This article was written by our friends over at backyardchickenscoop.com
Hatching, incubating, and raising your own chickens might be a daunting task. But don’t worry, this guide will teach you how to incubate and hatch chicken eggs. Incubators can be priced from $50 all the way to thousands of dollars for commercial incubators.
You can make your own incubator
You can either buy your own incubators or make your own incubators with a styrofoam box. The first thing you need to know about how to incubate your backyard chicken eggs is that it usually takes 21 days for them to fully incubate. The best eggs to incubate are the ones that are fresh eggs that are not older than 10 days. It’s preferable to bring the eggs to room temperature before incubating.
Getting the incubator set right
The incubator’s temperature needs to be 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. It is important to keep the temperature at 99.5 degrees as any slight degrees lower or higher can kill the embryo. At the start of the first 18 days, the humidity needs to be kept between 40-50%, and for the final days of hatching, it can be kept between 65-75%.
It’s important to turn your eggs 3 times per day for days 1-18, as it’s important for embryo development. You don’t have to turn the eggs after 18 days. You can also learn how to incubate chicken eggs without an incubator. If you want to make your own incubator you’ll need an insulated box, such as a styrofoam cooler.
You’ll also need a heat source such as an adjustable heating pad or a light bulb. For the humidity, you can use a pan with a sponge in it.
Hatching the eggs
The next step in learning how to incubate and hatch chicken eggs is learning how to hatch them. During the final days before hatching the eggs will move around a lot. It is normal for them to rest awhile and expand their lungs before continuing to hatch.
Do not attempt to help them as it can harm them. Once their born, put them in the brooder at 95 degrees. To make sure they grow up healthy and strong you can also probiotics in their water. This is an optional step, but it will help in establishing good gut flora.
These are all the steps in how to incubate and hatch chicken eggs. Learning how to incubate and hatch chicken eggs can be daunting and if not all of your eggs are hatched.
As a 80% hatch rate is normal, and having a 50% hatch rate for the first time is great. Follow these steps and you’ll learn how to raise your own pet chickens in no time.