The Farm Fowl Guide to Egg Incubation
Incubating eggs is a fun and rewarding experience. In just 21 days, an egg can be turned into a perfectly formed baby chick using an Egg Incubator.
Egg incubators create the perfect environment for an egg to develop into a chick, with just the minimal of effort from you. So what does it take to incubate eggs?
It’s actually surprisingly easy! There are three components, namely The Egg, The Incubator and You!
The Egg needs to be fertilised, a typical shop bought egg will not do the job. By fertilised I mean a cockerel needs to be present in the flock. Nature will do its work and eggs are fertilised and usually perfect for incubating.
The fertilised eggs are then placed in the egg incubator and incubation begins. In the case of chickens the process takes 3 weeks or 21 days for the egg to hatch.
You have the easy job! Your job is to check on the incubator from time to time. Depending on the incubator, eggs may need to be turned and a water reservoir (for humidity) may need to be topped up. On a good incubator this can take less than a minute to do. I told you it was easy!
In brief, an egg incubator artificially performs the role that a broody hen does in nature.
Successful hatching of chicken eggs starts well before the incubator is switched on, or even before the first egg is laid.
Proper collection, handling & storage of eggs can help to maximise the hatchability of your eggs.
Knowing what to look for in a good quality hatching egg is important
Advice on how to get started with your incubator!
Once the incubator is running correctly and has reached stable conditions the eggs can then be added.
Egg candling is an important way of checking on the progress of the incubation process.
The hatching stage is the last three days of incubation.
A brooder is a heated area where the chicks spend the first few weeks of their life.
Once the chicks are moved from the incubator to the brooder food and water should be available.
A rising trend now is egg incubation within the school and playschool environment
A guide to the different egg sizes