If you want to join the business of rearing chickens, a large part will be incubation of chicken eggs. The incubation process merely ensures that the eggs are kept in a certain environment to ensure that they develop from mere eggs to chicks. It is possible for a ‘broody’ chicken to sit on the egg during this incubation period to ensure that it incubates properly.
However, not all chickens have this maternal instinct and will be able to do it, so if you are rearing chicks for commercial purposes or simply want to have the incubation within your control it would be better to do the incubation yourself. Do not be confused, by incubating the eggs we do not mean seating on them but rather putting them in a device that will be able to mimic the perfect conditions for incubation. If you want to rear chickens as a hobby or means for a livelihood, we are going to provide you with the go-to guide on how to incubate your eggs so that you get the best out of them.
Like the old question of whether the chicken comes before the egg, does the incubator come before the eggs? We propose that you purchase your incubator before the eggs. This is for one major reason - so that the eggs are fresh during the incubation period. It is possible for newly laid eggs to remain fresh for up to two weeks, however, if the incubation can begin earlier you should consider it.
What to look for in an incubator
So how do you pick an incubator to purchase. Well, as with most electronics there are numerous options to choose from depending on what you want. Do you just need something cheap to try out incubating, do you need a small incubator or a large and efficient incubator for professional use? The internet is your oyster.
Regardless there are certain necessary requirements for a good incubator – regulate temperature and humidity, and promote air circulation. It will be a good idea to have a see-through incubator so you can easily monitor the eggs especially during the last three days for which it is advised not to open the incubator.
See more: 15 Best Chicken Egg Incubator
What to look for in an egg The middle – Working with the incubator
A good incubator will have a dashboard to indicate what the temperature and humidity inside the incubator is. You can also use a thermometer to measure the temperature and hygrometer to measure the humidity. If there is not enough water in the incubator, it will become too hot and destroy the eggs. Monitor the level of water and humidity and should they drop, make sure you add water into the incubator gently but be careful not to pour the water on the eggs.
Setting eggs in the Incubator video. Source youtube.com
The incubator should not be opened too often because this is will destabilize the temperature inside. However, it is necessary to open the incubator occasionally. One of the times has already been mentioned above – to add water. Another reason is to turn the eggs. Eggs need to be turned about two to three times a day.
Some incubators come with automatic egg turners, there are also individually sold egg-turners that can be attached to the inside of the incubator. If you wish to do it yourself, you can mark each side of the egg, x and o, or b and t to signify bottom and up. Whatever you want really, the point is to help make sure you know which eggs have been turned and which have not.
Avoid keeping the incubator in direct sunlight. Also make sure to keep away from pets and children, don’t forget there are delicate eggs in the incubator, you don’t want any mistakes to cost you. Whenever you are handling the eggs make sure your hands are clean.
Again, technology has come to the rescue and there are candling devices with bright LED lights to help with the process. Make sure to do it in a dark place and try not to candle too often, so you do not have to handle to eggs too often or open the incubator.
See more: 10 Best Egg Candlers Reviews
The end – Hatching
And for the chicks that might find it difficult to hatch, you might help but carefully taking a tiny bit of shell off to ease their breakthrough. Remember, chicks can be left in the incubator for 24hours after hatching without the need for food or water.Finally, do not be hard on yourself if not all the eggs hatch. No matter the circumstances, it is rare to have 100% hatching success.
After that you also need a chicken feeder for your chicken flock. Read our article for more information: