Before you even look at incubator brands, you should determine how many eggs you would like to hatch at once. Incubators come in many different sizes and shapes, starting with only a few eggs and running all the way up to a few thousand. What is the size of your coop or yard where the future chicks will be living? Be certain you will have enough room for however many eggs you could potentially hatch.
If you’re not sure yet, read this article to learn how many chickens should you start with.
Something to remember is that no matter how many eggs you place in the incubator, it is likely that you will not hatch quite that many. In other words…don’t count your chickens before they hatch. But do choose your incubator based on how many chickens you wishwould hatch!
Another important planning point is to determine where you are storing the incubator during the incubation period. Be sure that you are choosing an incubator that will fit in that space. Additionally, make sure you are choosing an incubator that will be easy to clean regularly in that space. Something to keep in mind is that some incubators do not have automatic turners for the eggs. If your incubator does not, be certain you will be able to get to the eggs to turn them on schedule.
If you choose a manual over automatic, make sure you know how to turn the eggs in the incubator.
Next you should decide how you would like to handle and measure your humidity and temperature. Some incubators have an automatic humidity pump, while others leave you to your own devices (sponges, pots, or channels). Not all incubators come with a thermometer, so if you would rather not buy one separately, pay close attention when purchasing your incubator.
Next, you will obviously want to choose based on cost. The incubators with more bells and whistles come at a higher price, but they might save you some time. On the other hand, some people prefer to do things by hand so that they can remain more involved in the process (or they just want their wallets to stay a little less empty). Choose what you think is best for your circumstances and commitment level.