1. Secure an incubator and make sure it is in good working order.
- If buying a new incubator. Order at least one month prior to the start of the project. Forced air incubators (with a fan to circulate the air) are best. Once the new incubator arrives assemble if necessary and follow instructions for operation.
- Used incubators should be checked one month prior to the start of the project. Make sure that your equipment is clean and working correctly. This will allow you time to order parts or a new incubator if necessary.
2. Turn the incubator on a couple weeks before the start of the project and run for 48 hours to insure that everything is working properly. Once you know it is in proper working order, unplug and set in a safe area until a few days before the start of the project.
3. Inform the administration and maintenance staff that you are doing this project. They can inform you if the electricity needs to be shut off for any reason.
4. Proper incubator placement in classroom helps avoid problems.
- Set-up the incubator in a room that stays above 65º F.
- Make sure that the electrical outlet that you are using will be "on" 24 hours a day. Some schools turn off entire sections of the school at night and on weekends.
- Place the incubator on a sturdy level surface.
- Place the incubator at least six inches away from the edge of the surface to avoid accidental bumps.
- Avoid high traffic areas, hot sunny windows, heating and cooling vents drafty windows and doors.
- Turn incubator on 36-48 hours prior to setting the eggs.
5. Adjust the incubator so it holds the desired temperature. Follow manufacturer guidelines for adjusting the temperature. In still-air units (without fans) adjust the temperature to 101º F
F. In forced-air units (with fans), adjust the temperature to 100º F
F. Always adjust the thermostat so the heat source goes off when the temperature reaches the desired temperature and comes on when the temperature drops below the desired temperature.
6. Use at least two thermometers to insure you are getting an accurate temperature reading.
7. Check the temperature often. Improper temperature can result in a poor hatch and weak chicks.