How to Use a Hova-Bator Incubator to Hatch a Chicken Egg

Written by diana david
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How to Use a Hova-Bator Incubator to Hatch a Chicken Egg
Place the eggs in a carton to warm up to room temperature. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Many different factors determine the success of hatching eggs and the development of the chicks. Damaged eggs, old or infertile eggs, eggs from poor stock, improper egg turning during incubation, moisture and even the room temperature outside of the incubator affect the development of a chick. Consider a minimum of 70% of hatched eggs a successful hatching. A successful hatching also depends on a steady, even temperature. Even though the Hova-Bator incubator thermostat controls the incubating temperature, fluctuations in room temperature will affect the incubator's thermostat.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Hova-Bator incubator
  • Wire incubator floor
  • Plastic liner with humidity troughs
  • Fertilised eggs
  • Pencil
  • Water
  • Brooder
  • Pan or Egg Carton

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  1. 1

    Set the incubator base on a flat surface near a wall outlet; out of direct sunlight, with fresh air, no drafts and consistent temperature.

  2. 2

    Place the plastic liner in the bottom of the incubator. Place the wire floor on top of the plastic liner and fill the circulated (outer) trough in the base of the incubator with clean water. Do not allow the trough to overflow.

  3. 3

    Set the incubator top firmly in the grooves on the incubator base and plug the power cord into the wall power outlet. The thermostat light will be red during heating, and will turn off when hot. Allow the incubator to warm up until the temperature reaches 99.5F.

  4. 4

    Use a pencil to mark one side of each egg with an X and the other side with an O and place the eggs in a carton or pan to allow them to warm up to room temperature.

    How to Use a Hova-Bator Incubator to Hatch a Chicken Egg
    Place the eggs in a carton to warm up to room temperature. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)
  5. 5

    Lay the eggs on the wire floor of the incubator when the eggs are warm and the incubator has reached the appropriate temperature. Let them lay naturally, do not prop them up against the incubator side or any other eggs. Place all eggs with the X side up.

  6. 6

    Replace the incubator lid firmly on the base.

    Incubating the Eggs

  1. 1

    Turn the eggs from the X to the O side two to three times daily for 18 days. Check the water level in the trough during the turning. Refill the trough if the water level drops to half of the original level.

  2. 2

    Add clean water to both the outer and inner troughs in the incubator base 19 to 20 days after incubation started. Replace the incubator lid firmly and do not remove until the chicks have hatched. This should occur on day 21.

  3. 3

    Move the chicks from the incubator to the brooder only after all chicks have hatched. This should be within 24 hours after the first chick emerged. Some weaker chicks may not break the shell until a day or two after this, but most will emerge within 24 hours.

    How to Use a Hova-Bator Incubator to Hatch a Chicken Egg
    Baby chicks should hatch within 21 days. (John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Tips and warnings

  • Ideal room temperature is from 68 to 78F. Provide fresh air without drafts. The incubator should sit level and be out of direct sunlight. Keep the room temperature consistent with no extreme fluctuations. Keep the water trough at the bottom of the incubator full during incubation. The water helps keep the eggs from drying out.
  • Drafts and temperature fluctuations in the room where the incubator is set will cause problems with the egg development. Frequently removing the incubator lid expels the warm air needed for a successful hatching. Remove the lid only for egg turning and replace the lid as quickly as possible after turning.

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