How to Hatch Your Chicken Eggs with and without an Incubator?
People who rear chicken for the first time are always skeptical when buying chicks. This is because there are a lot of things you need to consider before you select the chicks. Plus, there is fear of the chicks not being able to survive ones they are introduced to a whole new environment and setting from where they were hatched.
Therefore, to be on a safe side, consider hatching your chicks at home which can be easy and quick as long you use the right devices and procedures. There are two methods that you can use to hatch chicks at home, and they are;
• Hatching with an incubator.
• Hatching without an incubator.
- Hatching chicks with an incubator.
The steps to follow when hatching your chicks with an incubator are as follows;
Get an incubator.
The first step you need to take is to buy an incubator. There are different models of chick incubators in the market, and thus you need to be careful when selecting the nursery to choose. This is because not all these devices are crafted with the right features and parts to keep your chicks safe.
So, before you buy a particular incubator on the market, read the chicken incubator reviews from other customers to see what they are saying about that incubators and if it is worth buying or not. Overall, the best chicken incubator must have an excellent temperature, air circulation, be easy to control and easy to clean as well.
Prepare the nursery.
It is crucial that you prepare the incubator before you put the eggs inside. This mainly requires you to set it in the right temperatures, air and do the necessary cleaning if needed. So, set the temperatures at a level of 99 to 99.5 degrees F, while the humid should be set between 40 to 50 degree within the first 18 days of putting the eggs. Allow the incubator to remain for 24 hours before adding the eggs inside to allow the temperatures and the air circulate in all parts of the nursery.
Things to note when setting the incubator.
The temperatures should be set accurately since failure to do so may damage the embryo. The humid has to be increased between 65-75 degrees ones the eggs have stayed for 18 days in the incubator.
Set the eggs and set the heat to begin fertilization.
It is crucial to note that the best eggs to use in the incubator should be clean and if possible use the ones which have been collected immediately from the hen's hutch. Avoid cleaning the eggs at any cost since you can easily damage the outer coating which is meant to protect the embryo.
Ones you place the eggs in the incubator, make it a routine to check on the eggs regularly to ensure the humid and temperatures are favorable. If the humid is either low or high, make sure to regulate it to fit the eggs depending on the stage they are at. Another crucial point to remember is that you should keep on adding water to the incubator for the first 18 days you put the eggs in the incubator.
Add more water as the egg reaches 18 days in the incubator.
The eggs should be turned regularly to ensure all parts are getting enough circulation of air and temperatures. There are some incubators equipped with automatic turning mechanism, although you can still opt to turn the eggs manually. Just make sure to mark the parts that you turn to ensure the eggs are set evenly.
The turning should be done approximately three to four times a day.
The hatching process:
The hatching process begins after 18 days. You will notice the eggs moving and some cracks forming on the sides. Then the chicks will eventually get out of the egg and stay for about 6 to 12 hours to rest and catch enough breathe.
After the chicks have rested for 12 hours, move them to their box and ensure the box is equipped with a lamp to keep them warm. Feed them with starter chicks food and wait for about two weeks before you introduce them to the rest of the flocks.
- Hatching chicks without an incubator.
Choose the right chicken.
If you opt to hatch the chicks naturally, then you ought to have the right breed of hen and the two most recommended breeds are the silkies and cochins since they are bloody.
Choose the nest area.
It is crucial to find a favorable place where the hen can nest although some breeds choose their preferred areas. So, make sure wherever the hen is nesting from is safe and the eggs are protected as well.
One essential thing to note though is that not all eggs may hatch when using the broody hen and therefore, you have to make sure you have an incubator ready to use in case the hen leaves some eggs unhatched
Using a broody hen to hatch the eggs is quite easy since the hen provides all the warmth the eggs require and protection from the weather and other external calamities too. So, your work will not be much aside from checking on the hen to ensure it is safe and in a favorable environment.
The chicks hatch.
Ones the eggs have hatched, the hen continues to take care of them, but you may opt to separate the chicks from the mother to give them better care. But allowing the broody hen to raise the chicks makes it easy for the chicks to learn how to interact with other flocks for better growth.
But, keep in mind that by allowing the chicks to be raised by the broody hen is dangerous as they are more exposed to the predators as opposed to when you solely look after them. So, if you opt for the hen to look after the chicks, keep a close watch on them, and ensure the hen does not go further from home for safety purposes.
Whether you have an incubator or not, you can still hatch your chicks at home as long you have the right hen and favorable eggs. So, follow the above two methods to enable you to hatch chicks at the comfort of your home.