Your hens have already done their part in laying fresh eggs, and although they can sit on them and start the process of incubation themselves, they will rely on you for help. This is where learning how to incubate chicken eggs comes in. Carefully and very slowly taking the eggs out of the nest box and placing them into an incubator will help in the growth and maturity of the eggs. To produce the best results and hatch eggs in the most appropriate manner, there are things you need to consider, which includes the use of incubators. Follow these simple tips on egg incubation as a reference.
Pre-heat your incubator. As a first step in preparation, put the incubator on a leveled surface, then turn it on for at least 24 hours at 99.5 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit before setting your eggs in. Make sure that the incubator is away from direct sunlight. If you do not have a spare room to accommodate it in, you can set it out on your backyard provided that you have a cloth over it to cover the holes.
Another rule of thumb when using an incubator is that it has to let a little warm water in to provide humidity. A 58 to 60 percent humidity level must be maintained during the first 18 days of the incubation period, and it must be increased up to 68% during the last three days. Moisture inside the incubator will help preserve the natural moisture found in the eggs. If the moisture level is just enough, the eggs will maintain moisture and will not run dry. When the temperature is too hot, adjust it appropriately so you do not harm the eggs. Remember to follow all the instructions provided when using the incubator.
Carefully place the eggs inside. The normal gestation period for eggs wherein they can be placed in incubators are 21 days, beginning on the day they were laid by their mothers. When you see eggs inside the nest box, carefully take them out and set them inside the incubators. Do not crowd them; instead, place them a few spaces apart from each other.
When inside the incubator, you have to turn the side of the eggs every eight hours. Putting a marking such as an ‘X’ and a ‘O’ on their shells will help you know which side the eggs are on. Be mindful of the time when they need to be turned, so that all the eggs receive the equal amount of heat. Turning the eggs must be done only until the 18th day, as the chick may be injured when turned after this period.
Watch as your eggs hatch into tiny little chicks. Continue the incubation period up to 25 or 26 days, although the eggs should start hatching by the 21st day. Some eggs may be slow to hatch, so it is still wise to leave them a few more days. However, when there are remaining eggs that have not hatched even after the 25th or the 26th day, you need to take them out of the incubator and discard them. When you see eggs hatching into chicks, do not disrupt the moment and open the incubator only when it is highly necessary.
The process of learning how to incubate chicken eggs is relatively simple and easy. So long as you meet all the necessary incubation requirements, including the appropriate use of incubators, your eggs will be able to hatch and give you healthy chicks.