turner.
In fact, incubators are a lot more successful at hatching eggs than hens. For example, one hen could hatch approximately 20-30 eggs each year but if you use an incubator to hatch the eggs laid by that same hen, you could possibly hatch 200-300 eggs.
After this brief introduction, lets learn about the things you should consider before purchasing your first small egg incubator.
What to know before buying an Egg incubator
There are many things you should consider before you buy an incubator but here I am going to explain the most important ones
Incubators come in all shapes and sizes, from a few eggs to several thousand.
It’s unlikely you’ll want to go down the ‘several thousand’ route, but you do need to think carefully about how many eggs you’d like to hatch.
An incubator produces better results when operating at an optimum capacity.
It is worth taking into consideration the fact that generally fertile hatching eggs for chickens and ducks are sold by the half-dozen.
When you hatch out some chicks, you will get on average 50% cockerels and unless you are very lucky, not all of your eggs will hatch.
Most of the hobby incubators hold 20 to 25 standard size hens eggs.
If you have to regularly hatch up to 40 standard egg sizes at once, then you will have to get a larger capacity .
The space you have available for an egg Incubator can influence the size of the Incubator you will get.
As a result, before getting an incubator be sure to consider the space you have available for it before getting one.
So if you are a newbie with a small space, a moderate egg Incubator will be the best option for you.
But, if you have enough space for a medium or large-sized egg Incubator, you can go ahead and buy one.
This is important because the Incubator has to be in a convenient space
The eggs need to be at the temperature that they would naturally be at when they are being incubated by the mother hens.
Set your upper and lower temperature limits to ensure that even if someone accidentally touches the temperature controls, your eggs will stay safe and warm.
You might ask yourself, what is the right egg incubation temperature?
During the warm-up period the temperature should be adjusted to hold a constant 100°F for still air, 99° to 100°F for forced air (between 37 and 39 degrees Celcius).
Note: To protect embryos do not keep the temperature bellow 99° F
To obtain reliable readings, the bulb of the thermometer should be at the same height as the tops of the eggs and away from the source of heat.
Air flow and Ventilation
Ventilation is very important during the incubation process. While the embryo is developing, oxygen enters the egg through the shell and carbon dioxide escapes in the same manner.
The embryo needs oxygen (O2) and produces carbon dioxide (CO2), so the machines need to exchange the air to provide this.
To attain best hatching results air exchange is very important. So before you buy your small chicken egg incubator make sure it is well ventilated and has got a fan for air exchange.
Easy for observation
It is good to buy an incubator that enable you to observe the whole process going on without opening it.
To achieve this, one may need to buy an incubator with glass window. Although it is not necessary but it is important as the incubator may encounter problems during the hatching process.
This way, you will be able to tell right away when something is wrong inside.
Turning of the Eggs
Fertile hatching eggs need to be turned several times a day, whether they’re hatching in an incubator or under a broody hen.
Why is it important to turn the eggs?
When the embryo touches the shell membranes, it will stick to the shell and die.
Regularly turning the egg will prevent this, and ensure healthy embryo development.
Another key benefit to turning your eggs is that by doing so, you are allowing the embryo to encounter fresh nutrients and oxygen inside the egg.
How many times should an egg be turned?
Eggs must be turned at least 4-6 times daily during the incubation period. Do not turn eggs during the last three days before hatching. The embryos are moving into hatching position and need no turning.
What day should the eggs stop being turned?
On day 18 of the incubation period, you should stop turning the eggs by hand or turn off and remove eggs from the automatic turner. The chicks are nearly fully developed and they will position themselves inside the egg to prepare for hatching.
Different types of incubator have different modes of turning eggs during incubation process, some does it automatically and others manually.
Therefore it is important to ask about this feature before buying your small chicken egg icubator.
Humidity and control
For you to have a good egg hatch and avoid the egg from not hatching due to the hardness of the egg it’s important to control the humidity in the Incubator.
What is the ideal humidity for an incubator?
The relative humidity of the air within an incubator for the first 18 days should be at least 60 percent. During the last 3 days (the hatching period) the relative humidity should be nearer 65-70 percent.
What happens if the humidity is too high in an egg incubator?
High humidity tends to produce a late hatch; low humidity an early hatch and in order to keep the humidity stable it is recommended to keep the lid on the incubator at all times to prevent evaporation.
Tip: When buying an incubator conside the one that has a way of adding water as this will help eggs not to lose moisture and serve you time adding water regularly.
Easy to clean
Another thing you should consider before buying a small chicken egg incubator is the way to clean it.
How often should I clean my incubator?
Jerasp recommend giving it a full clean after every hatch, leaving it in pristine condition, ready for the next batch of eggs.
Even if you don’t use your incubator regularly, cleaning it after every use ensures that it’s ready when you need it.
You never know when you might be handed a batch of fertile eggs to incubate.
What is used to clean the incubator?
You will want to use warm water and dish soap to wash every part of your incubator, this includes the lid, base, mesh floor, water tray and sometimes the egg turner.
It also depends on your incubator manufactures manual.
Jerasp advises you to buy the ones that come with a design or material you can easily clean.
Material used to construct an incubator might affect the age at which an incubator will last and the it’s easy to clean.
Incubators are available for purchase in online and offline shops but if you do not have cents you may construct by yourself using a plywood.
What materials are used to make an incubator?
A Plywood Incubator
- Cake tin – 13 inches x 9 inches x 1-1/2 inches.
- 1/4-inch mesh welded hardware cloth.
- Heating unit: either a commercial unit or porcelain socket and light bulb.
- Masking tape.
Now, let’s check out some of the best egg Incubators for your chicken.
But before that make sure you have one of these best chicken breeds for egg Laying
1. Brinsea Ovation 56 EX Egg Incubator
Are Brinsea incubators good?
In my experience, the best incubator is a broody Hen. However, this Brinsea is one of the best small chicken Egg Incubator after a broody hen. It does all the work for you (almost).
You have complete control of the temperature, humidity, egg turning and even periodic cool downs (to replicate a hens behavior).
Where are Brinsea incubators made?
Brinsea are proud to be a UK manufacturing company, all of our products are made in our factory in Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset.
We hold more patents for egg incubation than any other incubator manufacturer and are proud to be the global market leaders in incubation technology.
Brinsea Ovation 56Ex Features
- Digital display of temperature and humidity.
- Integral automatic humidity control.
- Automatic temperature control in °F or °C fully factory calibrated.
- High and low incubator and room temperature alarms.
- Programmable automatic egg turning.
With a maximum capacity of 56 chicke eggs. This incubator is very easy to clean due to material used to contruct it.
- Exceptional quality
- Complete control over all the settings and alarms for reassurance
- Optional small/large egg carriers
- Standard egg carrier fits aprox 96 quail eggs, 96 pheasants, 56 chickens, 56 ducks
- Large egg carrier fits aprox 110 quail eggs, 95 pheasants, 35 chickens, 35 ducks, 15 geese
- Pricey – but worth it
- Supplied with 8 standard egg carriers
2. Manna Pro Egg Incubator
Manna Pro Egg Incubator comes complete with a rolling egg turner and external water pot to allow water to be easily added. I prefer it the second best small chicken Egg Incubator
This device got Auto-Stop feature that ceases to turn eggs three days before they hatch.
The incubator fits 22 eggs and allows for 360° viewing with its wide, clear window.
Manna Pro Egg Incubator Features
- External water pot for easily adding water
- Auto-Stop ceases to turn eggs three days before they hatch
- External water top-up, easy water fill and humidity control
- Clear window with 360° wide view
- 22-egg capacity
- 360° induced airﬂow provides optimal air circulation and temperature stability
- Great for many egg sizes: Chickens: 22; Ducks: 12–18; Pheasants: 22–24
- 12V low voltage; safe for children
- Fits 44-45 quail eggs
- High-quality construction
- Excellent visibility
- For quail eggs, you need to be extra careful as this incubator is not specifically made for them. You may need to turn eggs by hand and allow extra space per egg, or fit a quail rail
- Holes in the bottom are large which can be dangerous for quail chicks
3. Brinsea Octagon 20 Eco Egg Incubator
The Octagon 20 Eco egg incubator is a simple but high quality manual turn egg incubator using a tough and insulted cabinet coupled to a simple well proven electronic temperature control to give reliable hatching results of a wide range of species with minimum fuss.
Third best small chicken Egg Incubator that I’m confidently recommending it to you.
Brinsea Octagon 20 Eco Egg Incubator features
- Highly accurate proportional band temperature control
- Temperature factory preset at 99.5 F with easy tamper-proof adjustment
- Flashing temperature indicator and conventional but accurate liquid in glass thermometer
- Fan assisted air circulation
- Fresh air controlled with a vent slider and humidity provided by water in two reservoirs in the base
- Good visibility of the eggs
- Robust hygienic ABS construction for easy cleaning
- Insulated cabinet for low energy use and optimal temperature distribution
- 24 hen eggs capacity but suitable for a wide range of egg sizes (adjustable dividers)
- Allows good visibility of the eggs
- 24 chicken egg capacity
- Easy to clean
- Simple and Robust design
- Easy to use
- Adjustable temperature
- No automatic tuner
- No humidity gauge.
4. Farm Innovators 4250 Digital Circulated Air Incubator
This incubator has excellent reviews and turns your eggs automatically, every 4 hours.
It’s easy to clean and has a built-in fan to circulate air and maintain the right temperature to improve your hatching rates.
It has space for 41 eggs but small trays for quail eggs are sold separately.
Though it is fouth in the list but i assure you it is one best small chicken Egg Incubator I’ve ever tried in my farm.
Farm Innovators 4250 Digital Circulated Air Incubator Features
- Digital display shows temperature, humidity, and days to hatch
- E-Z Fill Water Channels let you add water without removing the lid
- IncutekTM heater heats to factory pre-set of 100° F within minutes
- Days to hatch countdown is set at 21 days. Adjustable for a variety of eggs
- Hi/Lo temp notification light flashes when outside of range(<97° F or >103° F)
- Integrated fan pulls in and circulates fresh air to stabilize temperature and improve hatch
- Automatic egg turner eliminates manual handling. Holds 41 eggs
- Egg Candler lets you check the internal development process of the eggs
- Durable plastic shell protects incubator and is easy to clean
- Large picture window provides 360° unobstructed view inside incubator. Great for educational observation
- Deep bottom tray to accommodate even large duck & goose eggs
- Eco-Friendly – made with recycled and insulating polystyrene foam
- Turns eggs automatically every 4 hours
- Easy to clean
- Includes egg candler
- Excellent value
- Small quail egg tray is sold separately
5. Kebonnixs 12 Egg Incubator
Tried and true automatic egg incubator for incubating and hatching eggs, such as Silkie eggs.
Kebonnixs produces the best small chicken Egg Incubator is easy to use and controls temperature and humidity automatically, updating every 3 seconds. Humidity is easy to control with an external water top-up point and humidity level display.
Includes an automatic egg turner with auto-stop before hatching day, as well as a built-in timer so you can track hatching time. LED egg candler is built-in as well so you can easily see your chick’s development.
- Great price
- Automatic egg turning as well as auto-stop before hatching day
- LED egg candler is awesome for tracking your chick’s development
- Not built specifically for quail eggs
- You may need to buy a separate quail egg turner or turn by hand
- May need to cover the bottom to keep little chicks safe