Artificial Incubation is carried out by the help of an incubator.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.
An incubator is a machine that imitates a mother hen. Eggs need four things to hatch: proper heat, moisture, ventilation, and turning. Eggs need heat to grow and develop. Ideal incubator temperature is around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on what kind of an incubator you have, the temperature should be slightly higher or slightly lower. No matter what, the temperature should not rise above 102 degrees or fall below 98 degrees. Too high of a temperature will quickly kill the embryos. Too low of a temperature is not a problem for a short time, but if it goes on for too long, the embryos will become chilled and die.
Eggs need moisture, because without it the insides of an egg will evaporate and shrivel up. To prevent this, we need to add water to our incubator to keep it humid. Our incubator should have water rings or a water tray for this purpose. Humidity should start out low, and get higher as the eggs come closer to hatching time. We should be sure that there is plenty of water in the incubator during the hatch.
Growing embryos need ventilation, because like all living things, they require oxygen. A “still-air” incubator is ventilated by the force of gravity pushing air through small holes. The best temperature for a still-air incubator is 100-102 degrees. A”forced-air” incubator is one that is ventilated with a fan that pushes air through it. The best temperature for a forced-air incubator is 98- 100 degrees.
Eggs need to be turned to prevent the embryo from sticking to the shell, and to rotate it to an area with more nutrition. If we do not have an automatic turner in our incubator, we should do it by hand. With a pencil, mark each egg with an “O” on one side and an “X” on the other. Each time you turn the eggs, they should be rotated one half turn, from “O” to “X” or “X” to “O.”
Most people store their eggs before incubation so they can acquire all the eggs they want and incubate them all at the same time. Eggs should be stored in a cool place such as a basement. Do not store them in a refrigerator – that is too cold. Do not store them for more than two weeks. Store them at an angle with the big end up, and turn them once or twice everyday.
DIFFERENT TERM USED FOR INCUBATOR
- Breeding machines
- Hatching machines
- Egg incubator
- Artificial incubation equipment
- Egg breeding equipment
- Egg hatching equipment
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 being used to hatch bird eggs and reptile eggs. It lets the fetus inside the egg 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 take a longer or shorter amount of time. Incubators are also used to raise birds.
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.It is possible to incubate different species of birds at the same time within the same incubator.
METHODS OF INCUBATION:
In commercial incubation, there are two common used methods of incubation. They are:
1. 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 3 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. In a multi-stage incubation procedure, the heat produced by the older embryos is used to heat the warmth-demanding younger embryos in the same machine.
We must be careful while turning eggs in incubator machine. Following precaution should be taken in this procedure:
- Eggs must be gently handled. Rough handling can break delicate blood vessels and kill the embryos.
- Only hatch eggs from healthy hens.
- Don’t keep opening the incubator during the hatch. If you want to watch the hatch, make sure to buy an incubator with plastic viewing window.