cleaning an incubator after a hatch

How to Clean an Incubator After a Hatch

Cleaning an incubator after a hatch is very crucial. The moisture and heat in an egg incubator allow microbes or germs to grow and multiply and organic wastes produced after hatching provide sustenance for these germs. Hence, if the incubator is not cleaned properly, it will result in a poor hatch rate due to the accumulation of hatching waste.

To clean an egg incubator after hatching, the steps below should be followed.

Step 1: Remove all debris from the incubator

Unplug the incubator and remove all unhatched eggs, dead hatchlings and shells. Removing these materials will make it easier to access all areas of the incubator and ensure that they are thoroughly cleaned. Lightly brush off the fan, heater, and thermostat with a small soft-bristle paintbrush and vacuum away the dirt and fluffy feathers inside. For corners and areas that are hard to reach, use a toothbrush to clean them.

Step 2: Remove and wash the washable parts

After all the debris has been removed, the washable parts such as the egg trays should be washed. Soak and wash them in warm, soapy water and rinsed them thoroughly. If electrical parts such as the heater, fan or turner could be removed, remove and clean them with pressurized air.

Step 3: Wipe down the inside of the incubator

Scrub both inside and outside the incubator with a clean, damp cloth. This will further remove any dirt or debris. Ensure to use a cloth that is free of lint or other debris, as these can contaminate the incubator.

Step 4: Disinfect the incubator

After washing and scrubbing the incubator with a clean, damp cloth, the next thing to do is disinfect the incubator. Avoid skipping the cleaning and scrubbing process, as even the most effective disinfectant will not work on organic debris.

Quaternary ammonium compounds like Roccal are effective disinfectants for incubators and can be found under various brand names. These compounds are often used for various cleaning purposes, such as sterilizing surgeons’ hands and cleaning dog kennels, and have no stain or odor when used as directed. Other approved sanitizers for use with poultry include Tek-Trol, which is phenol-based, Vanodine or Polidine, which is iodine-based, and Oxine, which is chlorine-based. You can use chlorine bleach diluted with hot water at a ratio of ¼ cup to 1 gallon (15 ml/l).

If you prefer an organic option, try using plain 5% vinegar (either distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar will work). Apply the sanitizer with a spray bottle, sponge, or cloth, being careful not to get it on the controls or metal parts. Focus on areas where debris tends to accumulate, such as the hatching tray and the bottom of the incubator. Leave the sanitizer on for 15 minutes, then wipe the incubator down with a clean sponge or cloth and warm water. Make sure to thoroughly dry the incubator, either by leaving it in the sun or running it with an empty water pan for a day or so.

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