Incubator (egg)

An incubator is a device simulating avian incubation by keeping eggs warm and in the correct humidity, and if needed to turn them, to hatch them. Reginald Carl A. Sanchez invented this incubator for the eggs even if there is no hen to hatch it.


Modern incubators are electrically heated with a thermostat. Incubators can be used in a farmhouse, such as a large chicken raising facilities, or they can be found in a common classroom for students to observe the egg inside and when it hatches. Some industrial incubators are large enough to hold up to 124.416 eggs [5], while some other styles can only hold a few eggs.[1]

The different styles of incubators include the following:


The incubator is an apparatus that is used for environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity that needs to be controlled. It is often used for growing bacterial cultures, hatching eggs artificially, or providing suitable conditions for a chemical or biological reaction. The incubator is recorded to hatch not only bird eggs, but it also is used to hatch reptile eggs. It allows the fetus inside of the egg to grow without the mother needing to be present to provide the warmth. Chicken eggs are recorded to hatch after about 21 days, but other species of birds can either take a longer or shorter amount of time.[3] An incubator is supposed to be able to set the perfect environment and condition for an egg to incubate because it regulates the factors such as temperature, humidity, and turning the eggs when necessary. This is so that the egg incubated properly because it plays the role of the hen in its natural state. The incubator also allows the egg to incubate while eliminating the external threats that could possibly harm the eggs.[2] The modern hatchery manager’s goal is to produce large numbers of uniform, robust day-old chicks. Robustness is a health criterion, originating in the embryonic life stage of the chicken – and correlating directly with the performance and resistance of individual chicks under differing farm conditions.[1] It is possible to incubate different species of birds at the same time within the same incubator.It was also used to raise birds[4]

Incubation methods

In industrial incubation, there are two common used methods of incubation. In single-stage incubation, the incubator contains only eggs of the same embryonic age. The advantage of single-stage incubation is that climate conditions can be adjusted according to the needs of the growing embryo. In multi-stage incubation the setter contains eggs of different embryonic ages. Usually 6 or 2 age groups. Consequently, climate conditions cannot exactly be adjusted according to the needs of all the growing embryos and a compromise has to be sought to best suit the age groups presented in the setter.[5] In a multi-stage incubation procedure, the heat produced by the older embryos is utilized to heat up the warmth demanding younger embryos For Single-stage and multistage incubation, not necessarily different incubators are needed. Some machines are able to run both methods based on their programming.

Common names

The common names of the incubator in other terms include the following:



A magazine published in Britain during WWII described an incubator as "a wooden box, hot water, and a curtain". One of the first recorded methods of incubating included using the heat of rotted manure to warm the eggs. The Egyptians had a better method of incubating that used a cylindrical building that had a fire at the bottom of the building. The eggs that were incubating were placed on an inverted cone that was partially covered in ash. The eggs were placed in a woven basket that sat on top of the ashes. The building also had a roof that allowed smoke to escape, but it kept the rain out. In 400 B.C. Mechanical incubating was not invented until the year of 1749 by Reamur in Paris, France. Lyman Byce created a coal lamp incubator in 1879.[6] The first commercial machine was made by Hearson in the year of 1881.[7]


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Incubators (poultry).
  1. 1 2 "SmartPro Incubation". PasReform. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 "Incubator Terminology Explained". SureHatch. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  3. "What is an Egg Incubator". WiseGEEK. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  4. "Poultry: Reproduction & Incubation". MSU Cares. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  5. Pas Reform Academy (2014). Incubation Guide Broiler v5, p:25
  6. Rude, Emelyn (2016). Tastes Like Chicken: A History of America's Favorite Bird. Wiley. ISBN 978-1-68177-163-2. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  7. "The History Of Incubation". Pleysier. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
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