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Published: 25/05/2016

What is a fully automatic incubator?

In this blog post, we'll attempt to answer a common question regarding egg incubators for sale; what does 'automatic' or 'fully automatic' mean?

Put simply, the term 'fully automatic' refers to the egg-turning ability of the incubator. A 'fully automatic' incubator will automatically turn the eggs throughout the incubation period. Automatic incubators usually use rotating egg trays, moving floors, or a cradle in which the full incubator will sit. 

To answer this question more fully, let's discuss the three types of incubator available on the market...

Manual Incubators require all egg turning to be done by hand. The eggs need to be individually picked up from the incubator, turned by hand, and placed back inside the machine.

Semi-Automatic Incubators again require egg turning to be done by hand. However, Semi-automatic incubators allow all the eggs to be turned at once, saving you time. To turn all the eggs at once, a semi-automatic incubator will use an external push/pull rod to move the incubator floor; or, the machine will have a specially shaped base which allows the incubator to be tipped from one side to the other, thus gravity will change the position of the fluid inside the egg.

Fully automatic incubators feature fully automated egg turning. Once the machine is set-up, egg turning is achieved automatically via a cradle to rock the incubator, or a moving floor. Some fully automatic incubators, such as the Hova-Bator Automatic Incubator (pictured above) include a motorised egg tray which slowly tips the eggs from side to side.

Common misconceptions

The term 'automatic' is often misinterpreted by new incubator users as meaning full temperature control. To clarify this point it is important to note that all incubators (manual, semi-automatic and fully-automatic) will control temperature automatically. Without this basic function, a machine would cease to become an 'incubator' and would simply be a warm box. In all incubators, temperature is automatically controlled via a digital thermostat, or an analog thermostat. In both cases, the thermostat with fluctuate between its ‘high tolerance’ and ‘low tolerance’. The thermostat will click-on and click-off periodically in order to maintain an average temperature throughout incubation (the process is very similar to how an electric oven works, just at much lower temperatures).

When you first introduce the eggs into the incubator, the temperature will drop as the cooler eggs take a little while to warm up. Once the eggs reach temperature, they will maintain their core heat allowing the incubator to warm up and cool down as necessary, all controlled from the thermostat. This process is the same for all incubators; regardless and completely independent of their egg-turning ability.

Any questions?

I hope this short blog has been a useful definition of a 'fully automatic' incubator. If there are any questions, feel free to get in touch, or use the comments section below.

Happy Hatching! 

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