Tips for Incubating Chicken Eggs

Hi friends!  Before we began incubating our first batch of chicks, I asked my Instagram buddies for any tips, tricks, or advice they could share from their own incubating experiences. Since I found this information very helpful, I figured other people would too. As a disclaimer, I would like to say that these ideas are not my own, and I am just sharing a compilation of everything that my buddies shared with me.  If you are new to incubating or planning to try it in the future, I hope this information is helpful to you. I know it was helpful to me!

  • Set your eggs in a carton with the large end up for about a day before putting them into the incubator. This allows the embryo to stabilize.
  • Make sure you purchase a good incubator (or build one yourself), you don’t want to cut corners on this.
  • Be patient and don’t fuss with them too much. This can do more damage than help. Candling them from time to time is fine, but try and minimize the number of times your remove the egg from the incubator.
  • High humidity is the key to successful hatch rates!
  • Anytime you open the incubator it causes temperature and humidity fluctuations. Reduce the number of times you open the incubator as much as possible to avoid decreasing their chance of hatching with these environmental changes.
  • Have a plan for power outages. (one of my personal favorites! I would’ve never thought of this!)
  • Even if you get an incubator with an auto turner, it can still be good to mark the eggs with an X on one side and an O on the other. This way you can be sure the incubator is getting full turns in. You don’t want them sleeping on the same side over night so if your chickens had the X up in the morning, you want it down that night.
  • If at any time you find a bad odor coming from any of your eggs remove that egg as soon as possible. Eggs that have gone bad will not hatch and can potentially explode. This will contaminate your incubator and can harm your remaining eggs.
  • Try not to candle your eggs more than a couple times during incubation. When you pick the eggs up you can transfer germs as well as decrease the overall temperature and humidity of the egg. Candling is usually recommended at day 10; with additional candling at day 14 and 18. *keep in mind that dark eggs can be especially difficult to candle and you may not be able to see inside them at all.
  • Once you have gone into lock down (days 18-21 of the incubation), don’t open the incubator until they’re all done hatching. Opening the incubator during this time can decrease the humidity so much that your remaining chicks won’t be able to break out and can potentially suffocate.

I hope you found these tips helpful! If there is anything I missed, I would love your feedback in the comments below. Have a great day, buddies! and happy hatching!

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