Can You Use a Reptile Incubator for Chicken Eggs? (Pros And Cons)

When hatching eggs, using regular chicken incubators is not the only option. Whether this is a first time or your fifth time, there are alternatives that you can use. Durable and full-featured chicken incubators can be costly, so you might opt for cheaper options.

You might be wondering if you can use a reptile incubator to hatch chicken eggs instead. They are more affordable. They are also easier to find in regular stores. If you are on the fence regarding using reptile incubators as an alternative, this post can help you.

Here, you can find various helpful information. You can answer whether you can use a reptile incubator for chicken eggs. There are also lists of the different advantages and disadvantages of using one.


What Are Reptile Incubators?

As their name suggests, reptile incubators are devices that hatch various reptiles. You can successfully hatch lizards, geckos, and tortoises with these machines. These are the best devices to significantly increase your hatch rates when hatching reptiles.

Most of the time, you might notice that store-bought reptile incubators appear like small fridges. They also often come with buttons to help control the devices’ temperatures. Compared to regular chicken incubators, they are smaller and colder. However, you can still fit several chicken eggs in most reptile incubators.


Can Reptile Incubators Be Used to Hatch Chicken Eggs?

If you are wondering if you can use a reptile incubator for chicken eggs, the answer would be yes. If you do not own a regular chicken incubator, it can work as an alternative. If you get them for free, you can use them without worries.

However, when you opt to use them, there are some things that you must keep in mind. Since they are built for reptiles and not for chickens, you must take extra steps. You need to be more hands-on when using reptile incubators, from managing their temperatures to manually turning the eggs.


Pros of Using a Reptile Incubator

You might still be on the fence on whether you can use a reptile incubator for chicken eggs. However, there are some advantages that you can receive with this method. Here are the top benefits that you can get.


  1. It is cheaper than a regular chicken incubator.

When you compare the price of a reptile incubator to a chicken incubator, you can see a significant difference. Depending on the specific products you are comparing, you can save around $100 to $500. If you get a reptile incubator for free, then you can save even more money.


  1. It is an excellent alternative if you do not have an incubator at home.

When it comes to chicken eggs, there are ways you can hatch them even without the use of specialized incubators. However, the reptile incubator is a step above the rest, even among those methods. Since it often comes with a digital thermostat, you can better control the temperature. It also provides a more durable surface compared to other DIY techniques.


  1. You can hatch eggs without relying on mother hens.

If you do not own mother hens, you can place your chicken eggs in your reptile incubator. Even if you own a hen or two, they may not be great at hatching eggs. Instead of risking the rates for successful hatches, you can control the outcome better with these devices.


Cons of Using a Reptile Incubator

While you can use reptile incubators to hatch eggs, they are still far from being as effective as specialized incubators. Because of this, there are several disadvantages that you must keep in mind. Here are the various cons that you should take into consideration.


  1. You would need to turn the eggs manually.

One of the main differences between a reptile incubator and a chicken incubator is the turning functionality. When you use a chicken incubator, it can automatically turn your chicken eggs for you. However, no reptile incubator has that function. Because of this, you would need to turn your eggs daily manually. The recommended number of turns would be 3 to 5 shifts a day.


  1. You would generally require a thermostat to manage the temperature.

Reptiles can handle a lower temperature than chickens. Because of this, most reptile incubators are colder than their chicken counterparts. Even reptile eggs can survive lower degrees. If you want to hatch chicks successfully, you will need a thermostat to handle the incubator’s temperature. Even if your incubator has a built-in thermostat, you will need to monitor its internal temperature regularly.


  1. You can receive a reduced hatch rate compared to regular chicken incubators.

Since they lack some functionalities of regular chicken incubators, you can expect a reduced hatch rate. Even though you can hatch eggs, having every egg survive is a rare scenario. Unless you are incredibly hands-on, you cannot match the success rate of store-bought chicken incubators.


Should You Use Reptile Incubators?

Despite having its set of disadvantages, you should use reptile incubators when you have no chicken incubators. If you have a tight budget, it can be a great alternative. Even though its success rates pale compared to specialized incubators, they are still higher than other DIY methods.

When you choose to hatch chicken eggs using them, there are things that you would need to keep in mind. Mainly, you would need to keep an eye on the egg turns, temperature, and humidity. If you can adequately handle these three factors, you can improve your hatch rates.

First, you will need to turn eggs three to five times every day manually. When you do it, ensure that your hands are clean. Otherwise, it might cause bacteria and the like for your chicken eggs.

It is also essential that you keep temperature and humidity in mind. Without proper humidity, the chicks might drown inside their eggs. Similarly, they can die early if you hatch them at a cold temperature.

If you keep these three things in mind, your incubation process should go smoothly. Aside from saving money, it can also be a great way to bond with your chicks. You will need to be more hands-on, but the results would be worth it.