Incubators improve poultry production

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More and more farmers are discovering the advantage of using egg incubators. They want to improve poultry keeping; some even try to commercialize this business. The venture is highly profitable as there is a big demand for chickens.

If a farmer takes good care of the project, it takes on average five to seven months to pay the initial capital investment off. The most important thing is to decide how many chicks you want to hatch per week.

There are four factors to look for:

1. The availability of eggs for hatching; this is important for the size of the incubator

2. The opportunity to sell the day old chicks which means, one has to find the market.

3. Having in mind these two points, it might be advisable to buy a smaller incubator at the beginning and to add another one if the business picks up well, rather than to invest in one large unit. It is not only a question of the available cash. It is much easier to backup with smaller units (in cases of power cuts). In case of a viral outbreak you will only lose one unit’s production.

4. Very important is the incubator’s accuracy in measuring and maintaining temperatures and, as well a fundamental condition, in maintaining the appropriate humidity.

Technical issues

Farmers are asking us which type to buy. We cannot give you an answer. It is up to the farmers to do some research, make comparisons and then buy the equipment. Without going into the details, there are some technical factors one should take into consideration. They will assist you in the choice of an incubator.

The forced air incubator provides eggs with internal air circulation, thus preventing overheating and suffocation of developing chicks. It also cares for an even distribution of humidity in the chamber enabling the eggs to hatch at the same time.

The still-air incubator has no fan for ventilation. It can work well if it keeps the right temperature, humidity and ventilation. That means: It needs more attention and control than the forced air incubator. A paraffin incubator is a good example of a still-air incubator.

Egg turning system: Eggs are turned automatically at set time intervals. Incubators without automatic egg turning system need more attention.

Hatchery: Where possible choose an incubator with both an incubator and a hatchery section, where eggs are set from day 18 to hatch.


Poultry breeders need to acquire skills

In the past few weeks, TOF had contact with some incubator producers and asked for the main problems farmers are faced with, they comment as follows:

  • Farmers do not read and follow instructions.
  • Farmers do not test the functioning of an empty incubator first, to become familiar with regulating of the temperature and the humidity, the two essential conditions for the proper working of an incubator. Before you load eggs into the incubator, you should let it run for at least one week so that you can understand how it works.
  • Farmers do not control properly the quality of the eggs during setting, either with a candling light or a torch.
  • Farmers forget to fill water basin of the incubator, the eggs consequently dry out.
  • Farmers forget to turn the eggs regularly if they have not bought an incubator with an automatic egg turning system; this causes frying of the eggs. As a result, they suffer losses, become frustrated and complain about the incubator’ quality.


Tips for becoming professional

To make it clear once more: Whichever incubator a farmer chooses, the success of any hatching of eggs depends first on the quality and fertility of the eggs you incubate, and second, on the care and management of the incubator. The better you operate it, the more successful you are. You have invested quite a lot of money, so you have to become a professional; otherwise you have wasted both the investment and the eggs! An efficient use of a small incubator is achieved when 80 to 90 per cent of the eggs manage to hatch.

Compare models: Incubators cost money, so take your time, check various models, compare them and seek advice.

Appropriate size: Choose an incubator that you can adequately supply with eggs. Egg production should match a weekly setting plan.

Look for market: You need to sell the chicks, so think about how and where to market them.

Place: Incubators should be placed in a temperature-controlled room where the average temperature does not fluctuate more than five degrees.

Read the instructions: Incubators are machines, and before you use it, read the instructions well and try to understand the functions. Ask friends or experienced egg hatchery for advice.

Test the incubator: You need to become familiar with the incubator. Let it run for one week without eggs, control how it works in terms of humidity and temperature, write it down and gain some experience.

Eggs: Control the quality of the eggs. Eggs that are set in the incubator less that 7 to 10 days after they are laid, yield the best hatchability results; if the eggs are stored for less than 10 days, they should be placed in egg cartons with the large end up, if more than 10 days, with the large end down. Test the quality of the eggs by candling.

Keep record: Write down the age of the eggs, the date of setting them into the incubator, the time of turning the eggs (if you do it by hand) etc. Proper record keeping is even more important, if several people are involved in managing the incubator.

Do you have a company selling quality incubators? Send an email with pictures, specifications of your product. The information will be added to below this article. Send an email the email to [email protected]


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