Incubating eggs is delicate work. A chicken sits on her eggs, knocks them around with her body, steps away from them for a few moments to eat, and still manages to hatch out her chicks at a much higher rate than people can with thermometer-bearing, hygrometer-equipped, egg-turning incubators. Because we are not chickens, humans must be diligent in the measures taken to ensure incubated chicks' best chance at survival.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Incubator with egg turner
- Electrical source
- Viable (fertilised) eggs
Place your incubator in a safe location, away from children, pets and loud noises, where there are neither drafts nor direct sunlight. Put it in a location with a relatively constant temperature.
Start up your incubator at least two days before you plan to use it for eggs. Set the incubator's thermostat at 37.2 degrees C and monitor it throughout the trial period. In most incubators, the temperature can be adjusted by a knob on the top.
If your incubator has a hygrometer (a gauge which measures humidity), set it at 50 per cent and fill your water reservoir. The eggs need to have 50 per cent humidity for the first 18 days and 70 per cent to 80 per cent for the last three. Although some people are proponents of dry incubation, follow the manufacturer's directions on your incubator to the letter for best results. If your incubator is not equipped with a hygrometer, these directions will tell you exactly how to give your eggs the humidity they need.
If your eggs have been stored in a cool place, allow them to reach room temperature for at least six hours before incubating. Place the eggs into the egg turner with the point down.
Tips and warnings
- If your incubator does not come with a hygrometer, you can purchase one inexpensively at a pet store or online. Incubate using the turner for 18 days only; remove eggs from the turner, raise the humidity and finish incubation. Remember to monitor the temperature several times daily.
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