How to incubate chicken eggs? Already during the first months of the year, many farmers start incubating chicken eggs. By means of this article, I would like to show you how to use our Covatutto 16L Digital automatic incubator at best.
The Covatutto 16L Digital automatic is a small incubator, which is particularly suitable for those who start to deal with poultry. This device is simple to use and reliable; it requires little attention and care, allowing the incubation of chicken, quail, turkeys, goose, ducks in an effective way.
Why 16L? This device was calibrated by using eggs selected for industrial incubators. This Covatutto model can contain up to 16 eggs of a 40x50mm size and up to 14 eggs having a 43x50mm size. If you rear bantam chicken breeds, which lay smaller eggs, the device may contain more eggs; on the contrary, if your hens lay larger or longer and narrower eggs, the device may contain less eggs.
Let’s examine the parts that form the device.
- The bottom contains two water pans: the central pan must be used during the entire incubation period, while the external pan only during the egg-hatching period.
- The main body which will house the egg-turning device and the eggs; it is partially insulated with a polystyrene roller, which helps limiting heat loss.
- The cover, with the egg-turning motor, the heating lamps and the control unit to adjust the value of the temperature.
The digital display that adjusts the parameters of the device shows three icons on the left and two arrows on the right. The icon on the top left corner and the relevant LED show the expected egg-hatching time (1); the central icon on the left reminds when you have to check if it is necessary to add water (2); the lower icon on the left allows switching the egg-turning device (3) ON or OFF. The arrows on the right of the display (4) allow modifying the parameters of the incubator and accessing the menus.
Now, let’s see how you can incubate chicken eggs by using the Covatutto 16L Digital incubator.
Start by selecting a suitable position for the machine. To operate at its best, the Covatutto must be placed in a room with a temperature range included between 64,4°F and 77°F. The optimal humidity values of the room should vary between 55% and 75%. Place the incubator on a raised console. If you place a thin polystyrene sheet under the incubator, it will assure increased insulation from the supporting surface. WARNING: do not use the device in rooms whose temperature is lower than 17 °C. The incubator may be able to start the development of the eggs, but the development of the chicks would be delayed and many of them may not be able to hatch. In addition, do not incubate at temperatures that are too close to 30 °C. IMPORTANT: the eggs are heated by means of lamps that regularly switch OFF and then ON again (the lamp is continuely sparkling). Take this aspect into consideration when you have to decide the room where you want to place the device.
SETTING THE INCUBATOR
The Covatutto 16L Digital incubator was designed to be used in a fully automatic way; despite this, it can be used in two other ways: semi-automatic and manual modes. Therefore, according to the intended use of the device, you must decide if and how to install the egg-turning device. Let’s see the three available options.
- Automatic mode: fasten the pin to the grid, and then install the egg-turning device; after that, add the second part of the handle, which will engage in the egg-turning motor in the cover. After you switch the device ON, press the button in the low left corner of the display in order to activate the egg-turning device.
- Semi-automatic mode: install only the first part of the egg-turning device on the pin of the basic grid, and then fasten the specific crank on it. Twice a day, lift the cover and manually rotate the egg-turning device until all eggs have been turned.
- Manual mode: if you do not install the egg-turning device, you must rotate the eggs by 180° every day, twice a day. When you place the eggs in the incubator, use a pencil to mark number 1 on one side of the egg and number 2 on the opposite side. Place all eggs with number 1 facing upwards, and then, after about 8-12 hours, remove the cover from the incubator and turn the eggs so that the side marked with number 2 faces upwards. After that, continue every day by alternating sides 1 and 2 upwards.
To install the pin for the rotation of the egg-turning device, screw the pin using the supplied screws and fasten it under the bottom grid by using the specific retainer. In all three cases, after 18 incubation days, you must stop turning the eggs and prepare yourself for the hatching phase. However, we will examine this step later.
After you decide the incubation mode you want to use, you must start its preparation. Place the bottom of the incubator on the supporting surface, and then put the central body of the device on it. If you decided to use the automatic or semi-automatic mode, it is time to install the egg-turning device on the pin. Add water to pan number 1 on the bottom until it is full, and then close the cover of the top-up pan that is built-in in the body.
Install the cover over the body of the device; pay attention to the positioning guide, which is to be found on the side. If you decide to use the automatic egg-turning device, make sure that the light-blue pin on the cover exactly engages into the handle of the egg-turning device. Now you’re ready to incubate chicken eggs!
STARTING THE INCUBATION
To starting incubate chicken eggs, it’s time to switch ON the incubator: connect the plug into a power socket; the lamps and the display will switch ON. Press the key in the low left corner, the automatic egg-turning device will start operating; if you do not switch OFF the egg-turning device manually, it will automatically stop three days before the expected egg-hatching date that was set.
The lamps will start flashing; they will switch ON and OFF in order to heat the inside of the incubator. So do not worry, it is their normal operation. When the desired temperature value is reached, it will be kept until the end of the incubation. Indeed, you will soon see that the temperature stabilises around a value of 37.8 °C.
When the desired temperature is reached, disconnect the plug, remove the cover, and then distribute the eggs over the entire grid. Leave a sufficient space so that they can turn quite freely, otherwise if they are too close, there is the risk that they can crack or break due to the automatic or manual egg-turning device. If, despite all your care, some eggs may crack, remove them in a prompt way.
The Covatutto 16L Digital incubator was pre-set with the values that are necessary to incubate chicken eggs: 100°F and 21 days. You can easily modify the aforesaid parameters in the display after switching ON the device.
- How to change the temperature settings: press the key ▲ to display setting value of the device for the previous incubation. If you keep the key ▲ pressed for a few seconds, the value of the temperature being considered will start flashing; use the ▲ and ▼ keys to vary the aforesaid value. You can set temperature values within a range of 25 °C to 40 °C.
- How to change the incubation days settings: press the key ▼ to display the number of days that was set in the device for the previous incubation. If you keep the key ▼ pressed for a few seconds, the number of days will start flashing; use the keys ▲ and ▼ to vary the aforesaid value. The default value is set to 21 days, which are necessary to incubate chicken eggs. You can set a maximum incubation of 40 days. You can press the ▼ key at any time to display the number of remaining days.
- Additional functions: as soon as you switch ON the incubator, the display will show the model of the incubator (C16). Within the following 5 seconds, simultaneously press the two arrows on the right of the display; the wording F01 will be displayed. Then, use the ▲ key to go to function F02. The function F01 allows setting the temperature measurement scale from Celsius (°C) to Fahrenheit (°F) degrees. Remember that 37.8 °C correspond to about 100 °F. On the contrary, the function F02 allows deactivating or activating the switching ON of the LED, which reminds that you have to add water in the pan. For both functions, you can vary the set parameters by using the ▼ key.
The LED in the central icon on the left of the display will periodically remind that you have to check the water in the central pan. Top it up when necessary.
When you incubate chicken eggs, it is necessary to remember that you must candle the eggs, an operation that allows the farmer to check if the eggs were fertilised or not. You can candle the eggs on day 6. Remember that you have to disconnect the plug of the device before opening it. If you find non-fertilised eggs or eggs that have a bad smell, remove them. After you candle the eggs, re-install the cover in the device and re-connect the plug. The short shutdown of the cover will not delete the data from the memory and the egg-turning device will automatically stop on day 18.
Exactly, on day 18! When this incubation period is reached, the LED in the top left corner will switch ON in the display of Covatutto 16L. If you used the automatic egg-turning device and the incubator is set in a correct way, the egg-turning device will stop automatically. Otherwise, to be sure, jut press the button in the low left corner of the display. If, on the contrary, you decided to incubate in manual or semi-automatic mode, you must stop turning the eggs twice a day. After that, add water also in the second pan on the bottom until it is full. During the last three days, you must keep the device as closed as possible not to disturb the eggs. Make sure that the eggs are arranged in horizontal direction and that their pointed pole is not facing upwards.
When you reach day 21, the eggs will begin to hatch. Sometimes, if you incubate chicken eggs of bantam breeds, the egg may hatch already on day 20 or even on day 19. Obviously, the device will continue to keep the set temperature value also longer than the expected hatching term, until you switch it OFF. When the chicks are born, leave them in the incubator for 24 hours, so that their down perfectly dries, and then move them into a heated chicken-brooding house or into a cage with an artificial broody hen.
You will discover that the Covatutto 16L Digital incubator is a reliable and sturdy device for incubate chicken eggs. If you use it in a correct way, it will allow hatching chicks of hens, ducks, turkeys, geese and many other species. In case of any doubts, please do not hesitate to call our Customer-service department or send a message to our Facebook page, we will try to solve your problems and clarify any doubt.
You can freely download the instruction manual of the Covatutto 16L Digital incubator AT THIS LINK.
Do you own an incubator of the Covatutto line and was your egg hatching successful? Please share your experience and the pictures of your chicks in our Facebook page!