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Chicken Hatching Eggs are available now. Email: orders@healthtreasures.com
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Types of Chicken Eggs We Sell
Dominique Chickens- Detailed #1
Dominique Chickens- Detailed #2
Dominique- Determine Sex After Hatch
How to Incubate & Hatch Chicken/Duck/Turkey Eggs (Part 1)
How to Help Hatching Babies (Part 2)
How to Brood Chicks, Ducklings, Turkey Poults (Part 3)
Make Your Own Poultry Incubator
Feed Comfrey to Chickens & Ducks: Reduce Food Costs

"A Guide to Better Hatching" Book
"Sexing All Fowl" Book

Incubating and Hatching Chicken, Duck and Turkey Eggs (Part 1)
The information here is from the Western North Carolina Farm and Garden Calendar
that is a survival farming guide for hard times in USDA Zones 5, 6, and 7 for all eastern states.
It is from the "Farm Animals" section in March. There is a lot of information about animals in the book.
240 pages. Buy it today.

Incubate Poultry January through August/September

It is good to incubate eggs January through August when egg production is at its highest.

In terms of availability of hatching eggs, peak egg production is March, April and May. Good egg production is late January through July.

Lowest egg production is September through December. (The longest day is in June. Molting is in September. The shortest day is in December.)

You can incubate poultry eggs in an incubator such as a HovaBator or Brinsea. Read the manual that came with it. Or you can build your own incubator. Or let a broody hen do it.

It is best if the incubator is in a room with a stable temperature around 70-80 degrees. Do not let sun hit the incubator.







Different Types of Poultry Incubators

GQF Manufacturing sells the Hova-Bator Still-Air Incubator (see photo below at Incubator Temperatures). It holds 42 chicken or duck eggs. It costs around $60. A Hova-Bator Circulated-Air Incubator is about $100. You get a better hatch rate with the circulated air model. You can get an automatic egg turner that works in either one for $50. That way you don't have to turn the eggs manually 3-4 times a day.

The Chick-Bator (top photo in this section) from GQF Manufacturing holds 3 chicken eggs or 2 duck eggs. It is about $20. For the money I would rather own the Hova-Bator or Little Giant.

For professional quality GQF sells the 1202E Classic Sportsman for $650. It has an automatic egg turner. It holds 270 chicken eggs or 198 duck eggs. It has a very good hatch rate.

Little Giant (middle photo in this section) sells a still-air incubator for around $50. It holds 41 chicken or duck eggs. They also sell an automatic egg turner for $50. Farm Innovators sells a circulated-air incubator with automatic turning tray for $120. It holds 41 eggs. They are very similar to the Hova-Bator.

To save money you can get a computer fan or other small fan, and add it to a still-air incubator. Though a fan made for an incubator works better.

If you go with a Hova-Bator or Little Giant, it is important that the room they are in stays at a stable temperature. If the room temperature changes a lot, it is harder for them to maintain the correct temperature. It is easier to regulate the temperature in a incubator that is full of eggs. The Brinsea does a better job of maintaining temperature and humidity.

Brinsea sells Mini Eco (holds 10 chicken eggs or 8 duck eggs, $95, bottom photo in this section) and Mini Advance Incubators (holds 7 chicken or duck eggs, $165). Both have circulated air. The Mini Advance has automatic egg turning.

Brinsea also sells the Octogon-20 Eco Incubator for $160, and the same incubator with circulated air is $230. They each hold 24 chicken eggs. They have the Octogon-40 Advance Incubator with forced/circulated air that holds 48 chicken eggs. It is $600.

Brinsea incubators are higher quality (and price) with a better hatch rate than the Hova-Bator or Little Giant. It is good if you have valuable eggs. If you are going to hatch a lot of eggs, they are worth the money.

You may find some of the used expensive ones on eBay at a price you can afford. You can also build your own incubator. The absolute very best incubator is a broody hen! Generally speaking, Bantam (Bantie) hens go broody more often than standard-size chickens. We sell Bantam eggs for hatching.

The last photo in this group of incubators is a 7-egg Brinsea incubator with Ancona duck eggs in it. The photo is from Tim and Jane in Kentucky.

Collecting Eggs

Before a fertile egg is incubated, the embryo inside is already developing. Collect eggs frequently. Clean lightly soiled eggs with a dry, soft cloth. It is better not to wash them since they have a bloom that keeps bacteria out.

But if you must wash them, use warm but not cold water. Do not incubate eggs that are very dirty because bacteria may have gotten into the egg. Handle gently.
Storing Eggs for Incubation

It is best to incubate them within 1-2 weeks. If you only have a few hens and need to wait a few days or weeks to collect enough eggs for your incubator, then keep them around 50-60 degrees and 75% relative humidity. (Best hatch rate is with eggs stored less than 1 week.)

Do not put in refrigerator. Put them in an egg carton with the big end of the egg up. Then 2-3 times a day lift up one end of the carton, then the next time the other end. Do not turn upside down. Let eggs warm up to room temperature before putting them in incubator.

If eggs are shipped, do not wrap in plastic because eggs need to breath.



Incubator Temperatures and Humidity

Chicken eggs are incubated at 99 degrees. Chicken eggs incubate for 21 days. Your countdown for days starts when you put your eggs in your incubator. It does not start when the hen lays her eggs.

Duck eggs are incubated at 99 degrees. Mallard and domestic duck eggs (including Ancona) incubate for 28 days. Muscovy duck eggs incubate for 35 days. You start counting your days when you put the eggs in your incubator.

Turkey eggs incubate between 98-102 degrees with 99-100 degrees being best. Turkey eggs incubate for 28 days.

About 2/3 the way through incubation, the babies in the eggs start generating some heat. So you may need to turn the thermostat down if the temperature rises too much.

Chicken eggs need 50-55% humidity for days 1-18, and 65-75% for days 19-21.

Duck eggs like 55-65% humidity for days 1-24. From day 25 to first piping (ducklings start to crack egg, usually around day 28), humidity should be around 65%. When piping starts, increase humidity to 80-85%.

Turkey eggs like 55-60% humidity for days 1-24. From day 25 to hatch, humidity should be around 75-80%.

The photo to the left is a Hova-Bator.



Incubator Use, Humidity, and Turning Rack

Different incubators hold different numbers of eggs. An "Octagon Incubator" holds 24 chicken eggs. A "Little Giant Incubator" holds 30 chicken eggs. A "HovaBator Incubator" holds 42 chicken eggs. A "Farm Innovators Incubator" holds 48 eggs.

You can use the same incubator for hatching chicken, duck or turkey eggs. Since the number of days of incubation is different, you hatch them so all eggs are the same type for each batch.

You need a hygrometer (humidity gauge). Keeping the right humidity is very important. It is better to have higher than recommended humidity than lower especially when eggs are hatching. If it is too dry, the birds will have difficulty getting out of the egg.

It is best to have an electric turning rack. Eggs are put in the turner with small ends down. The turner moves very slowly. Or you can turn eggs by hand 3-4 times a day. Put a block/brick/book under one side of the incubator to make a 45 degree angle. Then switch sides, going back and forth each time. Turning prevents the embryo from sticking to the shell.

Do not turn the last 3 days. Remove turner and put eggs on side on incubator floor. Or keep eggs in turner and turn off the electric when the racks are level. The advantage to keeping them in the racks is that the floor temperature is cooler than the rack temperature. So the egg temperature is kept stable.

Open the incubator only when absolutely needed such as adding water to maintain humidity. Most incubators have small holes at the top where you can add water with a funnel. Water is usually added about 2 times per week. Check your humidity gauge. Opening the incubator changes the temperature and humidity that can take hours to readjust.



Candling Eggs

You can candle eggs which means looking at the eggs in the dark or in dim light with a flashlight touching the egg to see if the eggs are fertile and growing properly. You throw away infertile (clear) or dead (cloudy) eggs.

You do not have to candle eggs at all if you don't want to. The less eggs are moved the better.

You can candle eggs at day 1 (when you receive your eggs) and after 7 days in the incubator.

Candle again at day 14 or 18 if there were eggs that you were uncertain about. Otherwise, you do not need to candle again.





    "A Guide to Better Hatching" book


 

 

 


 
Nantahala Farm in the Mountains of Western NC
Macon County (close to Cherokee, Graham and Swain Counties)
Topton, North Carolina 28781
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By appointment only. Please email or call before coming over.

828-321-9036
Please call between 9 am and 9 pm Eastern time, any day.
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