Hatching Chicken Eggs
When it comes to hatching chicken eggs at home, it does not have to be an expensive or time-consuming process.
Increasing the number of chickens you have at home can be done simply by hatching your own eggs.
This can be quite an exciting part of raising your own chickens, especially if you have young children, as they can watch and enjoy this exiting process with you.
With just a little preparation, you'll be seen new baby chicks spring out of their eggs.
If your already raising chickens at home then you will more than likely already have a chicken coop or hen house in place.
If not, then I highly recommend building your own chicken coop. Its a lot easier and cheaper than most people think.
When it comes to the incubator, there are many available on the market today, and in general most standard electrical models will do just fine.
The brooder box only comes into play once the baby chicks have hatched from the eggs.
How Long Dose It Take For A Chick To Hatch
Once a fertilized egg has been placed under the incubator, the normal time frame from egg to chick is about 21 days to hatching.
As with different types of incubators, each will come with its own set of instructions and guidelines. I highly recommend that you take a little time to read through these properly. Its not a complicated process, but your as well to read trough the manufacturers instructions.
The incubator temperature is normally set around 99 degrees Fahrenheit.
A small piece of advice for you (which I learn't the hard way), is to have your incubator turned on and running 24 hours before you plan on placing the eggs in it.
The main reason for this is to not only to allow the surrounding environment to adapt to the temperature, but also to ensure that your new incubator is running and functioning correctly.
You'll find that some models of egg incubators have an automatic egg turning device built in. This little pre test run, will allow you to see that everything works correctly, ensuring you get a healthy batch of baby chicks...
It is standard now, that most good quality incubators have a built in thermometer, which you'll want to monitor at least once a day.
The goal here is watch that the temperature dose not drop below 99 degrees or that that it dose not raise too much above 99.5 degrees.
Shopping For The Right Incubator
When you do decide that your ready or want to start hatching your own chicks, you should always check (if my opinion) that your new incubator has:
- A Self Egg Turning Device Built In
- A Built In Thermometer
- And 2 Troughs For Water.
I've explained the Self Turning & Thermometer reasons above, but as for the water troughs, these are important too.
You'll find that one of the water troughs will be in the middle, and the second will run around the sides of the egg incubator.
The water trough in the middle of the incubator should be kept filled at all times, where as the outside water trough should only be filled at the 14 day mark of incubation.
Grab the kids it about to get exciting...
On the 18th day of incubation, you can safely remove the chick eggs from the automatic turner and place them on the wire mesh (which normally comes with your incubator). At this point in the hatching process, there will be no further need to turn the eggs.
From here, the baby chicks will hatch naturally. This is very important, that you allow them to hatch naturally. It can take some baby chicks over 24 hours to break free from its shell, but please do interfere or try to help, as forcing the chick out at all, could really harm them.
Allow the baby chick to hatch naturally
Once the baby chick has hatched from its shell, you should allow it to dry naturally before you move it to the brooder box.
You can buy a brooder box commercially, however I suggest you make your own. Its really quite simple.
You can build a nice small timber brooder box that you can use over and over again, however if just starting out a simple sturdy cardboard box, with a newspaper lining at the bottom, and even some dry sawdust if you have it to hand (use only dust from Soft Woods).
A standard heat lamp placed overhead, will ensure that the new baby chick remain warm.
And of course ensuring they have plenty of water, and some commercial chick feed to keep their bellies full.
And that’s pretty much it when it comes to hatching your own eggs. You'll also find that the more you complete this process, the easier it becomes, you'll be a pro in no time.