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A How-to Guide to Hatching Your Own Chicks

Discussion in 'Sponsored Content, Contests, and Giveaways' started by JenniO11, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. JenniO11

    JenniO11 Chirping

    Jan 11, 2012
    Sponsored Content from www.Brinsea.com
    Hatch your own chicks!
    Incubating a small number of eggs has never been easier or more affordable


    Nobody can resist fluffy baby chicks so what would be better than hatching your own. Imagine looking into an incubating egg and watching the embryo develop from the first sighting of blood veins and pulsating heart to the excitement of an emerging chick all wet and exhausted. And this miracle takes only 21 days!

    You like the idea but have concerns about the cost and difficulty factor. Well let us put your mind at rest and make your first time incubating an enjoyable experience you will want to repeat.

    Choose a good incubator

    Incubators have come a long way and now you can purchase a good quality small incubator to hatch 7 to 10 eggs for $70 to $130.

    An accurate temperature control is key to a successful hatch so look for an incubator with reliable electronic temperature control. Choose incubators made of waterproof materials and with simple turning mechanisms which can be cleaned easily and will not be a breeding ground for bacteria.

    Egg turning can be done manually but bearing in mind that eggs need to be turned at least 4 times a day and preferably every hour – so you may want to pay a little extra for automatic turning!


    The Mini Advance for instance rotates the eggs automatically every hour and counts down to hatch day. It automatically stops the turning 2 days before the eggs are due to hatch - so no risk of injuries to the chicks from moving parts. The temperature is already preset at 99.5°F and there is a high/low alarm which would sound if you forget to close the lid for example.

    The menu is only accessed by pressing a combination of keys so not so easy for little fingers to interfere with the settings...
    Basically it's ready to use right out of the box, just plug it in, add water and play! It couldn’t be easier!

    Get quality fertile eggs

    Apart from a good incubator you will need fertile eggs. If you have a flock of healthy hens that includes a rooster then you’re all set. If you don’t have a rooster it’s always best to source your fertile eggs locally. They will be fresher and their chances of hatching won’t have been compromised by jostling and extreme temperatures during shipping.

    Now the fun part – candling!

    Candling is the method used to observe the growth and development of an embryo inside an egg which uses a bright light source behind the egg to show details through the shell. It is so called because the original sources of light used were candles.

    Modern egg candlers or candling lamps are lights with a concentrated beam. LEDs are now preferred because they are very bright, very efficient and put out a cool light rather than a lot of heat that might damage the embryos.

    Candling allows you to monitor many things including the egg fertility, embryo development and weight loss rate.
    By being able to identify and remove non-viable eggs (infertile or early death) you can also avoid the risk of a bad egg contaminating your hatch with germs.

    During incubation the air sac size should increase as moisture evaporates from the egg. Eggs need to lose about 13% of their original weight during incubation. If your humidity level is is right, the air sac should increase at different days of incubation according to the diagram shown here. If the incubation humidity is too low (very dry conditions), the air sac will be larger than normal and the humidity in the incubator sho

    uld be increased to reduce the rate of water loss. If the air space is smaller than normal then the opposite applies.

    Eggs may be candled after 5 days of incubation and every few days thereafter. For best results you should candle eggs in a darkened room or in dimly lit conditions. The candler should be held right against the shell at the larger end of the egg where the air sac is located. The egg can be rotated to observe blood vessel growth and embryo development.

    Initially you will be able to see a small embryo and a web of blood vessels radiating from it. As the chick grows it will be hard to make out detail but you should still be able to see movement.

    Conversely, infertile eggs will remain clear and eggs which have died will show a dark ring. It will take a little practice to become a confident candler. Do not discard any eggs if you are not sure. Have another look at them later comparing them to your good eggs to help you decide.

    The magical hatching...

    2 days before the eggs are due to hatch you should stop turning and eggs and make sure the water reservoirs are well topped up. Humidity needs to be high during hatching so do not open the incubator.
    Birth takes time! 24 hours or more from the time you notice the first bump on the shell to the time the chicks emerges all wet and exhausted. So be patient, don't be tempted to help and don’t transfer the chicks under a brooder until they are fully fluffed up or they could chill. Your patience will be rewarded with little bundles of fuzzy cuteness nobody can resist.
    One word of caution, hatching is addictive and you could soon be overrun ;)

    For more information on candling and other incubation procedures you can download a free Incubation Handbook from www.Brinsea.com

    We’d also recommend you take a look at the Incubating and Hatching eggs threads on the Forum and join Brinsea on Facebook.

    Happy Hatching!

    Feel free to post any questions you have about hatching, incubators, or baby chicks!
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
    5 people like this.

  2. Chicks & Chickens

    Chicks & Chickens Chirping

    Nov 13, 2011
    Wow! Very nice job : ) This will really help members who are new to hatching. No questions for me, as I already hatched three Roosters (out of 13 eggs!) Ha ha! I guess I'll use your information next time before something like that happens again.

    Chicks & Chickens.
  3. MyNameIs86

    MyNameIs86 Songster

    Feb 28, 2012
    New Jersey
    Ooops. I decided to candle my eggs at day 3... just to see. i hope this doesn't effect them. I am not planning to candle again until day 7.
  4. FarmGirl01

    FarmGirl01 Songster

    Feb 5, 2008
    They should be fine. I look at mine all the time. Some ppl won't touch them. There's different opinions on the topic. OP--nice pics.
  5. I have a question, one of my hens have been laying fertile eggs a week ago but stopped laying and is ignoring them, what is the max. age for the eggs to be left alone? So that I can tell if it's too late to incubate.
  6. Grandpa Luke

    Grandpa Luke Hatching

    Jan 27, 2012
    Norman, Oklahoma 73026
    What a wonderfully informative post! Hope I can locate it again in the future when ready to advance my experience to incubating! Thanks for the detailed information! Luke :-0)))))
  7. sandragreenbay

    sandragreenbay Hatching

    Mar 7, 2012
    where would i find incubators and how much. where would i find who sells baby chicks.

  8. FarmGirl01

    FarmGirl01 Songster

    Feb 5, 2008
    You can store eggs for a week and then place them in a bator. Anything over 2 weeks and the hatch rate drops dramatically.
  9. FarmGirl01

    FarmGirl01 Songster

    Feb 5, 2008
    Search for hatcheries on the internet. Most farm stores will sell chicks this time of the year.
  10. TownhouseSeramas

    TownhouseSeramas Chirping

    Oct 24, 2011
    Elkton, MD
    Does anyone know the correct amount of water to put in the Brinsea Mini Advance? I have one and I love it, BUT I've been having a hard time figuring out how much water to put in. The first time I put to much, the second time I'm not sure if I put enough and I lost my hydrometer. I've been thinking about investing in the humidity machine hook up, but I the ones I saw that they had were for the Octogan.

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