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Incubation of chicken eggs - how to avoid common mistakes?

With the right approach, the incubation of chicken eggs helps in rearing young animals. If you correctly organize the process by creating an ideal microclimate, then you can get the right number of chicks all year round and not depend on hens. This is a tedious task, but the result will please.

Incubation of chicken eggs at home

Incubation is a complex technological process, where the observance of the thermal regime and the correct air humidity play a key role. You need to know how to pick up and store the material, how many days the chickens hatch. The mode of incubation of chicken eggs is adjusted depending on the stage of raising chicks, it must be strictly observed, otherwise there is a risk of killing the offspring.

incubation of chicken eggs at home

Collection and storage of eggs for incubation

Before the start of incubation of chicken eggs, material is selected. There are certain requirements for this:

  1. The age of the laying hen should be 1.5-2 years, it is better that she is fattened on natural food.
  2. Eggs lighter than 52 g are rejected. The optimal weight is 56-63 g, the bookmark must be made uniform.
  3. The shape of the eggs should be correct – the blunt and sharp parts are clearly defined. There should be no cracks, growths, roughness on the shell.

In addition to visual selection, the eggs are illuminated with a beam of directional light on an ovoscope, which helps to see the contents. In the absence of the device, you can use a flashlight or any lamp. What to look for:

  1. Eggs with shell defects and microcracks are not allowed for incubation.
  2. At the blunt end there should be an air chamber 2-4 mm thick.
  3. The yolk should be located in the center, when turning the egg it should be inactive.
  4. The inside of the egg should be clean – without inclusions and blood clots.

Selected eggs are stored indoors. Otherwise, with immersion in a heated chamber, condensation and mold form, which is fatal for the embryo. Hold them upright with the blunt end up. The storage temperature of chicken eggs for incubation should be +18°C. If they are stored for a long time, it is reduced to + 12 ° C. Humidity should not fall below 80%. The optimal storage time is 5 days, then the hatchability decreases. It is believed that the best performance for eggs that have lain indoors for no longer than 2 days.

How to prepare chicken eggs for incubation?

Disinfectant treatment of chicken eggs before incubation is required, it is carried out 1.5-2 hours before laying. The best option is to use a pinkish solution of potassium permanganate or a 1-1.5% solution of hydrogen peroxide. Egg shells are gently wiped with a cloth soaked in the composition, or eggs are soaked in it for 5-6 minutes. The optimum temperature for the mixture is +29 – 30°C. Then the eggs need to be laid on a cloth and wait for drying. Washing the shell is not recommended – this will damage the protective film.

The temperature of incubation of chicken eggs in an incubator

The material before laying is heated to room temperature, placed in a tray, placed in a heated incubator. The optimal laying time is 17-22 in the evening, then the chicks will hatch in the afternoon. The temperature of incubation of chicken eggs must be strictly maintained throughout the entire period. It depends on the period of the hatching process:

  • from 1 to 18 days – + 37.8 – 38 ° С;
  • from 19 to 21 days – + 37.5 – 37.7 ° С.

An important point is turning over, it is carried out every 4-6 hours from the 1st to the 18th day of hatching. For convenience, the eggs can be marked with a marker. The task is facilitated if the incubator is automatic and does everything on its own. If the turning is not done, then the embryo may stick to the shell, which is fraught with death for it. From the 19th day, turning the eggs is stopped.

Humidity when incubating chicken eggs

Humidity indicators are also clearly controlled when hatching chicks. Dry air will lead to weight loss by individuals, which is fraught with premature pipping. A higher value will result in a delay. Humidity during the incubation of chickens is adjusted depending on the maturation period of the chicks:

  • from 1 to 7 days – 50-55%;
  • from 8 to 14 days – decreases to 45%;
  • from 15 to 18 days – rises to 50%;
  • from 19 to 21 days – still rises to 65%.

Incubation period for chicken eggs

Traditionally, the incubation of chicken eggs lasts 20-21 days. A batch of chicks after the first biting comes out during the day and is completely completed on the 22nd day. Sometimes the period can last for 1-2 days due to the low temperature of the content in the cell. The maximum incubation period for chicken eggs is 25 days; it does not make sense to wait longer for the chicks to hatch.

egg incubation time

Checking chicken eggs during incubation

The growth of chicks in the incubator should be controlled by translucent embryos on an ovoscope at different periods of their development. The first check is done on the 7th day from the bookmark. At this time, a network of blood vessels is already visible. If the development is successful, they are evenly spaced. When the embryo looks like a spot, it is discarded. On the 19-20th day, repeated candling is carried out. The embryo should not be translucent, in size it occupies 2/3 of the volume of the egg.

From 15 to 18 days, chicken eggs should be aired during incubation in order to cool them. To do this, the device is opened for 10-15 minutes 2 times a day. If the incubator allows, then set to maximum ventilation. To increase humidity at the last stage of the process, eggs can be sprayed after airing from a spray bottle with water heated to + 27 ° C. From day 19, cooling is not carried out.

Last days of egg incubation

In the last days of incubation of chickens (from 19 to 21 days), the eggs lie on their side, waiting for the hatching of the chicks. There must be a maximum allowable space between them. The squeak of chickens is an indicator of their health. A calm, monotonous sound indicates their well-being. The chick pecks the shell in 3 knocks. This is one of the markers of healthy offspring. The chick rests on the walls of the shell and breaks it. It is important to wait until all the chicks hatch in the incubator and dry themselves. Before that, you can not open the chamber – all the chicks are taken at the same time and placed in a brooder or box.

The first days of life of chickens after incubation

Newborn chicks after incubation are again selected. For development, chicks are chosen with strong legs, shiny fluff, which move briskly and respond to sounds. Healthy birds have clear, slightly bulging eyes, a short beak. The abdomen should be with a soft umbilical cord and not sag. A slightly enlarged belly, a blood clot on the navel, a slightly dull down is not a reason to reject the chicks.

When the incubation of chicken eggs is completed, the young must be provided with the correct growing conditions:

  1. Transplant dry chicks into a box 60 cm high, cover it with a cloth.
  2. Ensure the temperature of the content + 35 ° C, install an incandescent lamp on top. The first day it does not turn off.
  3. Within 5 days, the temperature is lowered to + 29 ° C, the lights are gradually turned off at night. When the lamps are not turned on, heating pads can be placed under the bottom of the box.
  4. They feed babies every 3-4 hours with crumbly food – they like semolina, millet, yolk. Food is poured onto the floor, drinking bowls with boiled water are placed. After a day in the diet, you can add cottage cheese, tear wheat, barley, whey.

the first days of life of chickens after incubation

Egg Incubation Mistakes

Violations of the regime and the consequences of improper incubation of chickens:

  1. Improper storage, the result is the death of the embryo. The recommended storage period is up to 5 days, the maximum is 14 days.
  2. Constant high temperature provokes deformities.
  3. Overheated eggs have small, freezing young.
  4. When underheated, the brood is late, with large bellies, swelling of the head.
  5. With low humidity, the young are small, sometimes they cannot hatch and suffocate.
  6. High humidity slows down hatching – the chicks will drown in the amniotic fluid without hatching.
  7. Poor ventilation causes heart defects and deformities.
  8. Violation of the rules for turning eggs is fraught with the death of the embryo.



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