1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Where would I start!?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by lablover, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. lablover

    lablover Songster

    Apr 7, 2012
    I would like to try incubating a batch of eggs this spring. The flock I have now is my very first, and I've had them since they were 1 week old. The big question is, where would I start? How would I know which eggs are fertile? Which eggs would I choose? When are they put in the incubator? I need the beginners lesson!

    Here's the flock.
    Roo in the back has feathered legs and a black tail.
    The 2 closest to him are EE's/Ameraucana - partridge/ light brown (blue egg), and black (green egg)
    Light colored hen on the far right is just a mutt. She has muffs and lays a pink/apricot egg (almost the color of her)
    The 2 in front are gold sex links.

  2. CayuseRanch

    CayuseRanch Songster

    Apr 4, 2011
    Newalla, Oklahoma
    Well you came to the right place to start. Just start reading threads. I learn something almost daily. Now to answer some of your questions. 5 hens to 1 roo, they are probably all fertile. Which ones not to choose, very small, odd shaped, double yolkers, porous, excessively dirty or cracked. I store eggs 3-5 days tops. Look up storing eggs for info on that.

    Decide how your going to incubate and read different methods

    WARNING : hatching is very addictive.
  3. Roxannemc

    Roxannemc Songster

    Mar 30, 2012
    SE Missouri
    I dont think you can tell if they are fertile just have to set then wait til about day 7 and see if you see veins.Utube has how to make incuvbators or Ebay sells them
    Try not to get the cheapest as the more you pay generally the better they work.
    If you have the money get the Hovabator 1588 " Genesis" model as the temp staying even is CRITICAL the first `18 days and the others you can regulate yourself but they sort of drive you crazy as they go up and down.Temp 99.5 Shoudnt really vary a degree for very long for a good hatch
    .The Genesis has an auto temp regulator
    They are about $150 with a fan which keep the the temps even thruout the bator It comes without a turner wihich you dont HAVE to have. but can get it with one too A nice feature but no big deal if yu dont get one just hand turn 3 times a day/.
    .Others bators start at about $50 You might find one on Craigs list. even cheaper
    Look in the Learning Center may have info on incubating details or incubator directions will tell you what to do too
    Or look up BYC member Sallysunshine she has a whole notebook on hatching eggs from her first hatch Lots of good info..
    Or watch on the incubating threads you will learn a lot too there...
    Good Luck!
    . . .
  4. First of all I'm thinking you want mutts.You don't know which eggs are fertile until they have been in the incubator for about ten days.The right size egg is not to big not to little you want a nice medium.Eggs stay fertile for seven days after being laid.Do you have a turner if not I would suggest you do it is a good investment.That is basically it in a nut shell.
  5. myfinefeatheredfriends

    myfinefeatheredfriends Songster

    Mar 1, 2011
    First thing is you need to decide are you going to hatch using an incubator or a broody hen? If your girls have never sat long on a nest except to lay their egg and be done with it, I would choose the incubator. You will have a few options to choose from based upon what features you want with your bator. Basically the more features, the higher price for the incubator and the higher hatch rates you will have. Examples are liquid thermometer versus digital, turning by hand or automatic, egg quantity, Styrofoam versus plastic, etc. Collect eggs and store them at room temperature til you have enough eggs and you're ready to set them in the incubator. Do not hold them longer than 7 days, preferably no longer than 3. Let your incubator run 6-8 hours prior to setting the eggs to ensure it's running correctly and thermometer is working. The last thing you want is a faulty thermometer. If you're using the liquid thermometer that came with the incubator, I strongly recommend buying a digital one just in case, preferably with a built in hygrometer to measure humidity. All humidity is is water. You add water to your incubator to increase humidity.
  6. The link below is the best place to start. If there is anything that you don't fully understand post the guestion here.


    Good luck.
  7. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Well, for starters you need to choose an incubator, unless you have a reliable broody hen. If a hen goes broody, wait until she spends at least 2 days and nights in the nest box, to make sure she really is committed, before giving her eggs. You will have more control over an incubator, though I personally prefer letting the hens do the work!
    If you want to make sure the eggs you are getting are fertile you should crack open a few random eggs and look for the little "bullseye" on the yolk. There's some lovely pics of it here:


    If you want to store eggs for hatching choose clean eggs of more or less the same size, don't use odd shaped eggs, cracked eggs or very dirty eggs. Don't wash them as that will remove the "bloom" which is a protective barrier keeping bacteria out of the egg. Store them at a temperature or ± 55* and a humidity of 75% if you can. Give the egg time to cool down after being laid before placing it in storage. Store them at an angle, fat end up and turn them leaning to the other side at least once a day to keep the yolk centred. The best age for hatching eggs is 2-3 days old as by that time some of the carbon dioxide will have been released from the egg. Eggs stored longer than 7 reduces the hatch ability by around 0.5% per day so ideally don't keep them longer than a week before setting them, though eggs up to 14 days old can be hatched successfully.

    Sally Sunshine wrote a wonderful article on hatching eggs:


    and you'll find more tips and info on her thread here:


    Good luck with your hatch(es) and have fun!!
    1 person likes this.

  8. Sally Sunshine

    Sally Sunshine Cattywampus Angel <straightens Halo> Premium Member Project Manager

    Aug 23, 2012
    My Coop
    You will ENJOY incubating and hatching!! Its so awesome!!!

    Sumi posted my notes above so have at them!! you have some great info to get a GREAT Start...

    Read on and then ASK AWAY!! [​IMG]
  9. lablover

    lablover Songster

    Apr 7, 2012
    WOW, thanks everyone! You all are SO helpful!

    I'm thinking of trying this in an incubator my college instructor has. Surely she would know something about this if she has an incubator.

    My question right now is... I get 4 eggs a day (the hens are alternating one which one takes a break lol) but hopefully maybe 5 when it warms up. I really don't want any from the sex links (unless some of you can tell me what the babies would look like) even though they have perfectly shaped eggs. The black hen lays pretty small eggs, and always has. So would she be bad to choose from? The other two lay smaller eggs than the sex links, but still a decent size.
    Here's a pick.
    The black hen lays the green one on the left. The light brown/partridge pattern hen lays the blue on the right. The other mutt lays the pink one in front.

    Also, how many should I get?
  10. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    How many what should you get? [​IMG]

    It's entirely up to you which hens' eggs you want to hatch. I preferred hatching eggs from my best layers, but then I needed eggs as I was selling them. If you really like a certain hen then incubate her eggs.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by