Getting the Most Out of Your Hatching Eggs

By Pyxis · Jan 31, 2014 · ·
  1. Pyxis

    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.
    First 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 Hatch
    Try 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.
    Porous egg, not good for hatching.
    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.
    Shipped Eggs
    Shipped 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!

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    About Author

    I have owned poultry for a little over ten years, and in that time I have read and learned from many sources and many experienced people. Now I am trying to give back by writing about and passing on some of the things I have learned through research and hands-on experience. I hope you find my articles helpful.


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  1. CuriousQueen
    I am getting shipped eggs. I made sure I have a cardboard type egg carton to settle the eggs in. Do I have to do anything to the egg carton, ie air holes on the bottom?
    1. gimmie birdies
      I take a hole puncher to my cartons if I am hatching that way. Good luck!
      CuriousQueen likes this.
    2. CuriousQueen
      I have an egg turner. I meant for while the air sack to settle. I’ll stick some holes in it just in case
    3. Pyxis
      For letting them settle, I've never found that you need holes in the bottom of the carton :)
  2. gimmie birdies
    If you are hatching a small batch of eggs they say you should set at least 6. If you want 4 more hens, then you would set 8-10 eggs incase some don't hatch, or you get roosters.

    Mostly I have set small batches and just raised small batches, recently a friend sold me 23 shipped chicks. People may feel different about this amount of birds, but I like small batches, you can get more one on one with the chicks. I gifted 15 to 3 friends. I am much happier having my small batch.
  3. Pbsaphire6754myingoing
    How do you accommodate detached air cell or saddle sacs. Also, I keep watching how to spray down mailed eggs with half Listerine and half water before letting them settle for the 24 to 48 hrs. Should the humidity be high in the room as well? I would love to find Mor info I'm getting my first big batch of many breeds total of 24. Can you point me somewhere? Thank you
  4. Hatched4u
    Great article! The hatching eggs pictured-what breed are they? Pretty light blue color.
      Pyxis likes this.
    1. Pyxis
      Thanks! They're from my easter eggers :)
      Hatched4u likes this.
  5. RodNTN
    Great article! I just put 20 eggs in the incubator a couple of days ago, I followed all of these instructions!
  6. gimmie birdies
    Every day of storage will take 40 min. longer hatching time day of hatch, from the book "Hatching and Brooding your own chicks" By Gail Damerow
      SavKel likes this.
    1. Pyxis
      I had not heard that before, do you have a link where I can read about it? Is that time hatching from the time they pip? Or do you mean the incubation period overall is extended in length? Would that also mean that the first eggs a broody lays in her clutch will be the last to hatch?
      Chickygirl63 likes this.
  7. chickengeorgeto
    Many if not most chicks that die during or right after pipping developed in eggs that did not hold sufficient minerals and vitamins to produce a healthy or strong chick. Fad chicken diets are just asking for trouble.
  9. theawesomechick
    Nice article! It covered some points that I rarely seen in incubation guides.

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