Can someone tell me step by step how to hatch my first set of eggs...I know I'm new and I have no clue how to do it...I haven't recieved my eggs or bator but I want to know what I'm doing before everything comes...thank you so much!
There are plenty of tips and hints and instructions in the "Sticky" notes in this section. However, just to simplify things for you (which you can build upon):
Set up the incubator according to manufacturer's instructions and turn it on. Let it run AT LEAST overnight so you can be sure it's holding temperature. Should let it run 24 hours, best.
Shipped eggs should rest about 8 hours or overnight, pointy side down, large end up.
Put eggs into incubator. DO NOT OPEN INCUBATOR for a full day afterwards; eggs must come up to temp! If you have an auto-turner, that's best because it will turn eggs during this warm up period. If not, after the first day, start turning the eggs about 3 times a day.
Generally, humidity should be around 30-40 % for first 18 days.
Candle at day 10 to see if the eggs are developing.
On day 18, stop turning the eggs, bump the humidity to between 45 and 60%. This is considered "lock-down" and you don't open the incubator for 3 days.
On day 21, the eggs should start to wobble, rock, or otherwise move slightly.
You may hear some peeps from within the eggs. You may hear tapping sounds, too.
Pip = the first hole broken by the chick inside. After pipping, the chick rests.
Zip = the chick pecks a line around the end of the egg to open it.
There is a lot of resting - this takes energy!
Leave the chicks in the incubator when they hatch until the chicks are dried off. Yes, they will run around inside and move the other eggs. (I think this encourages the other chicks still in their eggs to work harder to get out.)
They don't need to eat or drink for up to 3 days, so they won't starve.
gryeyes, you are just the best! Your posts are always on point and so informative.
Mrsfoote, alot of peeps choose to lightly mark one side of the eggs with a pencil (just an X or small defining mark), to be able to keep track of placement. If you are not using an auto-turner, then you are most likely to just have the eggs laying on their sides. If this is the case, mark one side and just gently (and slowly) turn the egg so that the X is either face up or face down. It is recommended that eggs be turned a minimum of twice a day, but ideally more like 3 or 4 times. Do take care to not be too quick, as the air sac could become dislodged or the contents of the egg could shift and separate.
What kind of incubator are you using?
Edited in case you want to do the auto-turner:
The auto-turner has more than one purpose, depending upon who you talk to. Aside from turning the eggs for you (really tilting them from side to side instead of rotating around), this will also hold them in the fat-end-up position. Some folks swear that this helps the development of the air sac and assists the chick in hatching. That said, many more will argue that the eggs lay every which way in a nest, so the position has little impact. An auto turner will often turn the eggs every hour (very slowly in constant motion), so the uniformity seems ideal to many.
ALSO, you may also want to read up on the use of pulp cartons during lockdown/hatching. Many people love using these, cutting them down to 1/2-1/3 of the sides. They hold the eggs in the same upright (fat end up) position, which could help the chicks via orientation, but also giving them a bit of "traction" when they are pushing through the shell. (The idea being that they are wasting energy scooting the eggs around the incubator floor.) Some folks can't stand them or have had bad experiences, though. Definitely something to look into and make your own conclusions about!