Incubating Eggs for the Beginner
Incubating eggs at home is fun, easy and basically no expense with the exception of a little electricity and some inexpensive brooder materials.
Hatching chicks could not be easier using the Brinsea incubator. Any room in your house will do as long as its an average room temp and is free of drafts. Here are the steps:
Just like a baby getting into position in it’s mother’s womb, a baby chick needs to get into position inside it’s egg. It can’t do that if its constantly being turned from side to side. On day 18 (the day after the eggs are placed in the incubator is counted as day one) here is what you do:
Day 19 or 20
If you shine a light inside the incubator, you will start to see little holes being cracked in the shells. The chicks inside are ready to come out and are making those holes with the “egg tooth” on the end of their beaks. As time progresses, the chicks will start spinning around slowly inside the egg and pecking all around the shell in a circle to eventually pop off the end of the shell as they make their way into the world. From the time you begin to see a hole in the shell to the time they are completely out can take 24 to 36 hours. It’s hard but be patient.
If your incubator temp was a constant 99.5 degrees, by day 21 they should be hatched. However, it is not uncommon for chicks to still be coming out as far along as day 23. Half of one degree can make a big difference and will speed up or slow down the process.
***Important note: Do not open the incubator as chicks need a high level of humidity to come out of their shells. Humidity will be created from the heat of the incubator combined with the water you placed in the trays on day 18 plus the moisture released from inside the shells. If you must open the incubator (to remove chicks that hatched 24 hours ago for example), do it quickly and add a little more warm water poured though the egg tray down into the water trays.
After they hatch
Chicks can stay in the incubator for up to 24 hours after they hatch. They should stay in the incubator until they are fully dry. Once it is time to remove them, here is what you do:
Feed and Water
Chicks hatch with a little bit of the egg cell still attached and can go for about 24 hours after they hatch without food or water. However, it is better to place some chick feed and water in the brooder whenever the chicks go in so it is available when they need it. Feed can just be sprinkled on the floor but water should be placed in a small, low dish that they can easily drink from but also get out of should they step into it. Chick waterers can be purchased online for about $3.00 and are the best way to give chicks water. Make sure they always have access to clean food and water.
What could go wrong…
This section is not meant to scare you out of hatching but there are some real risks that could happen that everyone should be aware of if they decide to try hatching.
We hope this hatching information is helpful. Please visit our website for information on our breeds: www.hollyberryhusbandry.com.
Matt was raised in the Amish country of Central Pennsylvania and was always surrounded by animals. He was member of 4-H and was ranked nationally as an equestrian but also raised chickens, turkeys, sheep and rabbits.