Pedigree Breeding with one Incubator


In the Brooder
Jul 5, 2015
I want to hatch as many eggs as possible this year but only have one incubator. I'm looking for tips and tricks for keeping track of next generation at hatch time. For those who use a pedigree breeding system in your flock; Do you incubate each hen's clutch of eggs in batches? Or do you place a divider of some kind if your incubator at hatch time, separating the one hen's chicks from another hen's chicks.

I know if I want to get really serious about this project I should purchase or invest in the supplies to build another incubator, but at this point my numbers are still very small. (3 hens & 1 roo) The new raising pens take priority in 2016.

Many Thanks!
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Crossing the Road
13 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
Part of it depends on your incubator. Can you build walls, maybe out of hardware cloth, to keep the hatched chicks in their area? That’s not always real easy because you need to anchor them.

Another technique would be to make a basket out of hardware cloth and set that over groups of eggs. Some people use mesh baskets they get from groceries or wherever. The principle is a basket over the eggs, exactly how you do that is up to you.

The best thing of course is a second incubator. You could use one as an incubator, setting different eggs every week, and use the other as a hatcher. That way you can clean the hatcher after every batch and not greatly mess up your incubator.


9 Years
Nov 30, 2013
Pottstown, PA
I have used mesh bags made for laundry use (to separate the "delicates" I think). I get them at the dollar store, but any store with laundry supplies should have them. I put the eggs into plastic baskets with rubberized shelf liner in the bottom of the basket for traction, then slip the whole thing into a mesh bag and zip it closed. Those all go into the hatcher.

I also use little bands to mark the chicks when hatched. I get them from here:

1/4" for new borns, 3/8" when they outgrow those, then spiral bands if they still need to be marked when older.

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