China eggs hatching machines

Hatching technical knowledge to improve chicks production

All the new machines are in original setting of constant humidity and temperature before actual operation. To save electricity up to 50%, hot water is recommended to be used for system operation.

Note: This text information is for reference of Medium-sized ~ Large-sized incubating and hatching site setting and running. For small hatching plant, it’s not necessary to 100% follow up this guidance.

Incubating and Hatching site design

which include the below:

- Flat building layout design.

- Ventilation control system design.

These two points must be considered as a whole before programming your workshop site. A proper choice of incubator and hatcher will help you a 50% of success, no doubt about that. For example, a large capacity of incubator and hatcher could be the best choice if you have stable sources of breeding eggs and enough investment, otherwise a medium capacity machine will be better.

When making choice of machine capacity, please always consider the average size of breeding eggs and size of squabs, the certain expansion space needed, and the enlargement of the production possibility. Obviously a too big machine will cost you more and make you a waste of the operation charge, but a too small machine will limit the production space and bring down the producing efficiency.

The workshop site should be equipped with functional space including change room, bathing box, eggs storeroom, fumigation room, watch keeping cubicle, electricity control room, hatching room, hatchlings keeping room, washing room and delivering room etc.

For a scientific working procedure and an ease sanitation and epidemic prevention, the workshops should be arranged in a proper order of breeding eggs collection, disinfection, storage, incubating, birthing, washing and delivering. Below are the measures which are very important but usually being neglected by people:

Partitions are requested to be set up between different areas e.g. clean district and dirty district, also please set up disinfection pools in each passage.

Bathing room is a MUST to guarantee the workers come into workshops without any pollutant.

Area of eggs storeroom should be in a proper direct proportion with the quantity of the breeding eggs.

Ceiling fans should be equipped in hatching room in order to keep the room temperature in an average level.

Exhaust fans should be equipped in disinfection room to make sure the in time air exhaust after disinfection.

For Air ventilation system, a reasonable designed structure would be actually very helpful for a good hatching rate. For example:

In hatching room or birthing room, the waste gas must be exhausted completely outdoor and the fresh air should always being complemented in the same time. Please be noted that the waste gas from hatching/birthing room is not allowed to be absorbed into the hatching room again, especially the waste gas from the birthing room should be 100% forbidden into the hatching room.

Fresh air could be drawn in through air blower, or from the floor windows. In high temperature areas (e.g. West Africa), a temperature reducing facilities is recommended to lower down the temperature of the fresh air from outside.

For machine groups, the waste gas from hatching room could be exhausted through ceiling channels and totally exhausted by air blowers. But for birthing room, the waste gas must 100% go outdoor by direct pipes(Ceiling exhausting is not allowed). For small hatching plant, all the waste gas could be exhausted by direct pipes to outdoor.

A workshop room with 6 meters’ width is fit for machine setting in one line-up, or a room with 9 meters’ width for machine setting in 2 lines. Machine setting for more than 2 lines in a 9 meters’ room width must be divided into several hatching rooms by wall partitions. Actually we don’t recommend the machines in 2 lines in a same room because air ventilation and temperature control could be a problem.

The above information is for reference of medium-sized and large-sized incubating and hatching site. For small hatching plant less than 30,000pcs breeding eggs, a family workshop with necessary equipments could be OK.

Incubator and Hatcher maintenance and usage

Weekly maintenance:

Check the water level in Humidifier Water basin.

Check the sealing position of the machine door.

Check the ventilation system.

Clean the impurities (e.g. fuzz) on the turning handle of wind door to avoid blocking of the turning handle.

Clean the machine by semi-dried dishcloth.

Clean the humidifier water basin each time after getting hatchlings.

Clean the machine top and to remove the impurities if any.

Monthly maintenance.

Check the working situation of fans, humidifier and eggs turning shelf chain.

Check the heating function.

Check the Alert system for over-heating.

Check the working situation of eggs turning shelf.

Clean the machine, humidifier water basin and evaporating dish completely each time after hatchling.

Maintenance for each 3 months:

Clean the probe.

Adjust the humidifier and thermometer.

Grease the bearing of the fans.

Clean the eggs turning worm wheel by machine oil and grease it.

Grease the sliding system of the machine.

Change the motor oil of humidifier and egg turning speed reducer.

Check completely the Machine control system.

Before the stop of using the machine, you need to follow up the below measures for maintenance if you don’t want any trouble:

Dry the machine by its self-heating when the machine is switching on.

Release all the water of the humidifier water basin and dry it.

Grease all the machine operating system after cleaning.


During the machine operation, a regular checking in each 1~2 hours and on time recording is necessary, it could enable you a timely treatment if any abnormal phenomena, especially once you find the machine tactual temperature is different from the temperature displayed on machine control panel, in this case you need to adjust it in time.

The wind door control is very important, please check the wind door setting place and the exact location regularly to make sure they are matching together.

Researching and recording the eggs turning position to make sure the egg shelves are in proper alternating in 2 beveled places on left and right side.

Eggs shelves must be pull in and pull out in a same water level position.

In case the electricity is getting off during the hatching, you are requested to switch off the power supply and to switch on the machine only when the electricity is available again. If the power supply is getting from generator, please always check the stability of output voltage and the direction of generator rotation. Please do the same each time when you change the power supply from Electricity line to generator. Just make sure not to open the hatching room door during the time power off.

During the birthing time, especially during the time the hatchlings are leaving the egg shells, formalin is forbidden to be used for disinfection. Some of the disinfectors are not allowed to be used in hatching machine because they might be erosive to the probe of humidifier.

Please always follow up the operation guidance to run the machine.

Management of breeding eggs

Breeding eggs should be collected not more than 4 times per day from chicken house to reduce the breakage and the possibility of pollution. All the breeding eggs must be disinfected 2 hours after collection and being delivered to the egg store immediately. Please always stay away from strong sunlight and big rain during the way of transportation.

The storage temperature is normally in range of 13~20°C and humidity of 70% and up. Usually the forepart breeding eggs which are in smaller size, thicker shell and denser egg white from young hens could be stored for longer time while the medium-term breeding eggs need to be shorter in storage because they are in finest size, thickness and egg white. For upper breeding eggs which are in bigger size, thinner shell and egg white, the storage time should be even shorter. Below we list to you a storage condition and time chart for reference: a lower storage temperature is requested if you want to extend the storage time of breeding eggs but whatever, no more than 7 days, otherwise you will have a very bad hatching rate. An important principle, if the storage time over 15 days, all the breeding eggs are worthless.

Age of the hens Storage Temperature Storage Humidity Storage time (days)
25~35 weeks 18°C 70% and up 4~6
36~50 weeks 2~4
51 weeks and after 1~3
Note: In case the storage time must be over 7 days, a storage temperature of 13~15°C is requested.

Breeding egg selection and disinfection

Any egg if is polluted, with shell cracked or broken must be rejected, otherwise it will be a cause of pollution and affecting all the other breeding eggs.

Any egg if is in abnormal thin shell, diseased shell or misshapen must be rejected. The best thickness of the egg shell is about 0.32mm.

The usual weight of breeding egg should be 50~65g per piece, and the egg shape index is 72~76%.

To get the best efficiency of hatching, the breeding eggs should be put on the egg shelves with big part up. For different breeding eggs from different week-aged hens, the storage, the hatching time and the conditions should be different.

Breeding egg disinfection is in actual importance, normally 3 times of disinfection should be arranged. The 1st time will be in chicken house, the 2nd time will be after breeding egg selection but before storage. The 3rd time will be the breeding eggs taken from the storage room but before hatching. The usual way of disinfection is formaldehyde fumigation which is to use triplicate concentration of 42ml Formalin plus 21g/CBM potassium permanganate for 20 minutes fumigation in 20°C temperature(or up) and a humidity of 60-80%RH. After fumigation all the utilities for fumigation must be removed at once and the waste gas need to be exhausted completely by air blower. Another way is to use insufflations for egg fumigation, for example a disinfected diluents (mixture of water and disinfectant in 1:1000) or 1% Hydrogen Peroxide plus 0.5% Peracetic acid and 175ppm quaternary amine to be the insufflations liquid. In this way, please be sure the breeding egg surface has to be insufflated completely.

Water used in storage room must be a kind of disinfected diluents (e.g. a mixture of water and disinfectant in 1:1000). To remain an average temperature in storage room, the breeding eggs should be 30cm away from the wall.

Fumigation room should be aside by the storage room with a space larger than the maximum loading space of breeding eggs for each fumigation, also it should be big enough for loading the fumigation tools. The fumigation room must be equipped with exhaust fans with working capacity (waste gas exhausting rate) more than 20CBM per minute in each 1CBM space.

Temperature and humidity control

Temperature setting is a basic condition in artificial hatching. The temperature should be set up according to the exact situation as the embryonic development could be different when they are from different breeding hens, different incubator and different environment. Basically the temperature range should be 37.2~38.5°C. Another way is to set a fixed temperature as in 37.8+/-0.1 °C but we don’t recommend it frankly because lots of examples approve that fluctuating temperature is in exact higher efficiency than constant temperature hatching.

For hatching in fluctuating temperature control, usually the temperature should be set higher in the beginning and lower later.

When the environmental temperature is 22~27°C, we suggest you a best temperature control as below:

38°C for 1st to 3rd day

37.9°C for 4th to 7th day.

37.8°C for 8th to 12th day.

37.7°C for 13th to 15th day.

37.6°C for 16th to 18th day.

37~37.2°C for birthing.

For constant temperature hatching, 37.8°C could be set under environmental temperature of 20~27°C. In this case the birthing temperature could be set to 37.2°C.

What we listed is just a basic rule for temperature control which could be improved according to the exact situation you need. Please always keep in mind the below points during the temperature adjustment:

The best way to test the temperature setting is to research the embryonic development but it requests experiences accumulation. Generally, 10days after hatching, 90% of embryos should be well shaped and 17days after hatching, 90% of hatching eggs should be light-tight if you take a look from its small side head. Usually experienced people could check the hatching situation only by lighting and to decide the temperature setting for hatching.

Temperature adjustment is very necessary when hatching in different seasons or in different environment. Generally speaking, you should decrease/increase the temperature of 0.1°C when the environmental temperature increased/decreased each 2°C.

As temperature/humidity control will be different for breeding eggs coming from different week age of hens, the best way is to put the breeding eggs from a same source into a same hatching machine. For forepart breeding eggs, the hatching temperature should be 0.1°C higher than normal.

To guarantee an exact temperature control, a frequent checking and recording for the thermometers is requested.

Usually we recommend “Tunnel style hatching machine/incubator” for large chicken farm while “Box-type hatching machine/incubator” for medium/small hatching plant. For box-type incubator, partial hatching is recommended. For example if you are using 19200 eggs incubator or 16800 eggs incubator, the best way is to hatch two racks of eggs per each 10days. In this way, even under constant temperature hatching, you could have a very good hatching rate with expenses saving. Remind: To enable a certain temperature in incubator, all the egg racks must be set in the incubator even without eggs.

Please be noted that the breeding eggs taken from low temperature storage room should be preheated before entering into the hatching machine, because the hatching temperature stability will be affected by the cold eggs and the cold eggs will get sweating on eggshell when meeting with the high temperature/humidity environment inside the machine. All of these could result in polluted eggs.

We proposed a preheating time of 6~8 hours in 24~26 °C temperature. If without a special area for preheating, the preheating process could be arranged in hatching room with a good temperature control to avoid the sweating of the breeding eggs.

See below the temperature/humidity setting rules:

22°C 23°C 24°C 25°C 26°C 27°C 28°C 29°C 30°C
15°C 65 61 57 54 51 48 45 43 40
16°C 69 65 61 57 54 51 48 45 43
17°C 73 69 65 61 58 54 51 49 46
18°C 78 74 69 65 61 58 55 52 49
19°C 83 78 74 69 65 62 58 55 52
20°C 88 83 79 74 69 65 62 58 55
Note: The top horizontal line represents the preheating temperature setting and the 1st vertical line represents the cold eggs temperature. Others are the humidity needed under different temperature position..

During hatching, the humidity control is mainly to avoid the evaporation of breeding eggs moisture and to avoid the weight loss of the eggs. This is to guarantee a well development of embryos and a certain air exchange e.g. the exhaust of CO2 and the absorption of O2. In another point, a proper humidity makes the air a good conduction of heat and an easier heat exchange. What’s more, it was approved that embryos are more sensitive for temperature change than humidity. In short, if the breeding eggs could be in a weight loss rate of 11.5~13% during the hatching period 1~19days, the hatching rate will be very ideal.

When the environmental humidity is 50~60%RH in hatching room, it’s good to set the relative humidity in a range of 55~60% during hatching to guarantee a reasonable weight loss rate. Once the environmental humidity changed to be lower/higher, the setting humidity will be increased/decreased accordingly. For the breeding eggs from new breeders, or aged breeder which nearly be combed out, the humidity could be lower to help a moisture evaporation. For birthing machine, a higher humidity is better, for example minimum 65~70%RH.

Please be noted that the machine humidity (displayed in control panel) is getting thought inner humidity sensor, you are requested to check it regularly and confirm its exactness by another hygrometer. In our experience, Mercury wet and dry bulb hygrometer is much better than alcohol wet and dry bulb hygrometer.

Eggs turning system

Turning eggs is another important process during hatching because a timing turning could change the position of embryos to allow them an average heating. Also it could prevent the adhesion of embryos and to enhance the embryonic development.

It has been approved that turning eggs each hour or each two hours are almost the same for hatching rate. To avoid the machine abrasion and to save the electricity, better to set the eggs turning each 2 hours. But for Tunnel style hatching machine/incubator, turning eggs each hour is better to guarantee an average heating of breeding eggs.

Normally, 15 days after hatching, there is no need to make the eggs turning. For tunnel style hatching machine, turning eggs is forbidden, what you need is just to keep the egg shelves flat for a better air circulation and heat exchange.

Without egg turning or not enough egg turning is bad for the embryonic development, for example it could result in a bad hatching rate with problems of yolk sac sticking on the shell, unfolding allantoic sac, allantoic sac sticking with egg white…etc. With these you will understand the importance of a detailed record for eggs turning.


Ventilation and air exchange is usually the point easily being neglected, we should get in mind that improper measures will damage the hatching. As we know, the purpose of ventilation is to offer clean and fresh air for different area of the hatching site and to exhaust the waste gas, CO2 and fuzz. For a good hatching environment, a fresh air with 21% O2 and 0.04% CO2 is better. That’s why we need to set the wind door position to maximum aiming to get a better ventilation under normal temperature and humidity control, especially when in 10 days after hatching.

How to get a better ventilation purpose?

Usually the fresh air go into hatching machine is from the hatching site, so the fresh air entry volume should be larger than the maximum needs of the hatching machine.

For waste gas exhaust, better to set up individual exhaust piping system on each air exit of hatching machine and birthing machine to enable a complete and efficient waste gas exhaust directly outdoor and to prevent them to back indoor again. For exhaust pipes less than 4 meters and with one bended corner only, no need any induced draft fan.

If all the waste gas are exhausted by a general piping system, you need to add fan blade in crossing of each branch to control the exhaust volume, in this case, a bigger capacity of induced draft fan with a big diameter exhausting pipe is requested.

Unless specified, all the exhaust pipes are not allowed to be put on covering the waste gas exit of hatching machine and birthing machine, otherwise the machine inner temperature will be affected, as well as the hatching rate. Normally in connection of exhaust pipe and the machine waste gas exit, there should be a bell-mouth ventilator. Remind: Our machine is in reasonable design of exhaust piping system, you don’t have any problem but just put the exhausting pipe on the gas exit of the machine.


Environmental temperature should be about 25°C for moving breeding eggs into birthing plates (normally 18days after hatching), in this step please don’t forget to remove the addle eggs completely and try to move the breeding eggs gently, steady and quickly without breaking the eggs. What’s more, the breeding eggs should be put on birthing plates averagely and put in the birthing trolleys smoothly to avoid any crashing of breeding eggs, otherwise the hatchlings could hardly come out in a same time due to non uniform heat dissipation.

There must be some temperature difference for the breeding eggs during the hatching process, for an average embryonic development we’d better put the breeding eggs on birthing plates with a different position than hatching plates.

Normally 36 hours after birthing the Formalin evaporated disinfection could be proceeded. Details as below:

Put a mixed liquid (14ml/CBM Formalin and warm water in 1:1) into two pans and set them under the birthing trolleys beside the blender fans to enable the liquid being fully evaporated in 12 hours. Repeat this process twice and remove all the disinfection tools before getting hatchlings. In this way the hatchlings could be born in good looking with average and nice golden fuzz.

Also a proper and efficient disinfection could kill the insects in birthing machine without making stimulation to respiratory system of hatchlings and to avoid the happening of umbilicalitis.

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