Part III of Chicken Egg Hatchability Problems

Here is how you can avoid Hatching Problems

Thousands of backyard hobby farmers raise chickens. Chickens are fun and interesting to have in your back yard, plus they are extremely easy to care for. One of the most fun parts of raising chickens is allowing them to set on their eggs. However, it's not always possible for your chickens to hatch their own young and even hens that are good setters can be inconsistent. There is always a place for a chicken incubator when you raise chicks. How does a chicken incubator work and what type is ideal for your particular setup? It's not hard to make a decision when you understand the different features are modern incubators.

Types of Incubators

There are two main categories of chicken incubators- forced-air and still-air models. In general, forced-air incubators are used in larger, commercial settings, where anywhere from several dozen to several hundred eggs are hatched at once. These models allow hatchery staff to place the eggs and take a hands-off approach, with little to no intervention needed until the chicks hatch. These incubators are large and quite expensive to purchase and operate. They are prohibitive for most individual or family hatching situations, though the smallest model may be affordable for a moderately sized family run operation. Still-air incubators are the most common for home users. These come in various sizes and hold anywhere from a handful, to several dozens eggs. Because air movement isn't automatically regulated by the incubator, a more hands-on approach is needed to successfully hatch the eggs. These are also quite affordable, with the most frugal options being available for well under $100.

Parts of an Incubator

The parts of an incubator will depend on the particular model, as well as the investment that was initially made. More expensive incubators leave fewer factors up to chance, but you pay for those features. A basic incubator will feature an egg tray, to hold the fertilized eggs. You will also probably find a temperature regulating system that allows the eggs to be held at the ideal temperature. A cover is needed to regulate the internal air, as well as keep the humidity levels at the optimum level. Most incubators also have a vent system to make adjustments as needed.

For those that want to look at systems that are bit more foolproof, there are several features that are worth a little bit of added cost. First, it's important to realize that your eggs will need to be turned several times a day. If an egg is allowed to stay in a certain position for too long, the growing embryo can adhere to the egg shell, causing the chick to die or hatch incorrectly. If your incubator doesn't include a turning system, you will need to manually turn the eggs at least three times a day. You also may find a thermostat regulated system will greatly increase your hatching rates, as the proper temperature and humidity levels will be maintain automatically.

Increasing Your Success

While the basic function of the incubator will go a long way to determining how many chicks you will hatch, it's also crucial to prepare your eggs properly. If an egg isn't fertile in the first place, there is no chance of getting a healthy baby chick, so be sure that your ratios of hens to roosters is sufficient and your flock is healthy. You also need to store your eggs in a cool place, with the smaller end down, until you have enough eggs to fill your incubator. In addition, as you become more familiar with how your incubator works, you will become more in tune with the best ways to increase your hatching success.

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