Hatching chicken eggs on your own is a great way to observe the life cycles of chickens and even animals in general. Here’s how you can hatch chicken eggs on your own.
Get in touch with a hatchery or local poultry farmers for fertilized eggs. The eggs should be at least medium-sized and do not have cracks or holes.
If you’re hatching only a small batch of eggs, go for a still-air incubator. Otherwise, go for the forced-air incubator. The difference between the two is the fan that aerates the incubators. If you are unsure which to get, you can talk to a vet about which one to get for your needs.
Test the incubator by checking its temperature and humidity. Both should be consistent, have proper ventilation and have room for moving air.
Find a place indoors to put the incubator in.
Once you’ve checked that the incubator is functioning perfectly, put the fertilized eggs in the incubator. Don’t be alarmed if the temperature of the incubator goes down for the first hours. Do not adjust the temperature after 48 hours after setting the incubator.
If you’re using a forced-air incubator, keep the temperature maintained at around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re using a still-air incubator, keep the temperature at 102 degrees Fahrenheit.
At the first 18 days, the humidity can go as high as 50%, but no higher. If you’re using a dry incubation method, the humidity can go to 25% but not lower. Add a few tablespoons of water inside the incubator to alleviate the humidity.
For the first 18 days, give each egg half a turn four to six times a day. Stop this step on the 19th day to allow the chicks in the eggs to settle. Do not set the eggs with the small ends pointing upward.
On the 19th day, raise the humidity level anywhere between 60%-75%. At this point, you should avoid opening the incubator unless it is to add water to aid in humidity. The chicks should be getting ready to hatch at this point.
The eggs should be hatching on the 21st day. Do not help the chicks to break out of their shells. They need to do this on their own for their own good and as part of their maturity phase. Make sure that you maintain the humidity at this crucial time. You may take out chicks one at a time every 12-24 hours if you need to.
Clean out the incubator before using it again.