Many parameters affect hatch rates and the type of water used in an incubator is an important factor which is often overlooked and certainly underestimated.


In the middle of September Ann from South Vienna OH wrote to me in an email:
A friend suggested that we use distilled water…it’s probably in your literature. We’ve a well. And the grown up chickens, we, the dogs, the cats, goats, cow, and beef calves do not have trouble with the water.
BUT….if there is any bacteria in it, in the warm, closed environment of an incubator, it could cause problems.
We switched to distilled water and our hatch rate improved significantly! Thanks bunches. You have a great product
.”

And later on that month, Humberto Gerdts posted this on our Facebook page: “One very important point, always use the correct water. Not from the tap.”

Thanks Ann and Humberto for sharing your experiences and prompting us to focus on the importance of water when it comes to incubation.

We all know it, the warm and wet environment in an incubator is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and germs which can jeopardize hatches.

The 3 main sources of contaminants in an incubator are the incubator itself, the eggs and last but not least the water you use in the incubator.

The incubator

You should clean your incubator thoroughly after each hatch to avoid contamination between batches of eggs particularly if you hatch in the incubator. Shell debris, fluff and dirt can harbor bacteria, germs and fungi which are highly likely to damage your next hatch. Please check our tips on how to clean your incubator.

The eggs

It may also be necessary for you to clean dirty eggs before setting them in the incubator but bear in mind that any cleaning procedure incorrectly followed can contaminate eggs rather than sanitize them. To find out more on egg cleaning procedures please refer to Should eggs be cleaned before setting in a incubator?

The water

If you have ever read the water analysis provided by your water authority you can understand Humberto’s point and why we recommend you either use Brinsea® Incubation Disinfectant Solution or distilled water in your incubator.

 Brinsea® Incubation Disinfectant Concentrate which you dilute in water 100:1 (1 part concentrate to 100 part water) is both powerful and safe for the eggs. It has been specially formulated to kill bacteria, fungi and viruses associated with birds and can be used to clean eggs as well as incubators and brooders.

Distilled water is free of contaminants and prevents mineral deposits in the incubators which can promote bacterial growth. Distilled water also extends the life of the silicone tubing, evaporating pads or blocks used with Brinsea® automatic humidity systems.

So if you’re using tap water, let alone well water, next time you incubate some eggs use distilled water (or our disinfectant solution) and let us know if you see such a drastic improvement in your hatch rates as Ann did.