We have been incubating our own eggs for several years. One of our more frequently asked questions is about hatching so we will try to answer some of those questions.
We have changed the type of incubator we used several times over the years. Our current favorite is the Harris Farms Nurture Right 360. The newest model has an almost completely clear top so we can easily see inside. It also has a opening to the water reservoir on the outside so water can be very easily added. I use a large syringe and add water twice a day, morning and evening. It has an automatic turner so we rarely have to open the lid. This incubator keeps the temperature and humidity regulated better than any we have used. It also has a built in count down and an egg candling light. And no, I do not get any compensation for endorsing them. But I’ll be glad to take a free incubator if they want to give me one. 🤣 Seriously though when we find a great product we do like to share it.
So now that we have the incubator what’s next? Start by gathering your eggs or buying hatching eggs. Try not to use any older than 7-10 days. The hatch rate goes down the older they get. We have had good success with eggs we found in odd places and had no idea how old they were! Store them in a cool and humid place. 55° and 75% humidity is ideal but that’s not easy. Mine have hatched for me and others and I keep them in a carton in my kitchen. Also turn them in the carton daily until you are ready to start incubating. Turning keeps the yolk centered and from sticking to the membrane. Always store them pointy end down.
Get your incubator ready and make sure the temperature and humidity holds steady before you put your eggs in. I usually leave mine running and keep an eye on it for several hours.
Once you put the eggs in monitor the eggs often. Temperature should stay at 99.5° F and humidity at 50-55% for both chicken and duck eggs. They stay this way for the first 18 days for chicks and 25 days for ducks. Day 7-10 is a good time to candle your eggs and see if there is growth inside them. A strong flashlight will work if your incubator doesn’t have a candler built in. Look for signs of blood vessels. If you can see them there is a live embryo inside. By day 18 days the embryo takes up most of the egg and it looks very dark inside the egg. Sometimes you can see movement inside the egg.
Three days before hatching add more water to raise the humidity to 65-70%. At this point your eggs are in lockdown. Do not open the lid until they’ve hatched!
Now is the time to start watching for pips or little cracks or holes in the egg. It is so exciting to see the first pips and to watch them hatch!
Hopefully this helps with your egg incubation. Feel free to ask any questions I may not have answered. Happy hatching!