ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How To: Incubating Chicken Eggs At Home

Updated on May 3, 2018
CaitBooth profile image

Caitlyn loves animals of all species and sizes. Yes that includes creepy crawly bugs and snakes.

Eggs & Herbs
Eggs & Herbs

What's Fun, Educational, and Beneficial All at Once?

Hatching and raising chicks! Many schools do it to teach their students about life and development- plus it's just really cool to witness.

Raising chicks can be a fun learning experience for children as it teaches them about responsibility and about life cycles.

Not only is this experience beneficial for students, having chickens supplies your family with eggs and meat for many years to come.

So, how do you hatch chicks in you home? Below are the steps to hatching your first batch of chicks!

First Things First...

Before you can even think of hatching and raising the chicks, you need a place to incubate them. Many people opt to buy an incubator that comes with everything you need and makes recording the data on them much easier, but they can be expensive for most people.

Below is a video on how to make your own homemade incubator for only twenty dollars. The supplies and steps are also included below for reference.

Supplies You'll Need:

  • Styrofoam Cooler
  • Knife
  • Picture frame glass
  • 25-watt lightbulb
  • Tin tray
  • Non-slip netting
  • Chicken wire
  • Thermometer that reads both temperature and humidity
  • Sponges
  • Small dish
  • Duct tape

Steps:

  1. Once you have the supplies, cute two holes in the cooler, one for the light bulb and one for the glass frame. Use the tape to seal the holes once the glass and bulb are fitted so the heat can't get out.
  2. Set the dish and sponges under the light source and the tin tray as far from the dish as possible. Place the netting in the tray so the chicks cannot slip and fall after hatching.
  3. Take the piece of chicken wire and fit it between the dish and the tray so that the chicks cannot reach the sponges. Soak the sponges in water and place back in dish.
  4. Once the incubator is set up, place the thermometer where you can clearly read the numbers, close the lid, and observe for a few hours.

The light and water levels may need adjusting, so do so until the numbers read 99 degrees Fahrenheit and between 40 and 50% humidity, which are optimal readings for hatching. Set the eggs in (make sure to mark them on one side so you know how far to turn them), close the lid. and leave them go!


Note: Be sure to mark your calendar so you don't forget about day 18, which will be covered later in the article, and day 21!

Days 1 - 18: Turning Days

From day one all the way until day eighteen, you will turn the eggs up to four or five times a day, though turning them three or four is just fine. Make sure to record when you turn them so you don't wait too long in between turnings; the developing yolk can stick to the wall of the egg, leading to a lost chick.

Humidity in the incubator should stay between 40 and 50% so the membrane stays loose and the chick can easily break through.

Temperature should stay as close to 99.5 degrees as possible, but fluctuations are normal and fine, so long as they temperature doesn't stay too cold or too hot for long periods of time.

Parts Of The Egg (Inside)
Parts Of The Egg (Inside)

Days 4 - 8: Candling!

As early as day four of the incubation process, you can see the embryo begin to develop! The candling process is done by holding a light source (flashlight or candle) against the fat end of the egg and observing the inside of the egg.

If there is blood vessels around a circle of red towards the middle of the egg, you've got a potential chick growing!

If the egg doesn't develop any blood vessels by day eight or nine, toss them into the trash; undeveloped eggs can explode if left in the incubator!

As you're candling, take a pencil and mark where the air sac is (you'll be able to see it while candling); this is so on hatch day, you'll know that the chicks are pipping at the right places and will be able to breathe!

Egg With No Development
Egg With No Development

Days 9 - 18: Development & Movement!

You can continue candling your eggs all through these days. Keep in mind they atmosphere inside should stay as constant as possible for optimal hatching, so record the temperature and humidity every time you turn them and don't mess with the light too often.

During this period, some of them may die for no explainable reason. A ring of red will be visible around the air sac, and the blood vessels will be broken. Toss these eggs as they are no good.

During this time, you may see the embryos moving about as they continue to grow and change! Keep checking on their development daily. Towards the end of incubation, you'll notice the eggs darkening and eventually there will be just black. Don't be alarmed! The chick is getting into position for hatching and is just blocking out the light! He's ready to go!

Stages Of Embryo Development
Stages Of Embryo Development

Day 18: Batten Down The Hatches!

Day eighteen should be marked down on your calendar because it is the day you stop turning the eggs and opening the incubator to check them. This is because the chicks are now developed and readying for their hatch.

On day 18, you will have to up the humidity so the membrane doesn't toughen, causing the chick to become "leather bound", or stuck in the egg. Add more water and adjust the light:water ratio so the numbers read 99 degrees and between 60 and 70 percent.

Once the atmosphere is ready, shut the lid and don't touch it again unless you absolutely have to!

The chicks are not really on a time schedule, so they can hatch anywhere from day 19 to day 23, so be patient and keep an eye (and ear!) on them at all times! If you can hear peeping and see cracks or holes in the eggs (pips), you know they are on their way! The hatching process is long, sometimes over 24-hours, so be patient.

Day 21: Hatch Day!

This is by far the most exciting day of the process: hatch day!

Chicks take a long time to hatch as it is a tiring experience, so keep an eye on them so you can remove the egg shells once they hatch. Be careful not to keep the lid open too long because the chicks are still wet and they could catch a chill and die. Also, leave the chicks in there once they hatch; their cheeping and movement encourages the other chicks still in their eggs to come out.

When a chick emerges and begins moving around, you may notice the shell will go with them sometimes. This is perfectly normal. They are attached to the membrane by their umbilical cord, and as they dry and fluff out, it will eventually fall off. Do Not Try To Pull It Off!

Keep an eye out for any chicks struggling to get out of their eggs. You can't really help them, unfortunately, so just keep checking on them in case they find a way out.

Once everyone is hatched, fluffed out, and unhatched eggs removed, remove the dish and sponges so the humidity won't be so high (this keeps them from drying fully) and the tray they are in. The chicks can stay in the incubator for up to 72 hours without food and water thanks to the yolk, so don't worry about them starving.

Keep the chicken wire in between the light & chicks to keep them from being burned.


So what is the next step?

Newly Hatched Chicks In The Incubator!
Newly Hatched Chicks In The Incubator!

Time For A New Home!

After chicks hatch, a brooder must be made for them so they can grow into adolescent chickens under the heat of a lamp with food, water, and space. The brooder pen/box is just an area where chicks can live for four to eight weeks before being introduced to the outside world.

Food and water should be set out for them and kept clean. A heat lamp should be available for them since they do not have their adult feathers to keep them warm. The starting temperature should be around 95 degrees, and turned down five degrees each week that passes until they are feathered out and ready to go outside!

Water dishes should be extremely shallow, and you may need to dunk their beaks into the water to teach them how to drink. Food can be scattered over a paper towel, chick grit added in so they can begin to digest older chick food.

Final Thoughts

That's it! Your chicks will be ready for the outside world around eight weeks old, though you can put them in a coop with a red heat lamp on at night as early as four weeks old. Keep an eye on their development as you'll start to notice who are the hens and who are the roosters after ten or twelve weeks.

Be sure to research laws on roosters and crowing as these guys can be quite loud!

Hens will start to lay eggs after five months, so be sure to check their nesting boxes for eggs around that time!

Congratulations! You now have the start of a chicken farm! And a very cool science project.

© 2017 Caitlyn Booth

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)