So you want to hatch yourself some chicks and you’re ready to collect eggs and toss them in the incubator. Wait! There are some things you should know to maximize your success, and get the most out of your hatching eggs.
FertilizationFirst things first, if you want to hatch an egg, it has to be fertile. To ensure fertility, try to keep no more than ten hens per rooster. Any more, and he will have a hard time keeping up with them all! For the best possible fertility rate, keep as many roosters with the hens as you safely can, making sure the hens are not stressed or overbred and the roosters are not trying to kill each other.
Need pure eggs? Better make sure all your breeds are separate! Even if one rooster is dominant and you never see the others mate, don’t be fooled! They’re getting up to some funny business when you (and top roo) aren’t watching, I guarantee it. And make sure your hens are penned with the rooster you want to father your chicks for at least four weeks before you start to hatch if she’s been around another roo – yes, they can store sperm that long!
Selecting Eggs to HatchTry to choose nice, shiny ,healthy eggs to hatch. Porous eggs are not a good choice for hatching, as they allow bacteria to enter the egg more easily and this can lead to early embryo death.
If you want to store eggs for a while before hatching so you can avoid a staggered hatch, it is best to store your eggs in a turner in a cool room. The ideal is a place where temperature stays between 55-65 degrees Fahrenheit and the relative humidity is 75%. Hatching eggs can be stored for up to ten days before fertility is significantly decreased.
Porous egg, not good for hatching.
Shipped EggsShipped eggs are always dicey. To get the best out of your shipped hatching eggs, allow the eggs to rest for 24-48 hours after they arrive to you blunt end up in an egg carton in a cool room. This allows the eggs to settle and give air cells a chance to reattach. Candle eggs before setting so you can make special accommodations for any detached air cells.
And of course, the best way to be sure that you get a good hatch is to make sure your parent birds are happy, healthy, and well-fed!