Using an incubator to hatch any one of a variety of bantam eggs is an effective and educational way to raise small fowl such as chickens and ducks. Incubating helps maintain a more controlled environment to hatch the eggs, reducing exposure to germs, disease and predators. You can store eggs in a warm dry place for up to seven days prior to placing them in the incubators. Your job when incubating bantam eggs is to monitor and maintain the incubator settings.
Examine the eggs before incubating. Discard any eggs that are cracked or have thin shells.
Mark each egg with an "X" on the one side and an "O" on the other.
Turn on the incubator and allow it to heat to 37.8 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) in forced-air incubators and 38.9 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit) in still-air incubators.
Place the eggs in the incubator and mark your calendar on when they were put in. Lay the eggs to the pointed side slightly angled up, but that each egg is predominately on its side. The embryo will grow in the more narrow end where it is easier to break the shell upon hatching.
Maintain the humidity in the incubator by adding water as needed to a dish or the humidity tray (if your incubator has one). This should be around 55 to 60 per cent humidity in the first half of incubation moving to 70 per cent just a few days before hatching.
Turn the eggs four to six times daily. Some incubators do this manually. Otherwise, mark your calendar with the times you placed the eggs "X" up and the turned them to the "O."
Count the days of incubation. It should take 22 to 24 days for most breeds of fowl. Check the development by using a light or candle to look for the embryo shadow.
Discard eggs that have no development in the last week of incubation to prevent rotting and disease afflicting the other eggs.
Use medium size eggs. Eggs that are too large or small don't hatch or lead to problems in hatching.
Tips and warnings
- Use medium size eggs. Eggs that are too large or small don't hatch or lead to problems in hatching.