Once upon a time, when people wanted their chicken eggs to hatch they would make certain that the hen sat nowhere else but on the eggs. Modern times bid those days farewell as there are now mechanisms called incubators that take the place of hen-sitting. There are several models and brands of incubators nowadays. Selecting the right incubator would depend on the quantity of eggs you want hatched. The range varies from an incubator that can handle three eggs while some accommodate a hundred eggs. Check the instructions below on how to incubate and hatch your own chicken eggs successfully.
- Prepare the materials needed. You will need fertile chicken eggs, the incubator, a heat lamp, a cage or carton box to house your newly-born chicks and the chick-feed. Gather some scratch paper, newspaper or wood shavings to fill the floor of the cage and also a small saucer or dish for the water of the chicks.
- Read the instruction manual of the incubator thoroughly. Not all incubators have identical functions. It is important to check if your incubator has a manual or automatic temperature setting. The right temperature is crucial in determining the success rate of hatching.
- Test the incubator. The incubator should be left open for two days to see if conditions inside are ideal. Nothing is perfect, not even incubators. It’s best to leave a thermometer inside to check if the setting that you have placed it on matches the temperature of the thermometer. The temperature should be around 99 degrees Fahrenheit. If these standards pass, then you’re off to the next step.
- Gently place the chicken eggs inside the incubator. What you should do next depends on the incubator you have chosen. If it’s automatic, the incubator will turn over the eggs inside every three hours so that heat is even distributed. This increases the chances of hatching and lowers the likelihood of deformed chicks. If you chose an incubator that doesn’t have this automatic feature of turning the eggs over, then you have to do it yourself thrice a day. Place markings on the egg so you don’t get confused as to where to turn the egg over. Keep the lid sealed as much as possible.
- Keep watch over the eggs daily but especially over the 19th day onwards. On the 19th day up until the 24th is approximately the time they are due for hatching. Get rid of eggs that are cracked or rotten at once because the eggs should be incubated in a hygienic environment.
- The moment of hatching. When the time arrives and you see the egg starting to hatch, keep a close guard. This process may take up to 24 hours sometimes. As soon as the chick is out of its shell completely, let it stay inside for a couple of minutes. Then take the chick away and into its new home with the heat lamp, water and food inside.
The wonder of life is witnessed with every birth of a chick. So make sure that the internal condition of the incubator is always set properly. Too little moisture or overheating the eggs will affect the chances of eggs hatching.