It is indisputable that we can raise chickens and other poultry birds even without living on the farm. Backyard poultry farming is pretty interesting and widely practiced but it often requires energy, commitments, and technicalities, such as hatching their fertilized eggs in other to get chicks. I will like to point out that not all hens sit on their eggs to hatch them. Hence, you will need a small or mini egg incubator to hatch those eggs.
Even as a beginner to backyard chicken farming, it is important that you have an egg incubator. This is because when your hens that to lay eggs, they might refuse to sit on them. Sometimes, predators like snakes, mongooses or weasels could come to steal the eggs. But with an incubator, your chicken eggs will get the warmth and humidity required for chick formation and successful hatching. Additionally, all the eggs in an incubator are safe from predators.
There are so many egg incubators on the market today and they come in different types, shapes, features, prices and functionalities. For a beginner, all the variations coupled with the lack of experience make an egg incubator buying process a difficult task.
This buying guide provides you with the most useful information about egg incubators, so you can find the best mini egg incubator for beginners like you. At the end of this guide, you can find reviews of five (5) best mini egg incubators including our top pick from Magicfly, which comes with a LED display, automatic egg turner, auto temperature control and can hold up to 12 chicken eggs. All these features come at a pocket-friendly price.
Vital Considerations When Choosing or Buying a Mini Egg Incubator
As mentioned above, choosing the right egg incubator as a beginner isn’t so easy to do. This is simply because there are several types and models of incubators that come with different features. So, if you’re trying to buy an egg incubator for the first time, you need to know the things that you must consider in order to make a decision – the right decision at that. If you ever make the mistake of buying the wrong incubator, getting a refund or achieving the best results might not be possible.
The following should consider the following before you choose or buy an egg incubator
Size and Capacity
You should consider the size of an incubator because the incubator would take up some space in your home. It is bad to move an incubator every time, especially when you have eggs inside it. So, it is important to buy an egg incubator that will fit in conveniently to the space or place created for it.
As a beginner or if you have just a few fertilized chicken eggs that are not more than 10, a mini egg incubator is what you buy. Most mini egg incubators can hold up to 12 eggs at a go and one mini incubator is usually sufficient for a beginner or hobby breeder. However, for large numbers of eggs, a medium or large incubator will be required for successful incubation.
Don’t forget that different bird species have different egg sizes. Quail eggs are the smallest, next is chicken eggs and the largest is the ostrich. Therefore, you should consider the bird species and egg size before making your decision.
Airflow and Ventilation System
Based on the airflow system, an incubator can be either a still-air incubator or a forced-air incubator. The still air incubators have no fans and the temperature needs to be higher before the eggs can get the required heat. They are also trickier and harder because almost all operations such as temperature control, egg turning and ventilation are done manually. For a beginner, using a still-air incubator is not a good option. However, this type of incubator has its advantages which include lesser mechanical issues and higher durability.
The forced-air incubator uses a fan to circulate warm air in the incubator. So, you wouldn’t need to worry about ventilation. If it is an automatically forced-air incubator that comes with an auto temperature and humidity controller, the hands-on effort that is required is usually low. Forced-air incubators are the most beginner-friendly, but they are often costlier, unlike the still-air type.
Temperature and Humidity Control
Both temperature and humidity are important to embryonic development and hatching. The standard temperature and humidity required for successful incubation are 99-102oF and 20-60% respectively. Any values lower or higher than those ranges would result in a poor hatch rate.
Some incubators come with a thermostat to automatically regulate temperature while others don’t have this feature. There are also incubators with an auto-humidity controller. So they automatically adjust the humidity level within the incubator to what has been set. An incubator that features an automatic temperature and humidity control is the most recommend for newbies or beginners. To use incubators with manual controllers, the user must be well-experienced in egg incubation and handling.
The construction materials of an incubator must be considered when choosing an egg incubator. You must carefully find out the materials used to build the exterior and interior parts of the incubator – it is very important.
The materials used for constructing incubators are mostly ABS and polycarbonates. They are easy to clean and non-toxic and recyclable. You should avoid incubators built with non-Eco-friendly, toxic and difficult-to-clean materials. The internal parts are mostly made with plastic except for the heating elements, fan and other parts that are made with metals. While these metallic parts may break down after some time, you can easily replace them.
If you’ve ever taken some time to observe broody hens, you must have discovered that they turn their eggs from time to time. This shows how important it is to turn eggs during incubation. The reason for this is so that the embryo will not stick to one side of the shell as this will lead to unsuccessful hatching. Therefore, you must keep turning the eggs in your incubator consistently for the first 18 days. It is expected of you to turn these eggs two to three times a day.
Some egg incubators feature automatic egg turners while for other others, egg turning is done manually.
Now that we’ve discussed the features that are necessary to watch out for before purchasing any incubator, it is time we go into discussing the top 5 mini incubators on the market today.
Best Mini Egg Incubators for Beginners
These top 5 incubators are the very best on the market and it is nearly difficult to say which is better than the other. But we carried out extensive research on each product to come up with some little features that set some of them above others.
What would you think about an egg incubator that won the heart of the editor? The Magicfly Digital Fully Automated Mini Egg Incubator is a great and one of the best mini incubators for beginners. It is a forced-air incubator that has confirmed to be very easy to use, beginner-friendly and guarantees peace of mind for its users. It is a perfect incubator for classroom demonstrations, small backyard poultry farmers and teaching kids.
This particular model of Magicfly egg incubator has the capacity to incubate 9 chicken eggs and 12 guinea fowl eggs at once. Of course, you can use it to incubate the eggs of quails, geese and guinea fowls. It has both an automated temperature controller and an egg turner. If you don’t pay much attention to the egg turner, you will assume that it is not functioning but it is functioning – it is just very slow. With the egg turner working automatically, you will be able to save time and minimize hand contact with eggs, which may predispose the eggs to harmful bacteria or germs.
It is worth mentioning that this incubator is made with PP + ABS materials. Therefore, it is easy to clean, antiseptic and durable. It comes with an LED display at the top of which makes it easier to monitor or keep track of the temperature. Unfortunately, the Magicfly Digital Fully Automated Mini Egg Incubator does not come with a hygrometer, but you can get a good and accurate humidity reader on the market at a very pocket-friendly price. You will need to manually adjust the humidity and add or remove water as needed.
You can name the Magicfly Digital Fully Automated Mini Egg Incubator a ‘set and forget’ incubator. For a beginner, buying this mini incubator is a good decision because it is a great value for money.
We cannot leave out the Brinsea brand when talking about the best mini egg incubators. The Brinsea Mini II Advance Incubator falls into the category of the best mini egg incubators. Buying this particular incubator would be one of the best decisions you will make. Why? As a beginner, you can use the Brinsea Mini II Advance Incubator with ease and even achieve a 100% hatch rate. It is fully automated; therefore, manual egg handling is minimized and this reduces the possibility of contaminating the eggs.
This forced-air egg incubator is the best fit for beginners and anyone new to poultry breeding because of its major features. They include automatic egg turning, temperature alarm system and a countdown to hatch and auto-stop.
The Brinsea Mini II Advance Egg Incubator has a standard egg holding capacity of 7 eggs (chicken, turkey, duck and goose). But if you want to increase the capacity to 14 eggs, you can purchase a 12-small egg disc.
Egg turning normally stops two days before hatching. This was considered by the manufacturer of this incubator and they added an auto-stop to the automatic egg turning system. So you don’t have to worry even if you forget to disable egg turning at the right time. Also, being an easy-to-use incubator, there is an in-built digital display and micro-controls on the incubator where users can view the remaining days to hatching, incubator temperature and humidity readings, and egg turning status. You can also adjust the setting of the temperature, turning angle and interval, cooling duration and temperature alarm limits easily via the controls close to the digital display unit at the top.
This incubator comes with central water reservoirs with external water top-ups in other to control the humidity. Of course, the Brinsea Mini II Advance Egg Incubator has exceptional visibility, making the incubator perfect for teachers, hobbyists and small scale breeders.
Cleaning this incubator is easy because it is made hygienic ABS plastics. This material also increases its durability. That said, you might find this product expensive as a mini incubator, but it worth the price considering the features it has.
Beginners who want to try a mini egg incubator should give the Brinsea Mini II Advance Incubator higher considerations. It is indeed a great value for the money.
Are you new to egg incubators or wanted to give mini egg incubators a try? You should consider the HBlife Digital Fully Automatic Incubator. This HBlife incubator model is the perfect fit for you if you’re just learning about egg incubators, have a very small space or trying to demonstrate or experiment with incubators. There is no doubt that you will find this incubator easy to use, and despite its small size, its versatility is impressive.
This incubator has an inbuilt fan and holds 9 chicken/goose/duck eggs or 16 quail/pigeon eggs. Being a fully automatic incubator, it features automatic egg turning, temperature and humidity control.
Since the egg turning function is automatic, it saves you the time and hassle of turning the eggs yourself. This also lowers the chances of the eggs being contaminated because you won’t be touching the eggs every time.
Likewise, the humidity and temperature controls are automatic. Many users testify to the incubator’s ability to hold temperature very well and maintain stable humidity in order to achieve an impressive hatch rate. Although the manufacturer recommends that the device should be enclosed with clothes to achieve temperature uniformity, reduce the dissipation of heat and save energy. There is a digital display unit on the incubator lid where you can check or monitor the temperature reading.
The HBlife 9-12 Digital Fully Automatic Incubator is built with the PC+ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene). This kind of material is easy to clean, non-toxic, durable and environment-friendly.
Although a new incubator, the Kebonnixs 12 Egg Incubator is among the best mini egg incubator for beginners on the market. This incubator is not only for beginners, it is also suitable for home, classroom and lab use because of its high reliability, durability and ease-of-use. It can be used for teaching kids or demonstration. With this incubator, you can hatch 12 standard eggs whether they are quail, chicken, goose or duck eggs. Even though it is a little costlier than some of the incubators above, the Kebonnixs incubator provides similar features that others carry and an additional feature – an egg candler.
An egg candler is a device used to check if an egg is fertilized and to observe embryonic development in an egg. Most incubators on the market don’t come with egg candles. It is usually bought separately. However, the Kebonnixs 12 Egg Incubator comes with an inbuilt LED egg candler for users to track and monitor the egg development.
This incubator model features an advanced temperature control program. In simple words, it uses a technology that tracks and records changes in temperature thrice in one second. It is these data gathered that the incubator uses to provide a much more stable temperature. Additionally, the built-in air fan and water channel in the incubator help to maintain humidity. It has an external water top-up and you won’t need to open the lid of the incubator to fill water, thereby causing fluctuations in humidity and temperature. Get real-time updates on the humidity and temperature conditions including egg turning time and hatching date with the digital display at the top.
There is a viewing window on all sides of the incubator, making it easy for you to see your eggs and chicks and other things going on inside the incubator.
The automatic egg turner works every minute by tilting and rolling the eggs. When it remains 3 days for the eggs to hatch, the automatic egg turning will stop.
If you want to have a higher hatch rate or learn egg incubation easily, the Kebonnixs 12 Egg Incubator should be highly considered.
The Triocottage Digital Mini Automatic Incubator is another small incubator that can give you an easy and happy egg incubation experience. For both beginners, hobbyists and experts, this is one of the best mini egg incubators. It is also great for classroom demonstrations, teaching kids about incubations and home poultry breeding. It is easy to use, reliable, well-designed and beginner-friendly.
Made with non-toxic Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) plastic material, this incubator is easy to clean and durable. If you like or observe your eggs right from the outside, there is a viewing window at the front of the incubator. The window is visible enough for you to see what is happening inside the incubator.
This incubator is the forced-air type (comes with a built-in fan) and the fan distributes heat and air to all the eggs in the incubator. Temperature control is automatic and accurate. There is a clear led display at the top showing the temperature reading. This device also comes with a Styrofoam as extra insulation for better stable temperature which is highly essential for a good hatch rate.
For effective humidity control, the Triocottage digital mini automatic incubator has a stepped sink underneath it. The stepped sink is filled with different amounts of water in different periods.
By using this incubator, you don’t need to turn the eggs yourself. It features an automated egg turner, which works every two hours. This also reduces manual egg handling and chances of contaminating the eggs with germs through the hands. Note that you need to stop egg turning when it’s 3 days to hatching.
Unlike most mini incubators, this mini incubator model comes with a built-in LED egg candler to check if eggs are fertilized and monitor the embryonic development. The holding capacity is 15 chicken eggs or 10 large eggs like duck, goose and turkey eggs.