Incubation Instructions

Hatching your own eggs is a wonderful experience. When you order hatching eggs, it is an unknown mix of males and females. You can also collect and hatch eggs from your own birds to add to your flock. If you purchase eggs from us we guarantee that they will arrive in good condition. We also offer a 70% fertility guarantee when you report your fertility by day 14 of incubation.  The best time to candle your eggs is around day 10.

Suggested Reading
A Guide to Better Hatching
Hatching and Brooding Your Own Chicks
Incubation at Home

Step 1 Buy Equipment
Circulated Air Incubator (with built in hygrometer), Automatic Egg Turner, Incubator Thermometer, additional Hygrometer, Egg Candler, egg racks (for quail eggs)

Step 2 Buy eggs. Shop our selection of hatching eggs
Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling your eggs. If you are collecting eggs from your own birds, be sure to choose eggs that are nice and clean, have no cracks or thin spots in their shells and ones that are evenly shaped and normally sized. Do not wash the eggs as this removes the protective coating and can force bacteria to enter the egg thru the porous shell. 

Keep the eggs at room temperature (65-70℉) out of the sun no more than 7 to 10 days. It is common to set eggs for hatching when they are 5-7 days old. Keep them in a cardboard carton with the large side face-up. If you are keeping them more than three days before incubating, shift and turn the eggs once a day. If you ordered hatching eggs through the mail, it is a good practice to let the newly arrived eggs rest at room temperature for about 12-24 hours before starting to incubate them.

Step 3 Set up Equipment to correct temperatures and humidity. 
Clean the incubator thoroughly. Place it on a level surface out of direct sunlight, in an area that keeps a consistent room temperature. Start it up and add water to the bottom tray. Let it run for 2-3 days. You want a temperature of 100℉ with an acceptable range of 99.5-100.5℉. Humidity should be set to the following:

     Landfowl start at 50-60% and increase to 65-80% for the last 3 days.

     Waterfowl start at 65-75% and increase to 85-90% for the last 3 days. 

Step 4 Put the eggs in the incubator, turn and monitor regularly.
Once you feel confident that your incubator is working optimally, you can add your eggs.  
Mark your calendar for the day you place your eggs in the incubator and the day you need to stop turning them and adjust the humidity, which is 3 days before the end of the incubation time. 

Species Days to Incubate Species Days to Incubate Species Days to Incubate
Chickens 21 Guineas 28 Valley Quail 21
Geese (domestic) 28-34 Peafowl 28-30 Bobwhite Quail 23
Ducks (domestic) 28 Partridge 23 Button Quail 17
Ringneck Pheasant 24 Turkeys 28 Gambel Quail 22
Blue Scale Quail 23     Coturnix Quail 16-18

The eggs will need to be turned 2-3 times per day. If you do not have an automatic turner, turn them yourself. We recommend that you gently write an X on one side of each egg with a pencil or sharpie marker to keep track of the eggs when turning.

Watch the humidity levels throughout the incubation time. You may either have to add warm water or soak up excess water.

Candling 
You can begin candling your eggs after incubating for about a week. Using your egg candler, or a very bright flashlight, shine the light thru the back side of the egg shining towards you, placing the light almost directly on the surface of the egg, and observe. You are looking for signs of life, which can include blood vessels and a perfectly round air sac at the small end and a large dark mass at the large end. Transparent or a red ring are signs of a failed egg. 

Step 5 Hatching Lockdown
Stop turning your eggs or remove from turner about 3 days before the end of the incubation period. Raise the humidity within your incubator to the recommended level by adding warm water. As the chicks hatch, do not interfere. They may look like they are struggling, but they must get themselves out of the shells without help. Avoid opening the incubator until all the chicks are dry and fluffy as you don't want them to get chilled. Get your brooder ready for the chicks. The hatching process typically takes about 24-hours.

Step 6 Care for your chicks
After hatching see our Chick Care resource page for helpful information on caring for baby chicks. 

Check out our Blog on Avoiding a Failure to Hatch Situation fo more information and tips on hatching. 
 

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