Chicken eggs need the right amount of humidity and temperature during incubation, or they will not hatch. The best way to ensure these conditions are met is to use an incubator.
The process of incubating chicken eggs is relatively simple, but there are a few key things you need to do to ensure that your eggs hatch successfully. Below is a step-by-step guide to incubating chicken eggs.
Setup an Incubator
There are many different types of incubators on the market, but it is best to choose one that is chicken specific. Incubators come in all shapes and sizes, so there is bound to be one that meets your needs. Once you have selected an incubator, set it up according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
The temperature inside the incubator should be between 99- and 102 degrees Fahrenheit, with the humidity level being around 60-70%. These levels can be checked using a hygrometer, typically included with the incubator.
It is important to monitor the humidity and temperature inside the incubator during the incubation process. Check the incubator several times daily to ensure these conditions are being met.
Find Fertile Eggs
To incubate chicken eggs, you need to start with fertile eggs. The best way to get fertile eggs is to buy them from a reputable breeder or hatchery. You can also get fertile eggs by allowing your chickens to mate and then collecting the eggs that are laid.
If you are unsure if your chicken eggs are fertile, you can handle them. This involves using a bright light to shine through the egg to see the interior. Fertile eggs will have a small dark spot in the center, which is the embryo.
Once you have collected your fertile eggs, it is time to begin incubating. Place the eggs in the incubator on their side and close the lid. The eggs should not be turned during incubation, as this can interfere with the embryo’s development.
The incubation period for chicken eggs is 21 days. It is important to keep the humidity and temperature levels inside the incubator consistent during this time.
As the eggs near hatching, the chicks will start to pip, making a small hole in the eggshell. Once this happens, it is important to increase the humidity level inside the incubator to around 80%. This will help the chicks break out of their shells more easily.
After 21 days of incubation, it will be time for the eggs to hatch. Avoid opening the incubator during this time, as it can disrupt the hatching process. Once the chicks have hatched, they will need to be moved to a brooder where they can continue to grow and thrive.
Incubating chicken eggs is a simple process, but there are a few key things you need to do to ensure that your chicks hatch successfully. By following the steps above, you can be sure that your chicken eggs will hatch into healthy and thriving chicks.