How to Hatch Chicken Eggs

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Choose a location for the incubator.,
Familiarize yourself with the operation of the incubator.,
Adjust the conditions.,
Set the eggs.,
Allow the temperature to drop after adding the eggs.,
Record the date.,
Turn the eggs daily.,
Adjust the humidity levels in the incubator.,
Ensure the incubator has adequate ventilation.,
Candle the eggs after 7 to 10 days.,
Prepare for the hatch.

To help your incubator maintain a constant temperature, place it where it will receive as little temperature fluctuation as possible. Do not place it near a window where it will be exposed to direct sunlight. The sun’s heat can raise the temperature high enough to kill the developing embryos.Connect the unit to a dependable electrical source, and make sure the plug cannot be accidentally detached from the outlet.
Keep the incubator out of the reach of small children, cats and dogs.
In general, it’s best to keep your incubator on a sturdy surface that won’t be knocked or stepped on, and in a place that has relatively stable temperatures, out of the way of drafts and direct sunlight.

, Before you begin to hatch your chicken eggs, make sure to read all of the instructions in the incubator’s instruction manual. Make sure you know how to operate the fan, the light and any other functions.Use the thermometer provided to check the temperature of the incubator. You should do this frequently during the 24 hours before you incubate, to be sure it will stay at the correct temperature.

, In order to successfully hatch chicken eggs, the conditions inside the incubator must be spot on. To prepare the incubator to receive the chicken eggs, you should adjust the conditions inside the incubator to the optimum level.

Temperature: Chicken eggs should be incubated at a temperature between 99 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit (99.5 is often considered to be ideal). Avoid temperatures outside the 97–103 °F (36–39 °C). range. If the temperature remains beyond either extreme for several days, hatchability may be severely reduced.Humidity: The moisture level in the incubator should be about 50 to 65 percent relative humidity (60 percent is often considered the ideal). Moisture is provided by a pan of water under the egg tray. You can use a wet bulb thermometer or a hygrometer to measure humidity., Once the conditions inside the incubator have been properly set and monitored for at least 24 hours to confirm stability, it is time to set your eggs. Never set fewer than six eggs. If you try hatching only two or three eggs, and especially if they are shipped eggs, a bad hatch is likely. You may get one chick, or none.Warm the fertile eggs to room temperature. Allowing the eggs to warm up will decrease the amount and duration of temperature fluctuation in the incubator after you’ve added the eggs.
Place the eggs carefully into the incubator. Make sure the eggs are lying on their sides. The larger end of each egg should be slightly higher than the pointy end. This is important as the embryos can become misaligned if the pointy end is higher and may have difficult pipping, or breaking through the shell, when it comes time to hatch., The temperature will temporarily lower after you’ve introduced the eggs into the incubator, but it should readjust if you’ve calibrated the incubator correctly.

Don’t increase the temperature to compensate for this fluctuation or you may damage or kill your embryos.

, From this you will be able to estimate the hatching date of your eggs. Chicken eggs take twenty-one days to hatch when incubated at optimal temperature. Older eggs, eggs that were allowed to cool down and eggs that were incubated at too low a temperature, may still hatch–but they will hatch late! If it is Day 21 and your eggs haven’t hatched yet, give them a couple of extra days, just in case!

, Eggs should be turned a minimum of three times per day at regular intervals–though five is even better! Some people like to lightly draw an X on one side of the egg so they can more easily keep track of which eggs have been turned. Otherwise it is easy to lose track of which have been turned, and whether they have been turned all the way over or not.When turning eggs manually, your hands must be washed and clean before each session to avoid transferring bacteria and oils onto the surface of the egg.
Keep turning the eggs until day 18, and then stop to allow the chicks to position themselves properly for hatching.

, Humidity should be around 50 to 60 percent throughout incubation, except during the last 3 days when you will want to raise it to 65 percent. You may need higher or lower humidity levels depending on the type of eggs you wish to hatch. Consult your hatchery or the available literature on hatching your species of bird.Replenish the water in the water pan on a regular basis or the humidity levels will drop too low. Always add warm water.
Add a sponge to the water pan if you need to increase the humidity.
Measure the humidity level in the incubator using a wet bulb thermometer. Take a reading with the wet bulb thermometer and also record the temperature in the incubator at the time. Consult a chart or psychrometric chart online or in a book to find the relative humidity from the relationship between the wet bulb and dry bulb temperature readings.

, There should be openings on the sides and top of the incubator to allow air flow-check to make sure these are at least partially opened. You will need to increase the amount of ventilation once the chicks begin to hatch., Candling the eggs is when you use a light source to view how much space the embryo occupies within an egg. After 7 to 10 days, you should see development of the embryo. Candling allows you to remove eggs with embryos that are not viable.Find a tin can or a box that can fit over a light bulb.
Cut a hole in the can or box that is smaller in diameter than an egg.
Turn on the light bulb.
Take 1 of the incubated eggs and hold it over the hole. If the egg appears clear, the embryo has not developed or the egg may never have been fertile. You should see a cloudy mass if the embryo is developing. The embryo will increase in size as you near the hatch date.
Remove any eggs that do not show a developing embryo from the incubator.

, Discontinue turning and rotating eggs 3 days prior to the estimated hatch date. Most viable eggs will hatch within a 24 hour period.

Place cheesecloth under the egg tray prior to hatching. The cheesecloth will help catch bits of eggshell and other matter during and after the hatch.
Increase the humidity level in the incubator by adding more water or a sponge.
Leave the incubator closed until after the chicks hatch.

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