Temperature Control in an Egg Incubator

by Susan Carter | Last Updated: March 23, 2017 When you buy something using the links on our posts, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Learn more.

Hatching your own eggs is a really fun thing to do because there are some great rewards that come along with it. There are a few things that are key to successfully hatching some eggs. Having the proper temperature is perhaps the number one factor that determines if your eggs are going to hatch.

Keep reading and find out everything that you need to know about controlling the temperature in your incubator.

Why Do The Eggs Need To Be At A Certain Temperature?

The eggs need to be at the temperature that they would naturally be at when they are being incubated by the mother hens. The minimum temperature can be no lower than 99 degrees Fahrenheit and the maximum temperature cannot exceed 103 degree Fahrenheit.

The reason that the temperature cannot be any lower than 99 is because the embryos in the eggs may not develop properly and may have underdeveloped internal organs when they hatch. Also being too cold may cause the eggs to hatch late or not hatch at all.

That being said, it is a lot more important to not exceed the maximum temperature than it is to not go below the minimum temperature. If the eggs are too hot during the incubation period there is a good chance that they will die from overheating or at the least they will have abnormalities that will cause them to die shortly after birth.

Preparing Your Incubator For Incubation

The first thing that you want to do before incubating your eggs is to check the temperature inside the incubator and to make sure that it holds the temperature steadily. The incubator needs to be able to hold the temperature steadily because large fluctuations, especially when they happen often, will restrict growth and may cause abnormalities in the embryos, resulting in less of them hatching.

Take a bowl of warm water and place a thermometer inside of it. Make sure that the bulb of the thermometer is roughly 1 inch above the screen as this is where the eggs will be sitting.

Make sure that your incubator can hold steady to within 2 degree, preferably between 100 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit. You will want to make the proper adjustments if your incubator is not holding steady. There may be a problem with the bulbs, the power supply, or the ventilation in the case that temperature is not holding steady.

How To Control Temperature In An Incubator

One of the first things that you want to do is to make sure that your incubator is in one piece and does not have any cracks. Any cracks or damage will have to be repaired or if you are unable to do so you will need a new incubator.

Another thing that you want to do if there are any inconsistencies in maintaining temperature is to make sure that your power outlet has a steady supply of electricity.

how-to-control- temperature

Photo Credit: www.backyardchickens.com

The best way to raise or lower the temperature in an incubator is to use the ventilation shafts at the top. If the incubator is too hot you can open the ventilation shafts more and if it is too cold you can close the ventilation shafts more.

The next way that you can control the temperature in your incubator is by using bulbs of different sizes and strength. Different sized incubators will require different sized bulbs to achieve the same temperatures.

The strength and size of bulb needed is something that you will have to consult the instruction manual of your particular incubator to figure out.


Photo Credit: www.backyardchickens.com

Another good way to control temperature is to make sure that the air flows around on the inside. You are going to want to have a little fan to make the temperature distribute evenly around the incubator.

Hot air rises and cool air falls and this will cause the temperature at the top of the incubator to be higher than at the bottom.

This can be disastrous for the eggs. To combat this use a small fan that is on the inside of the incubator. If the fan is set too high you may cause the incubator to cool down too much, in which case you will want to turn the fan back. This is something that you might have to figure out through some trial and error.

How to Identify and Fix Temperature Fluctuations in an Incubator

Getting the correct, stable temperature is one of the conditions that are instrumental in the success rate of hatching. However, there are times when this expectation does not match reality.

Consequently, you can end up with a fluctuation in the temperature of your incubator, a situation that can interfere with the success rate of your eggs.

However, the causes of these temperature fluctuations can still be identified and resolved. In this article we share some of the causes of potentially detrimental temperature fluctuations and how you can address them. Keep reading to learn more.


Causes of Incubator Temperature Fluctuations

1. Opening the incubator frequently

One of the ways through which an incubator loses heat is through frequent opening. This is because the more frequently you open the incubator, the more heat escapes. Make sure that you minimize the number of times you open the incubator in order to avoid this loss.

Open the incubator only when it is absolutely necessary, for instance, when you need to candle eggs.


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2. Exposure to direct sunlight

Exposure to direct sunlight is another reason why incubators experience extreme temperature changes. If you notice that the incubator is overheating, you need to check if there is direct sunlight shining through into the room or on the incubator.

To resolve this issue, make sure that you adjust the position of the incubator to keep away from direct sunlight.

3. Reduced water levels

When water levels in the incubator’s trough reduce, the incubator will overheat. In such a case, you need to do the following: refill the water trough and then leave the incubator’s cover lid open for some time so that the temperature can reduce back to normal. You need to give it at least half to one hour.

4. Adding water that is too cold or hot

Another cause of excess or too low temperatures in the incubator is the water that you add in it for the purposes of maintaining humidity. If the water has a temperature that is different from the one in the incubator, it will either lower or increase the temperature to extremes.

Make sure that the temperature of the water you add into the incubator is at the same level with the one in the incubator.


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5. Unplugged connections

Another reason why temperature in the incubator drops is unplugged connections. This is common in a home that has kids or pets which can accidentally unplug the incubator from its power source. You need to ensure that all the power plugs to the incubators are not exposed to cheeky kids or pets.

Additionally, you need to check and confirm if the socket on the wall is in its proper working condition. If it is blown, you need to replace it in order to have undisrupted power supply and stable temperature.


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Right temperature in the incubator is an important factor in the entire hatching process and matrix. But due to a number of factors that we have discussed above, you may end up with either a drop or increase in the temperatures of the incubator.

There are many factors that do contribute to this fluctuation and they can be identified and be remedied on time. If you follow the guidelines provided in this article you can be able to troubleshoot and get the cause of the extremes and fix them with ease.

By so doing, you will end up enhancing the chances of hatching success that you can harvest from your hatching efforts.