How should chicken eggs incubate?

If you plan to establish a broiler bird breeding business, incubating chicken eggs is the only possible way to get the right amount of young animals every month. For the artificial conclusion of chickens, no brood hens are required. The main task of the farmer is to create the right microclimate in the incubator.

Chicken Egg Incubation

What you need to know for a successful incubation

Many beginner poultry farmers think that it is enough to buy an incubator, bring it to the house, put eggs there, and after some time the chicks hatch, grow up in healthy and beautiful chickens, as a result it will be enough just to sell them and enjoy their wealth.

But this does not happen in order to grow up a viable young growth, certain skills and a theoretical knowledge base are needed. At each stage of incubation (there are four in total), unforeseen problems may arise, as a result of which the embryos die before they turn into a bird.

Breeding chickens even in a domestic incubator is a complex technological process in which the temperature regime plays a key role:

  • If the incubation climate is warmer than expected, the embryos will begin to develop faster than usual, all brood chicks will turn out to be unnaturally small in size, in addition, many will have an umbilical cord that has not yet had time to overgrow. Having managed to reduce the heat supply in time, the situation can be saved.
  • If the incubator is too cold, chicks will be born the next day after the scheduled time. The mobility of frozen chickens will be significantly lower than characteristic of their relatives, hatched under normal conditions. But as soon as they warm up, everything will return to normal.

Very strong overheating or cooling of the eggs can lead to the death of the embryos, so you constantly need to monitor the temperature in the container and adjust it if necessary.

Humidity is also important:

  • If there is dry air in the chamber, the bite will occur earlier than the set time, due to which the weight of the chickens will be less than usual.
  • If the humidity is increased, the appearance of chicks in the light, on the contrary, will be delayed a little. And if it is also cold in the chamber, there is a risk that hatched chicks with their skin and beaks will be glued to the shell.

When artificially raising chickens at home, it should be borne in mind that domestic incubators can not always maintain the same temperature in all parts of the container, even if the instructions for the device contain other information. To ensure that all embryos develop evenly, periodically change the order of eggs in the tray.

To provide the necessary humidity in the incubator, you can install in it a bath with room temperature water. If the incubation air becomes humid enough, it will simply be sufficient to simply cover the vessel to lower this parameter when necessary, so that it will always be possible to slightly move the lid to the side or remove it completely.

The optimum humidity for small appliances that are used at home is 50-65%. Its excessive increase is often accompanied by low air temperature, and when this indicator decreases, the air in the container, on the contrary, is excessively warm.

Hatchable Egg Requirements

The incubation of goose or chicken eggs should be made only from the best samples, which should be selected and stored, following special recommendations.

The mass and appearance of the shell

At home you need to take the scales and find out the mass of each egg. When breeding broiler chickens, this indicator is not the most important, but, if possible, these features should also be taken into account.

But it is necessary to take a closer look at the shell. It will not work to bring out healthy chickens in an incubator if the eggs are initially with a large number of light and dark stains on the outer surface. As a rule, this happens if feeding the hens is done by a low-quality product.

Defects detected after ovoscopy

A universal way to test chicken eggs is to light them with an ovoscope. If you do not want to spend money on the purchase of the device, you can easily do it yourself from improvised tools. There are many articles, photos and videos on the net that show the technology for creating an ovoscope.

With the help of a directional light beam, you can see in which place the egg has a growth, cavity, crack and unwanted inclusions. Even one detected defect indicates that the source material cannot be incubated:

  • If you place a cracked egg in the container, you won’t be able to grow a bird out of it, since the material will lose all moisture and the embryo will die very quickly.
  • Instances with a notch on the shell will lead to approximately the same thing, but do not rush to discard them: you can try to get rid of the defect with starch glue.
  • The embryo also develops defectively in an egg with a deformed shell.

An ovoscope can show the condition of the air chamber, indicating the freshness of the original product. In the lumen, the camera looks like a dark spot near the dull side of the egg, it stands out against the rest of the contents:

  • if the camera is small, the product is fresh,
  • if the stain is large, the product is stale.

In the second case, the eggs are not suitable for incubation, since the embryos in them will develop very slowly.

During translucency, the eggs need to be twisted from all sides. If it became noticeable that the yolk shifts sharply to the blunt, then to the sharp end, then the cord (chalaz) holding it has broken and this specimen is not suitable.

How to disinfect

The product must be thoroughly cleaned of dirt before being placed in a container with a rag soaked in a manganese solution. Then the eggs must be disinfected.

Industrial processing is usually carried out in formaldehyde vapor. For this, formaldehyde, water and potassium permanganate are mixed in equal proportions. To process one cubic meter, it is enough to take 30 ml of each substance.

The container with the solution is quickly put into a special chamber, the selected eggs should already lie there. After a few seconds, as a result of a violent reaction, caustic gas, formaldehyde, will begin to be released from the vessel. As a camera, you can use an ordinary wooden box, which has no gaps and is very tightly closed. The procedure lasts approximately 30 minutes.

This method is suitable if the farmer has a large production of young animals. If a small household incubator is used on the farm, you can do without formaldehyde by wet disinfection with a 30 percent aqueous solution of bleach. Immediately before laying the eggs in the incubator, you need to place them for several minutes in the prepared disinfectant liquid.

How to save eggs for incubation

For storage, put the material into the cells with the blunt side up. The room where the product is planned to be stored should be clean and cool (optimal t - 18 ° С). In this case, air humidity should be constantly maintained in the range of 80-85%. If long-term storage is necessary, it is better to lower the temperature slightly.

The maximum duration of storage of the starting material is 6 days after the layer has laid it down. But best of all, fruits develop in specimens whose age is no more than 2 days.

How to lay eggs in an incubator

Each incubation always starts with laying in the source material trays. You can do it at any time of the day, although most farmers prefer to do this in the late afternoon.

Having taken the eggs out of the cool storage, it is necessary to place them in a warm place for 1-2 hours and only then transfer them to the incubator.

Layout of duck and chicken eggs:

  • Very large specimens are laid first, as chickens are hatched later.
  • after 6 hours, a medium-sized product is laid.
  • After another 6 hours, the turn of small eggs.

If done correctly, the chicks will hatch at the same time. To simplify the process, it is best to immediately select all medium-sized eggs as starting material.

Stages of incubation and temperature conditions

Before laying the product, each tray of the incubator must be warmed to room temperature (25-27 ° C).

Incubation should take place in four stages:

  • Stage 1 - the period from 1 to 7 days,
  • Stage 2 - the period from 8 to 11 days,
  • Stage 3 - the period from 12 days to the first squeak of chicks that have not yet been born.
  • Stage 4 - the period from the first squeak to the bite.

Table of modes of incubation of chicken eggs at home.

Ovoscopy DaysHumidityTemperatureTurn
Stage 1from 6 to 10 dayfrom 50% to 60%37.5 ° C (dry)

29 ° C (with wet)

every hour
2 stagefrom 11 to 17 day
3 stagefrom day 18
4th stage-Gradually increase

up to 78-80%

On dry - 37.2 ° С

On wet - 31 ° С

not needed

The table clearly shows under what conditions the eggs should be incubated in order for the embryos to develop correctly. If you are afraid to forget something or miss an important time, you can create an electronic calendar on your phone and mark the time and days there for the necessary procedures.

First step

The first 3 stages need to contain eggs at a temperature of 37.7 ° C and a humidity of 50% or slightly more. These days every 60 minutes you need to turn the eggs over (hens constantly do this in vivo).

It is very good if your incubator model has a built-in rotation function, if not, you need to open the container and carefully turn each egg over. We must always try to comply with these simple rules and scrolling schedules in a timely manner. It is necessary to change the position of the eggs so that the embryos do not grow to the walls of the eggs and die.

Periodically, throughout the entire incubation period, ovoscopy should be performed to understand whether the embryo is developing correctly. At the first transmission, a well-developed circulatory-vascular network should be clearly visible, covering more than half the surface of the yolk. The embryo itself is still hidden inside the plasma. If abnormally developing eggs or those in which the embryo is absent become noticeable, remove them from the tray.

Second and third stages

From the second week, the next stage of incubation begins, these days the embryo needs the maximum amount of water. Too dry air is detrimental to the development of future chicks. An embryo is already visible in the lumen in the egg, and allantois closed at the blunt end.

On the days of the third stage, good air circulation should be ensured, which will facilitate active gas exchange and metabolism. We must continue to monitor the progress of the fetus.

By this time, the embryo will fill almost the entire space, with the exception of the air chamber, under which (under normal conditions) should be given a third of the egg. At the end of the third period, the chicks will begin to peep inside the egg and reach towards its sharp end, trying to break through the film of the air chamber first, and then the shell itself.

Fourth stage

And finally, the last, fourth stage. At this time, the chicks are ready to be born and your task is to help them in this. For easy biting, it is important to ensure that the temperature in the chamber is constantly maintained in the region of 37.2 ° C, and the humidity is not less than 78%. If the device has a ventilation function, it should be turned on twice a day, if not, the incubator should be ventilated on its own (the process should last about 20 minutes). From day 18, you can not turn the eggs over; they should always lie on their sides at a good distance from each other.

Among other things, it is important to pay attention to how the chicks squeak. With normal development of the fetus, the sound from the shell should come out even, tender, not too loud. If the chickens start screaming with all their might, then they are cold.

Before hatching, the chick begins to turn clockwise and peck the shell. For healthy young animals, this work is not difficult, the shell is chopped into large pieces and after 3-4 hives a break is formed in the egg and the chick is born. If you have never seen chickens appear, you can watch a video on this topic, which you can find as many as you like on the Internet.

Incubation lasts an average of 3 weeks (21 days). Chicks from eggs simultaneously loaded into the device should hatch all on one day with a difference of several minutes to several hours. After the chicks hatch, you need to carefully examine and select the bird.

In healthy chicks:

  • strong strong legs
  • shiny fluff
  • bulging eyes
  • clear look
  • short beaks.

Pets must actively move and respond to extraneous sounds. It is important to carefully examine the bellies bellies, check the umbilical cord for softness. If there is a noticeable slight increase in the abdomen, on which there are small dried blood clots near the umbilical cord, there is no need to rush to reject the broiler chick, in the future the situation can normalize. The same applies to babies whose feather color is not too perfect (pale, dull).

If the chickens are very weak, they must be killed immediately. You should not spend precious time on poor brood, it is better to pay more attention to viable individuals. Hatching lumps should be kept in the incubator until they dry out, then they need to be moved to a brooder (a box or a cardboard box is suitable for these purposes).

The main errors of poultry breeders during incubation, which can cause high mortality of young animals, are as follows:

  • poor quality of selected eggs,
  • Incorrect incubation
  • too long storage of the source material.

The main task of incubation is, taking into account all the subtleties, to create the right microclimate in which the development of embryos will occur in a timely and harmonious manner. Any, even fully automated, device requires constant monitoring at least 3 times a day. It should be remembered that even if all parameters are set correctly, no one is safe from malfunctions in the operation of the equipment.


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