The ultimate goal is to hatch your own chicken eggs, right? It turns out that you can complete the task without a rooster on your property.
It’s simpler than most people realise to learn how to hatch chicken eggs, and you have total control over the procedure. Incubators allow you to witness the hatching process in real time in addition to letting you choose the breed and quantity of birds.
Let’s look at how to incubate eggs for hatching. This information will help you get started.
The Egg Incubator
The correct incubator must be chosen if you want to successfully hatch chicks at home. Incubators offer some benefits over mother hens. The eggs can be kept at a constant temperature and humidity level for three weeks prior to hatching thanks to their ability to automate the warming process. Similar to how incubated chicks are typically friendlier with people because they don’t form an attachment to their mother.
The biggest danger with incubators can be power outages; if your electricity goes out while the eggs are incubating, you’ll need a backup strategy for warming the eggs.
There are numerous types of egg incubators available. Simple models have a simple heat and humidity source that is switched on and off, while more advanced models have additional features like fans for air circulation, automatic egg turners, and digital displays that show the temperature, humidity level, and number of days until hatching.
More than most people think, it matters where you keep the incubator. Keep it away from windows and direct sunshine in a room without draughts that keeps a constant temperature. Additionally, you want to keep it out of the way of curious kids and pets that might disturb it.
If you know where to search, fertilised chicken eggs are not hard to find. Every egg you come into contact with when you have a rooster probably has the potential to develop into a chick. Alternatively, you might buy eggs from a breeder. This frequently works the best for securing a particular breed.
After so much shaking, fertilised eggs are renowned for not transporting properly and frequently have a low hatch rate. Find a local vendor whenever you can so you may pick them up without having to send them.
How to Incubate Eggs Correctly
The operating instructions that come with each incubator will vary, so always use those as your starting point. However, most gadgets can be used with these general instructions.
Allow the incubator to run for at least 24 hours before introducing eggs to test it out. Before putting delicate eggs inside, this gives the inside temperature a chance to stabilise and provides you time to make any necessary adjustments.
Every egg should be examined for defects or hairline cracks before being discarded.
Put them in the incubator with the pointy end inclined down and a little bit on its side. After inserting eggs, keep an eye on the incubator for the first hour to make sure the settings don’t change. Keep it closed; opening and closing it will interfere with the temperature sensors.
Reminder: Before placing delivered eggs in the incubator, allow them to sit out for 24–48 hours. The yolks can now settle and warm up as a result. Eggs may crack and die if they are moved from a chilly environment to a warm incubator.
Depending on the day, different steps will be required to incubate your eggs.
The majority of the incubation period is at this point. Set a schedule for turning each egg once every eight hours (unless your incubator has an automatic egg turner). To make it easier to keep track of each shell, many people mark one end with an X.
Ideally, chicken eggs should be incubated at a consistent temperature of 99–102°F and a humidity level of 45–55%. The humidity level is not as important as the temperature, therefore it’s okay if it changes.
Keep an eye on the interior’s temperature and humidity, and fill the reservoir with water as needed. You can “candle” the eggs after a week to look for growing embryo symptoms.
The incubation lockdown stage has begun. You’ll quit flipping the eggs and opening the incubator going forward. Prepare a spot for the freshly hatched chicks for when they move out and raise the humidity to 65-70%.
You’ll begin to hear peeping from inside the eggs on day 21. They might start to sway back and forth, and cracks might start to appear. Even if a bird looks to be suffering, it’s important not to interfere with the process because it can take babies over 24 hours to emerge from their shells. In reality, the difficulties of hatching aid in the normal development of these little birds’ muscles.
Don’t mess with the humidity levels by removing any chicks from the incubator before the hatching is complete. Since the yolk sac is the last thing the chicks ingest before hatching, they can endure several days without any further food or water. Moving chicks before they are fluffy and dry can actually cause them to become cold and susceptible to disease.