Hatching your own eggs can be a really fun experience, not to mention really rewarding too. Raising your own pets or even having farm animals is a really great experience, especially when you get to be with the animals from start to finish.
With an incubator you can pretty much hatch anything that comes in an egg. (Here’s our list of the best chicken egg incubators.)
You can use an incubator to hatch everything from chickens, ducks, and geese, to things like lizards and turtles too. Note, anything other than birds is pretty difficult to do, so for the purpose of this tutorial we will be sticking with bird eggs.
This process may sound easy, because after all, it’s only hatching some eggs right? The fact of the matter is that it actually takes quite a bit of hard work and dedication to be able to hatch eggs well. Perhaps the most important part is choosing the right incubator as well as the right eggs.
If either the eggs or the incubator aren’t the right fit, then you may end up with a bunch of eggs that are never going to hatch. Here we have a few tips on choosing the right eggs and the right incubator o you can hatch as many eggs as you want.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT EGGS FOR HATCHING
Choosing the right eggs is probably even harder than choosing the right incubator. First of all, if you have your own hens then choosing the eggs isn’t as hard or as important because you know your own chickens and we are sure that your raised them well.
On the other hand if you are buying eggs for hatching then you need to follow a few tips to make sure you get good eggs that will actually hatch.
- If you are buying eggs for hatching then be sure to buy them from a reliable source. Never buy eggs from a place like eBay or craigslist because those sources are unreliable and people could be selling anything. Buying from a place like that means having a large risk of buying eggs that will not hatch.
- Buy your eggs from a local source that is independent from big business to make sure that you get the best hatching eggs possible.
- If you can you should always see the chickens or the flock from which the eggs are being bought. It would be ideal if the chickens are being raised as free range chickens and have been on a good diet such as a grain fed diet. This good diet will mean that the eggs are healthier and well formed, which will greatly increase the chances of the majority of them hatching.
- Try to buy the eggs yourself in person by visiting the farm or the breeder. You can buy them by mail, but keep in mind that some of them may get damaged or break, which will result in them not hatching. If you are buying the eggs in the mail then be sure that they are properly packaged and labeled as fragile.
- If you are getting the eggs by mail, make sure that the post office calls you as soon as they arrive. You need to pick up the eggs as soon as possible because they need to be incubated within 10 days of being laid. If the eggs are not incubated within 10 days of being laid then they will not hatch as the period for incubation has passed. The ideal period is 7 days or less, so make sure that they are no older than that. Eggs can hatch even after incubation takes place up to 3 weeks after the eggs are laid, however the rate of hatching will be quite low.
- If the eggs have travelled such as by mail, you need to make sure that they rest for at least 12 hours before incubation.
- When you are choosing your eggs for incubation you need to make sure that they have the normal shape of an egg. The eggs shouldn’t be too long in shape and they shouldn’t be too round either. A normal egg will be like an oval in shape with a slightly pointier top than the bottom which should be very rounded.
- Some eggs are far too porous, meaning that they have a very rough shell, kind of like sand paper. These eggs will probably not hatch, so keep in mind that the smoother the eggs are the higher the chances that they will hatch.
Only choose eggs that have no cracks in them. Cracked eggs will most likely never hatch due to the damage. Also cracks may let in bacteria which could spread disease to the chickens or whatever birds you are trying to hatch.
Don’t rely on your naked eye for seeing cracks because even the smallest of hairline fractures shouldn’t be present. Use a candling device to shine light through the eggs in order to see any cracks.
Also make sure that the eggs you choose aren’t too dirty. Dirty eggs may spread bacteria around in the incubator which could kill the birds. Clean the eggs with a wet towel before putting them in the incubator; do so very gently.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT INCUBATOR FOR HATCHING
Choosing the right eggs is only half of the equation and in order to successfully hatch the eggs is choosing the right incubator for the job. Follow these tips on choosing the right incubator to get the job done.
- We recommend that you should get a forced air incubator as opposed to a still air incubator. A forced air incubator uses a fan to evenly disperse the heat so that the incubator has even heating all over. This is much better for the eggs because temperature differences are not great for hatching eggs. A still air incubator tends to have temperature differences from top to bottom and that is not ideal.
- The number of eggs – When getting your incubator, you need to get one that is ideal for the number of eggs you are trying to hatch. Most incubators hold 20 to 25 eggs, but there are ones that hold as little as 12 eggs and others that hold as much as 2 dozen eggs. You probably want to incubate at least 20 eggs because they have an approximate hatching rate of 50 percent.
- When choosing your incubator you should probably get a fully automatic model as opposed to a manually operated model, this is especially true if you are a beginner or if you are very busy. Automatic incubators will be able to control the heat more effectively and keep the humidity and moisture level constant, both things which are important if you want the eggs to hatch. Seeing as the eggs need to be turned at least 3 times per day, an automatic incubator is ideal if you are busy, because a manual one makes you do it yourself and if you forget to turn them regularly then they probably won’t hatch.
- You need to choose an incubator that has as little small spaces as possible because they are harder to clean. You need to get an incubator that is very easy to clean and take apart. Not being able to clean it well means that it may get dirty and full of bacteria, which is not good for hatching more than one batch of eggs.