The process of incubating chicken eggs can be a really exciting one for everyone involved, but there are a few important steps to tackle first. Before you even acquire your fertile eggs, you should have the incubator set up and ready to go. But that leads to the question of, where should you even put your chicken egg incubator in the first place?
The incubator should go in a room with stable temperature and humidity levels, free of drafts and sunlight.
The placement of the incubator is key, as the temperature and humidity play a huge role in the success of your hatch. So, if you’re looking into starting a flock or just need to find a better place for your incubator, then keep reading to find out!
Where Should You Keep Your Chicken Egg Incubator?
The best place to keep your chicken egg incubator is in a room with stable temperature and humidity as fluctuations in either can lead to a lower hatch success rate.
An ideal ambient temperature for the room your incubator is in should be around 70-75℉. However, a room can easily be around 55-65℉ and still have a successful hatch, as long as you are careful to keep the incubator’s temperature around 99-100℉ and the room itself maintains a stable temperature.
By the way, remember that spring is the best time to breed, incubate and hatch chicken eggs because hens are more likely to become broody, and the temperature outside makes for ideal incubation.
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What Factors Affect Chicken Egg Incubators?
There are four variables that seem to have the most profound effect on incubating chicken eggs: temperature, humidity, drafts and sunlight.
How these factors affect chicken eggs varies slightly, but they all have a similar result whenever the ideal environment is not kept up, which is hatch failures.
The external temperature can have a significant and sometimes negative effect on the eggs that are in your incubator. The biggest and most important rule to remember is that the ambient temperature of the room the incubator is in will only affect the incubator if the swings are either too high or too low for the machine to compensate for the changes.
Humidity plays a significant role in the process of incubating chicken eggs. When the humidity is not kept at ideal levels, that is when people see more cases of unsuccessful hatches. As a matter of fact, improper humidity levels inside the incubator is the biggest reason for hatch failures.
On days 1-18 of the 21-day incubation process, your machine should be set to a humidity level of 50-55% when using the traditional method. By the final 3 days, you will increase humidity to 70%.
If you are struggling to have successful hatches, and you think it’s because of humidity issues, then look into using the “dry incubation method”. You can read more about it here!
A drafty room will only mean inconsistent temperatures.
The frequent breezes will eventually have a profound effect on the incubator’s internal temperature, especially if it is significantly hot or cold outside.
Remember, stable temperatures are key!
While sunlight feels great and is something that is actually important to human and animal physiology, when it comes to incubating eggs, you should save the sunbathing for when the chicks are hatched.
The beams of sunlight actually will cause the machine to have difficulty regulating the internal temperature and humidity.
You will probably notice condensation building up on the walls of the incubator, which is not good unless you are in the final 3 days, or the “lockdown phase”, of incubating your eggs.
Best Areas Of The Home To Keep Your Chicken Egg Incubator
The best areas of the home to keep your chicken egg incubator are where the temperature stays as consistent as possible.
That means you don’t want the temp in the room changing much (or at all) from day to night. Fluctuations in temperature and improper humidity levels are the biggest reasons for unsuccessful hatches.
Anywhere With A Stable Temperature
Many homesteaders find the basement to be an ideal location for their chicken egg incubator. A cool pantry or guest bathroom can also serve as potential locations for your incubator.
Your home’s temperature will fluctuate some throughout the day, and that’s simply something that no one can control. However, there are parts of the home that have a more consistent temperature than others, which is where choosing the ideal location can determine how successful your hatching experience is.
Areas Of The Home To Avoid With Your Incubator
When you’re plotting out your ideal incubator resting place in your home, there are a few things you will want to ensure during the 21-day adventure.
Stay Away From Sunny Rooms
Eggs are quite sensitive to temperature fluctuations and they require consistent temp and humidity in order to have the highest success possible. As you can imagine, the ambient temperature of the room the incubator is in can have a dramatic effect on the temp and humidity levels inside the incubator.
That’s why keeping your incubator in a room with bright windows that see much sunlight isn’t the best idea. While it might not seem like it’s not a big deal, the sun brings inconsistent temperatures, especially if it is shining on the incubator.
Do not put your incubator in a conservatory, sunroom, porch or area with lots of sunlight and unstable temperatures.
Avoid The Drafty Rooms
Parts of the house with doors and windows that are drafty or opened frequently can and will most certainly bring issues with your sensitive incubating eggs. While keeping the incubator in a part of the home that is easier to see or access might be more convenient, areas with opening doors and drafty windows are a danger to the unhatched eggs.
Do not put your incubator in a living room, mudroom, garage or area with frequently opening doors or near a vent or window.
Don’t Use Rooms With Warm Appliances
I wouldn’t suggest using a room with a fireplace, radiator or any kind of overly warm appliance. That goes for the kitchen too! Anywhere where there is a device that puts off heat, the temperature can’t stay the same.
Inevitably, you will notice your incubators thermometer fluctuating as your appliance is used. This can spell disaster if the swings in temperature are too much for the incubator to appropriately compensate.
Do not put your incubator in the kitchen, near a radiator or in a hot area with poor ventilation.
Finding The Perfect Place For Your Chicken Egg Incubator
My first recommendation is to have this figured out and the machine set up before you ever receive your eggs for incubation. We know that we need to avoid rooms with direct sunlight, fluctuating temperatures and drafts, so how can you choose the best place for your incubator?
If you’re unsure about how consistent a room’s temperatures are, look into purchasing a cheap thermometer to keep nearby. If you suspect that the humidity levels won’t stay stable then a hygrometer can be a helpful tool as well.
Sometimes a home doesn’t have an area with minimal sunlight or doors, so covering the windows with a thick blanket or temporarily closing off a room can help a lot. In my home, I use a dark, cool pantry that has consistent temperatures every season except for winter. Which is fine because I don’t like to hatch eggs in the wintertime.
Also make sure to breed chickens at the best season (check this other article to learn more about this).
Conclusion: Where To Place Your Chicken Egg Incubator?
When it comes to incubating chicken eggs, it’s always important to remember that it is a learning experience for everyone. Your climate, the season, your home’s ambient temperature and humidity levels as well as a little bit of luck go into the success of your hatch, so try not to get discouraged if you don’t have as many peeping chicks at the end of the 21 days.
There is a perfect place for an incubator in any home, so as long as you find that the temperature and humidity are stable and there are minimal drafts or sunlight, then you should be ready to go!
Related articles on this topic:
- How Long Does It Take For A Chicken Egg To Hatch? (Once it starts to crack)
- How Much Water Do You Put In An Incubator?
- What Happens if you Don’t Turn Eggs in an Incubator?
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