Do I Need An Incubator?


As of now we have our first two eggs in our brand new incubator. I’m thinking we should collect six eggs total to begin with. For the next few days, as the girls lay I’ll be placing whatever eggs we get from the Leghorns into the incubator. I’m only collecting the eggs from them because they are with the Rooster. We are writing the date laid on the egg with pencil before incubating.

Before we ever had chickens, I often wondered why people even needed incubators. I mean, if a hen sits on her eggs to hatch them, why would you bother buying an incubator to do it yourself?

Well, there are two good reasons that I’ve since learned.

In a recent Mother Earth Magazine article, I read that unfortunately the instinct to go “broody”, or sit on a clutch of eggs, has been bred out of a lot of chickens. None of my hens have gone broody yet… I’m wondering if they ever will.

Some hens simply do not ever sit on their eggs. This would be a good reason to get an incubator.

If you are fortunate enough to have a good sitter, you may find yourself facing another dilemma… no eggs to eat! Of course, you could reach under her and steal away an egg for your breakfast, but if you are wanting to increase your flock size then you’ll just have to wait until Mama is done with her job and the little chicks are all hatched out.

*For those of you who are wondering, Yes, you can steal away an egg from underneath a sitting hen without cracking it to find a chicken embryo. When a hen starts sitting, it’s wise to begin dating the eggs she’s on. That way you’ll know how long they’ve been there. If you get an egg that’s only a few days old, it is still safe to eat.

If you want to increase the amount of chickens you have, but don’t want to wait until they are all hatched out to enjoy your farm fresh eggs again, an incubator would solve both problems.

Once you’ve collected as many eggs as you’d like to try to hatch, and safely placed them in your incubator, you’d then be free to resume gathering eggs for your morning omelets.

These are the two reasons why we decided to get an incubator. We chose not to buy the extra automatic egg turner accessory, trying to save some money. The incubator itself was $40, and the egg turner was another $40. But now, after trying to remember to turn the eggs several times a day for the past couple of days, we are wishing we had one! I’d say, if you can afford it, get one.

So, there you go. Now you don’t have to wonder anymore. Hope that helps ya!

9 thoughts on “Do I Need An Incubator?”

  1. When we were doing eggs (a LONG time ago – like 30 years). My mom put an x on one side and an 0 on the other. She could just look and tell if she had turned them and which ones still needed to be turned.

  2. Oh you got a bator!!! I didn’t have such great luck with my first hatch. I did like you and didn’t buy a turner and forgot to turn sometimes. Life gets busy. I decided to turn at meal times. That seemed easier to remember. Cook food turn eggs 🙂
    Hatching eggs is not easy so be patient with yourself. If you hatch 50% in this kind of bator consider yourself an expert. Email if you have questions. Everyone needs a hatch buddy 🙂

  3. I checked youtube for homemade incubators and found that I could make my own for around 10 bucks. I got the first batch of eggs in now and everything is going good. I’ve candled the egss an so far all are fertile and growing every day. They should hatch around the end of the month. I’ll let you know what happens. I do have to turn the eggs though, no homemade turner unfortunately. 🙁

  4. Well I hesitate to say that because once they start germinating I have such a hard time disposing of any. It’s the whole “is it an embryo” thing LOL!!! I know it’s just a chicken but it’s hard. If it were me we’d probably follow through on the hatch and pray hard :D. IN the future though just gather them and leave them in a basket in the house and when you have enough start the batch.

  5. Chicken Whisperer is right about putting them in the same day. Doesn’t matter when they’re laid. Save them up and put them in all at once. The humidity settings are different at different times of the hatch and when you have some hatching earlier than others you risk harming them if they’re not on the same schedule and you change the humidity.

  6. LOL once I got a batch of girls that would set for me I gave up my incubator days. I’m SO glad to just wake up one morning with a batch of babies running around. No heat lamps, no special feeders or waterers. None of that. Congrats on your purchase though. MAN that first batch of eggs… when you hear them cheeping or see them rocking it’s SOOOO exciting!!!!!

  7. Hey,

    Do yourself a favor and collect all the eggs, and then put them all into the incubator at the same time. It’s not a good idea to add eggs on different days because they will all hatch at different times and you don’t want the hatching chicks to roll around and disturb the unhatched eggs/chicks. You will probably keep the baby chicks in the incubator for about 24 hours to dry out before moving them to the brooder anyway. Just a friendly suggestion. Good luck with your hatch!


  8. I have an incubator and am using it currently, but I also bought some buff orpington chicks hoping that they will go broody as they are known to do. I plan on increasing several flocks of chickens, ducks, and even turkeys. So, I’m hoping she’ll be a good mommy for me, so I don’t have to rely on an incubator.


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