Chicken Incubators & Getting the Most Chicks from your Mailed or Shipped Hatching Eggs
Why do you need an incubator?
Broody hens don't always cooperate and even when they do set, they don't lay eggs for approximately 10 weeks!
A chicken incubator hatches many more chicks a year. Perfect if you want to raise a few more heritage birds for meat. You can do things naturally also and let a broody hen sit on eggs later in the season and raise her own chicks in better weather.
Click below for the best prices on great incubators perfect for a back yard flock. Brinsea, GQF, and Reptibators with eggs turners too at www.Incubators.org
Incubator purchase tips
The best and easiest to use incubators
- Maintain constant temperature
- Smooth easy to clean surfaces
- Automated turner for less work
- Big window to see chicks hatching
- Have an automatic humidity control
None of these things are necessary, but will allow you way more freedom. You will not have to worry about forgetting vital tasks, giving you better hatch rates!
Tips to get the Most Chicks from your shipped Hatching Eggs
Getting fertile hatching eggs in the mail can be risky but rewarding. It is the means to Rare Beautiful Heritage Breeds Chickens from the other side of the continent. We have saved eggs that never would have hatched by doing the things below.
The following is a list of things you can do to increase your hatch rates on shipped chicken and Turkey eggs. By candling on arrival you will know what special handling is needed, if any. It is generally considered 40% hatch is "good" for mailed eggs. Occasionally hatches can be 100% or 0%! Anything you can do to get more chicks from that dozen ferrilised chicken eggs is well worth it.
Hatching products to make things easy
Shipped fertilised egg receiving checklist
1. Get them shipped as fast as possible/you can afford. Ideally when temperatures are moderate, despite the hatching addiction sometimes leading to spur of the moment decisions
2. Give your phone number to the shipper to put on the box so you can get the hatching eggs as soon as possible then the transporter can get a hold of you if there is a hitch
3. Candle them as soon as you get them-then you know if they need special treatment-you are looking for cracks, rolling loose or disrupted air sacs
4. Let them stabilize- sit in a flat egg carton, pointy end down, overnight, but 6 hours minimum, and allow them to come up to room temperature slowly before they go anywhere near the incubator.
5. Any with hairline cracks (shell only-no leaks) you can reseal the crack line with nail polish-a couple of coats, incubate as usual but don't wash. I won’t incubate any with cracks again. No embryos grew and a blowup will ruin a lot more eggs. If you want to save the cracked ones check those eggs daily and remove immediately if you notice a bad smell.
6. For rolling, detached or disrupted air cells (so cells no longer at fat end of the egg but like a spirit level bubble on the long side), you’ll need to change your hatch plan. They need to sit 24 hours always pointy end down, to see if the cells will reattach. Leave them in the egg carton for all 21 days of the hatch. Stop turning early at Day 16 not 18. I have hatched chicks from eggs with detached air sacs where the cells never stabilized even after 24 hours, but were left upright for hatch. Make sure any turning is gentle, and 45% or more vertical.
7. If you have to let them sit a few days before incubating, after the first 24 hours, gently tilt the cartons they are in 2 x per day and keep them around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, in a cool basement
8. I always quickly sanitize my eggs in warm water (100 degrees F) with a drop of bleach right before putting in my incubator, but do whatever you usually do. I don’t think it has any effect on hatch rate, but I feel more comfortable with clean eggs in the bator.
9. After that is just having that grip on your temp and humidity! I definitely recommend a Brinsea spot check thermometer, ours has definitely saved chick lives.
More sites and hubs we have written on chicken care
- Top 10 Favourite Rare Heritage Chicken Breeds and Why!
- Tips on Buying Fertilised Chicken Eggs for Hatching & How to choose Chicken Incubators
If you want to know what questions to ask your egg suppliers to make sure you are getting the eggs and chicks you want, read on.
- Building Great Henhouses
- Easy Tips on Raising Chickens & Building Henhouses & Chicken Coops - Chicken Tips - Making L
Collection of chicken care and rare breed articles and information we have written.
- Plans for Building Easy Chicken Coops and Henhouses and Filling Them with the Right Chicken Breeds
Raising Chickens is relaxing and enjoyable when done the easy way. Helpful tips and experience can save you time and hard work.
- 10 Ways to Keep Your Chickens Safe from Predators