How to Hatching Fertile Eggs

Hatching Egs
Your eggs need to settle for at least 24 hours if they came through the post. This allows the air cell inside the egg to return to it's normal size. Eggs should always be stored with the pointy end down while they are "in the hold". It's a good practice to follow and it will help your hatch!

You have 2 choice to hatching fertile eggs, broody hens and Incubator.

Hatching with Broody hens is more easy for you. You just need to placed them in to a good place for hatching and save from any predators.

Hatching with an Incubator

When is my incubator ready to start incubating?

By the time you have gotten your eggs your incubator should have been running at least 24 hours. A week is even better. This gives you time to learn what's going to happen in your incubator and allows you to make any necessary adjustments before setting your eggs. A surefire way to ruin hatching eggs is to put them in the incubator without having it properly adjusted.

Take note of the term "internal" temperature. Don't confuse internal egg temperature with internal incubator temperature. The temperature in an incubator changes constantly, rising and lowering. The temperature inside the egg will be an average of this temperature swing in your incubator.

What must the temperature and humidity be inside my incubator?

This is plain and simple, yet the MOST important part of hatching.

Fan Forced incubator: 37.5 degrees C measured anywhere in the incubator.

Humidity: 50% for the first 18 days, 55-60% for the last 3 days in the hatcher.

Is my thermometer accurate?

Keeping the temperature accurate can be a struggle, even with very good thermometers. A nice part about running a big incubator over an extended period is that you can tweak the temperature regardless of what thermometers tell you.

After the first hatch, you can raise or lower the temperature by what the hatch tells you. If they hatched early the temperature needs to be lowered. If they hatch late the temperature needs to be raised.

You can check your Thermometer this way. Keep notes on everything you do during the incubation period. As you learn you'll have these notes to look back on. They will be the most valuable tool that you can have. It won't be long until you can say "I know what happened, all I need to do is change this one little thing". Soon you will be able to make adjustments by knowing what to do, instead of guessing!!!

How do I check humidity?

Humidity is checked by way of a hygrometer (wet-bulb thermometer) in conjunction with a regular "dry-bulb" thermometer. A hygrometer is simply a thermometer with a piece of wick attached to the bulb. The wick hangs in water to keep the bulb wet (hence the name "wet-bulb thermometer"). When you read the temperature on the thermometer and hygrometer, you must then compare the readings to a chart to translate from wet-bulb/dry-bulb reading to "percentage humidity".

From the relative humidity table, you can see.....

60% humidity reads about 30.5 degrees C on a wet-bulb at 37.5degrees C.

60% humidity reads about 31.6degrees C on a wet-bulb at 38.6degrees C.

80% humidity reads about 33.8degrees C on a wet-bulb at 37.5degrees C.

80% humidity reads about 35degrees C on a wet-bulb at 38.6degrees C.

Getting your humidity to become as accurate as your temperature is nearly impossible. It is almost completely impossible with a small incubator. Try to get your humidity as close as you can, and you'll be fine. Just being aware that humidity is important, and trying to get the numbers to come in close will be a huge help to your hatch.

If you can hold within 10-15% things should turn out fine.

Temperature on the other hand, is CRITICAL!!!!! We hate to beat this point to death, but a small deviation in temperature (even a couple degrees) can and will ruin a hatch. Or, at least turn a potentially great hatch into a lousy one.

An important point about incubator humidity

As seasons change, so goes humidity. When you are incubating eggs in January and February it will be very difficult to maintain a humidity that is as high as you like. That's because the outside humidity is so low.( Depending on where you live). By the same token, when you are incubating in June and July the outside humidity is usually much greater and the humidity in your incubator will most likely get much higher than you would like.

Hatching problems will change as the season progresses. If you are doing things the same way in July as you were in January, you have to expect different results. All we are trying to say here is that your incubator humidity changes directly according to the outside humidity. Low outside, low in the incubator. High outside, high in the incubator. To adjust for these problems, you need to change the surface area of water in your incubator.

What is surface area?

Surface area is "the amount of surface of water exposed to air in your incubator". The depth of water has absolutely no bearing on the humidity in the incubator (unless the depth is zero). If the humidity is too low in your incubator, add surface area. Place another pan of water in the incubator, or some small, wet sponges. This will help. Alternatively you can spray the eggs with a fine mist. To decrease the humidity, remove surface area. Use smaller containers of water, or undo some of the things you've added.

How long will it take to incubate chicken eggs?

The incubation period for chicken eggs is 21 days. You should turn your eggs at least three times a day for the first 18 days, and stop turning after the 18th day (or use a hatcher if you have eggs from different days in the same machine). This allows the chick time to orient itself inside the egg before pipping.

After day 18, KEEP THE INCUBATOR CLOSED except to add water. This will help bring the humidity up to help the chicks hatch. I know it will kill you not to open the incubator 1000 times when it's this close to hatch time, but it's not good for the chicks. If you haven't bought an incubator yet, invest the extra couple bucks in the picture window model. Then you can "see it all" without causing harm to your hatch.

Good Luck,...
Read More

Accurate Temperature For Hatching Eggs

The incubation temperature requirements for most hatching eggs is surprisingly uniform. The eggs of almost all domestic bird species (and many wild species) can be incubated at the same incubation temperature. Therefore, eggs of several different bird species can be incubated at the same time within the same incubator.

The incubation temperature of naturally (nest) incubated eggs is controlled by the hen. The recommended temperature within an artificial incubator depends upon the type of incubator being used. If the incubator used has a fan for air circulation, the temperature must be adjusted to 99-100o F.

An incubator without an air circulation system requires a higher temperature. The temperature in this "still-air" incubator is measured using a thermometer with the bulb positioned at the same level as the top of the incubating eggs. The recommended temperature in this type incubator is 102o F.

The reason for different temperatures is that circulating air warms all points around the egg shell while still air temperatures are warmer at the top of the egg than at the bottom. Therefore, increasing the temperature at the top of the egg will compensate for the egg's cooler parts. The same average egg temperature of 100o F can be maintained (for the entire egg) if the higher temperature of 102o F exists at the egg's uppermost point.

Do not allow temperatures to exceed these recommendations, even for only a short period of time. Although it is not recommended, slightly lower temperatures will not kill the chick embryos, but can increase incubation times and produce weakened chicks. Temperatures only a degree or two above the recommended temperatures can kill chicks within 15-30 minutes, depending on how high the temperature is and the stage of development of the chick embryo.
Read More

Candling Eggs

Fertile eggs
Eggs are candled to determine the condition of the air cell, yolk, and white. Candling detects bloody whites, blood spots, or meat spots, and enables observation of germ development. Candling is done in a darkened room with the egg held before a light. The light penetrates the egg and makes it possible to observe the inside of the egg.

The candler should be set on a box or table at a convenient height (about 38 to 44 inches from the floor), so the light will not shine directly into the eyes of the operator. In candling, the egg is held in a slanting position with the large end against the hole in the candler. The egg is grasped by the small end and, while held between the thumb and tips of the first two fingers, is turned quickly to the right or left. This moves the contents of the egg and throws the yolk nearer the shell. Because of the color of their shells, brown eggs are more difficult to candle than white eggs.

To do a reasonable job, an extensive knowledge of candling is not necessary, particularly if the eggs are all relatively fresh. One should be able to distinguish a fresh egg from a stale egg and detect such abnormalities as bloody whites, blood spots, meat spots, and cracked shells. In a fresh egg, the air space is plainly visible and moves freely. The white is thin and clear. In a stale egg, the air space is plainly visible and moves freely. The white is thin.

Most newly laid eggs are good quality. Eggs not over two or three days old, if held under good conditions, will meet the specifications for Grade A. The only eggs to be removed by candling are those with bloody whites, blood or meat spots, and cracked shells.

Candling Eggs
Candling is a way of checking the fertility of an egg and the development of the embryo, with the use of a light source in a darkened room. In a darkened room, carefully hold the egg up to the light to observe the contents of the egg.

Candling Results
The embryo is located at the large end of the egg, where blood vessels will be present under the surface if the egg is fertile. The embryo appears as a dark spot which becomes larger as the incubation period continues.

Fertile egg
The egg will appear to have a black spot which as the embryo grows and incubation continues will grow larger until light will only pass through the air cell end of the egg.

Infertile egg
Eggs appear clear.

Dead embryo
If the egg was fertile but the embryo has died then you will see a blood ring around the yolk or possibly a dark spot dried to the inside of the shell depending on when the embryo stopped growing.
Note that dark or brown shelled eggs are more difficult to candle than white or pale shelled eggs.

When To Candle
Candling can be done at any time, although day 8 onwards is usually when the embryo is more easily identified.
Day 3 of incubation (usually pale shelled eggs).
Day 5/6 of incubation (usually dark shelled eggs).
Between day 8 - 12 of incubation (embryo more easily identified).
3 days prior to hatching.

How To Candle
To candle, darken the room. Eggs can be out of the incubator (or away from a broody hen) for up to 20-30 minutes before starting to cool down inside, so don't rush. You can GENTLY roll the egg on the candler to get the best view.
Read More

Poor results in hatching

Hatching Eggs
Poor results in hatching are commonly caused by the improper control of temperature or humidity. When the temperature or humidity is too high or too low for a long period of time, the normal growth and development of the embryo is affected.

To obtain the best possible hatch, keep the temperature as near 100.5 degrees F. as possible for the entire incubation period in a still air incubator. There will be a fluctuation of two or three degrees above or below 100.5 degrees F., but there should not be prolonged periods of high or low temperatures. High temperature is especially serious.

An incubator that is run warm, constantly averaging a bit above 100.5 degrees F will tend to produce an early hatch. One that is run cold, a bit below 100.5 degrees F will tend to produce a late hatch.

To obtain the proper temperature reading, place the bulb of the thermometer so that it is on a level with the place where the embryos will begin to develop in the eggs. This is approximately 1/4 inch below the top surface of the shell when the egg is on its side. This applies to chicken, duck, pheasant, quail, and other species' eggs. The bulb of the thermometer should not be in contact with an egg.

Check the thermometer. Is it accurate? An error of one degree for 21 days can seriously interfere with embryonic growth.

To check the incubator thermometer, place the bulb next to the bulb of a clinical (the oral kind used to check body temperature) or a laboratory thermometer. Hold under lukewarm tap water and compare the readings. Make an adjustment for any error in the incubator thermometer.

A thermometer in which the mercury column is split will not give an accurate reading.

Rarely is the humidity too high in a still-air incubator. Normally, it tends to be low. Thus, the water pan should cover at least one-half of the surface area of the incubator.

The humidity should be raised during the last three days of incubation. Adding another water pan or a wet sponge helps to do this. Embryos need considerable moisture to hatch properly and easily. High humidity tends to produce a late hatch; low humidity an early hatch.

Do not turn the eggs the last three days of incubation. The embryos are moving into hatching position and do not need to be turned. Keep the incubator closed to maintain proper temperature and humidity, but Do not seal it tight for the embryo needs oxygen.

Don't forget to place a cloth, crinoline is best, on the screen floor of the incubator. This protects the navel, the place where the abdomen closes after surrounding the remains of the yolk, from injury. It also makes cleaning the incubator easier. The longer eggs are held before setting, the lower the fertility will be. Try to set eggs before they are ten days old. At three weeks, the fertility will drop to zero.

Allow the newly hatched chicks to dry out in the incubator until they fluff up. Then place them in a brooding unit.
Read More