Sustainable Dreams

Hatching Chicken Eggs

Watch the video of the chicks I hatched with my grandson.

Hatching eggs is actually easier than many people think. I have had several opportunities to hatch out eggs using slightly different methods from using a bread warmer under partially developed eggs that were abandoned as a teen to using an automated  incubator that kept the settings perfect.

Chicken eggs collected to hatch should be stored at room temperature with the smaller end pointing down. The eggs should never be older than 10 days old from the day it was layed. The older the eggs are, the more viability decreases.

Whether you are using a purchased egg incubator or a diy designed incubator, you will need a thermometer and a hygrometer to measure humidity inside the incubator. I have never measured my humidity levels for any hatches except when I used the automatic system. My hatch rates have always been decent with a water bowl inside the incubator and adding a small damp cloth for the lock down period I will discuss later on.

The temperature for chicken eggs should be 99.5°F - 101.5°F. Humidity levels are even more important and should increase in the 18th to 21st days where you do not open the incubator for no reason until the hatch is complete. This 3 day period is known as the lock down period.

What temperature to incubate chicken eggs?
"Perhaps the most important parameter is temperature – chicken eggs should be incubated at a temperature between 99 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit (99.5 is often considered to be ideal) and 50 to 65 percent relative humidity (60 percent is often considered the ideal)."
Expert Tips for Incubating Chicken Eggs - ...

I make sure the eggs are clean.
I place a "X" on one side of the egg and an "O" on the opposite side. This is so that you can keep track of the last turn.
You'll want to turn the eggs at least 4 times a day for 18 days. I set alarms on my smart phone to remind me everyday.
Because i dont currently have an automatic system, i watch the temperature very closely to make sure it stays within safe hatching temperatures and I Be sure there is always water in a bowl. Without a hygrometer, or a wetbulb, its difficult to determine if the moisture is right so just keep a small dish of water at all times.
On day 18, you must put the eggs on lockdown. That means that you close the incubator and do not open it under any circumstances until the eggs are hatched. This can occur anywhere from day 18 to day 22.
When I get to day 18, i place a dampish wet cloth in with the eggs To increase the humidity. I have no way to measure it but it seems to work out with good hatch rates for me considering the methods.
Once your chicks hatch, you will keep them in the incubator until they are dry and fluffy. You can also offer water and click starter crumbles while they wait drying. Don't keep them in the incubator any longer than 2 days.
Once all your chicks are dry and fluffy, you can move them to a brooder box with a heat light. Iwill be posting soon about my make shift brooder that i can keep outside in the coop. Search Google for diy chick brooders for more information about the specifications you must meet for a brooder box that will Keep them warm, healthy, and safe.
I am obviously no pro where it comes to all of this farming and homesteading type stuff, I learn as I go and report my progress in my unprofessional way (laugh).

Although each and every hatch attempt I've made has been successful, it's difficult to give directions fully. Fortunately there are many websites that lay it all out for you so that you too can hatch chicken eggs.

My goal is to let people know that you can do these things without spending a fortune or having previous knowlege.

I'm a low income household and have several livestock animals, plus I garden. A lot of what I do to make it work must be free. Think about that for a moment...
We didn't come to this world with money and we weren't born to know how to live natural and free. We learned as human beings and technology brings the knowlege we need for anything we can think up.

The fact of the matter is this...
Even if you are poor, you can start learning and growing into a self sustaining homestead. Follow me for some free ideas on how I manage to continue growing my Sustainable Dreams Homestead! I'm moving right along. Come with me!

Below you will find some useful links to full instructions and information on hatching chicks.