Letting a hen hatch its own chicken eggs might seem to be the most reasonable course to take. However, most hens used for laying eggs have had this motherly instinct bred out of them. Many will walk away before the chicks hatch. Building a homemade incubator with some common household items to hatch eggs is the ideal solution for those without an incubator. Patience, time and attention to details are required for success. Eggs generally take 21 days to hatch.
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Things you need
- Plastic storage bin with lid
- Incandescent gooseneck lamp
- Cloth towel
- Spray bottle
Drill 9.75 mm (3/8 inch) holes in the lid of the plastic bin to provide ventilation. Drill enough holes to provide even coverage. The plastic bin needs to be big enough to allow all the eggs to lay flat as well as to contain a gooseneck incandescent lamp. If you have more eggs than can fit comfortably underneath the lamp, you will need to fit an additional lamp inside the bin to warm the additional eggs.
Lay the cloth towel down in the plastic bin.
Place the incandescent gooseneck lamp inside the bin.
Determine the distance the eggs should be from the lamp by measuring the distance at which the surface temperature of the eggs remains a steady 38 degrees C (100F). Check the eggs' surface temperature with a thermometer daily.
Mist the eggs daily with pure water using a spray bottle. The humidity should be around 60 per cent inside the bin.
Turn the eggs five times daily. Space the turnings evenly throughout the day.
Tips and warnings
- Mark the chicken eggs with an "x" on one side and an "o" on the other for an easy way to determine which eggs have been turned. Use either a grease pencil or lead pencil only.
- Place the bin in a room with a stable temperature and humidity to avoid having to change the egg distance from the lamp too often.
- Drill slowly and gently to avoid cracking the plastic lid.