Admit it, it’s very rare to find someone who can resist a cute, yellow, fluffy, baby chick. So what could be better than the idea of planning to hatch your own bundles of yellow chirping joy? Picture the thought of looking into an egg that is incubating, and slowly watch the embryo start to develop. Starting from the first signs of veins to a tiny beating heart before the excitement of an adorable bundle of life emerging from it’s 21 day home. And just think, this miracle takes less than three weeks!If you are fond of the idea of raising and hatching your own chicks but perhaps you have a few concerns about how difficult or expensive it may be, then let us put your mind to rest with this simple guide to show you how truly easy it is to bring your own little life into the world.Choose a suitable incubatorIncubators have certainly come a long way from decades ago. You can easily purchase a good quality incubator that isn’t too large and can hatch up to 7 to 10 eggs for approximately $70 to $130. Accurate temperature control is fundamental for hatching your eggs successfully so make sure to look out for an incubator which has a reliable electronic temperature gage or control. Itàs recommended to pick an incubator that is made of materials that are waterproof and house simple turning mechanisms that can easily be cleaned. Incubators can become a breeding ground for bacteria if they are not cleaned properly, Turning eggs can be done manually but keep in mind that eggs must be turned at least 4 times per day, but ideally each and every hour. It could be a good idea to pay a little extra for an incubator that provides automatic turning. It may not save you money but it will certainly save your sanity in the long run.
Get Yourself Some Quality Eggs
Besides a good incubator you will also need fertile chicken eggs. If you are lucky to have your own flock of healthy hens that are housed with a rooster then you’re all ready to go. If you are unfortunate (or fortunate in some breeders eyes) not to own a rooster it’s recommended to purchase fertile eggs locally. They will be considerably fresher and the chances of the eggs hatching will not have been compromised by heavy transportation movement and extreme temperatures while shipping.
Candling Your Eggs
Candling is a method that is used to observe the development and growth of an embryo inside the egg. This practice uses a very bright light source that is placed behind the egg to display details through the thin shell. LED lights are now often preferred due to their sheer brightness. They are also incredibly efficient and let out a cool light source rather than high amounts of heat that may damage the embryo inside.
It’s All About The Hatching
Just two days before your eggs begin to start hatching you should disable (or stop, if manually) turning the eggs. Ensure to keep an eye on water reservoirs and keep them topped up. Humidity inside the incubator needs to be incredibly high during the hatching phase – it’s important not to open the incubator. Rule number one is to be patient. When your chick starts to make dimples into the egg shell don’t be tempted to try and help out, believe it or not they are strong enough to break free of their temporary home all by themselves. Remember not to transfer your chicks under a brooder, they must be fully fluffed up and dry before you do this, else they make catch a chill which can often be fatal.
A word of caution, hatching your own chicks can be very addictive so don’t get overrun!
Incubators sold on Eggcartons.com