Our First Experience Incubating Hatching Eggs

Our First Experience Incubating Hatching Eggs

So about two and a half weeks ago, I decided to dive into my first experience incubating hatching eggs. I had stumbled onto a Facebook page for selling rare chicken breeds and hatching eggs. Then someone offered a sale/discount on her eggs. I wanted some! Particularly since these were hatching eggs from Cream Legbar chickens. I had recently had an interest in obtaining this breed, but they are expensive. Female chicks can cost $20 a piece.

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Cream Legbar Eggs 
Our first experience incubating hatching eggs

A little research revealed an incubator on discount on Amazon. So I talked to my husband, and while he is a little more hesitant to jump into things as quickly as I am, he did agree. We both voiced the possibility of selling some of the hatched chicks to re-coup the cost. So he nicely purchased an incubator for me on Amazon. It was a Janoel 12 incubator {affiliate link} that came with an egg turner and egg-candler, and supposed to be capable of hatching 9-12 eggs. The company we bought ours from via Amazon was called Yaufey. They aren’t selling them right now, but the link I included above appears to be the same incubator. I had been looking at a Magicfly incubator,{affiliate link} but it wouldn’t arrive as soon as I wanted it to. They pretty much appear to be the same incubator also.

And just a side note, we did not find the extra thermometer/hygrometer that came with ours was accurate. It varied too much from others we purchased. We are currently using a digital one from Incubator Warehouse.com. It was cheaper for us to purchase directly from that company, but Amazon has the same Digital IncuTherm Digital Thermometer/Hygrometer {affiliate link} too.

I didn’t want to wait and miss the discount deal on the hatching eggs, so I was hoping everything would arrive in a timely manner. When she heard it was my first experience incubating hatching eggs, the lady nicely offered to wait to ship the eggs, until my incubator would be here. Of course then our one snowstorm of the whole winter threatened to conflict with the arrival of my eggs. Luckily, they arrived the day prior to the snow.

Opening Our Bubble-wrapped Shipped Eggs

Our first experience incubating hatching eggs

Of course I did a little online reading, and found that it’s best to keep shipped eggs with the pointy end down at room temperature. I saw it recommended anywhere from 6-24 hours. I ended up keeping mine that way for 10-12 hours. Unfortunately, with shipped eggs, they can suffer damage during the transport. Supposedly a typical success rate is that 50% of the eggs will actually hatch. Putting them in this position is supposed to help. It also has something to do with the air sac contained in an egg. Apparently there’s lots to learn about hatching eggs!

After viewing a Youtube video on hatching shipped eggs, I decided to incubate mine in the upright position for at least awhile as well. My husband cut down a egg carton so that the cups, where the eggs rest, weren’t as deep. This was to allow more of the egg to be exposed to the warm air in the incubator and breathe. I learned more in the above video about how eggshells are porous and can “breathe”.

Cut-down Egg Carton

Our first experience incubating hatching eggs

Also with 12 eggs, we couldn’t fit them all in the egg turner anyway, so I would still have had to turn them by hand. In the carton tray, I tipped them different directions each time and turned them also. But I always kept the pointy side down and the fat end up. Different articles I read recommend marking your eggs with an “x” to know if they’ve been turned. It reminded me of how growing up my dad had his hatching eggs marked with an “x” and an “o” on opposite sides.

Turning Our Incubating Eggs

Our first experience incubating hatching eggs

We did attempt to pre-heat the incubator to have the settings correct. We set the eggs in and about an hour later, I checked them before I went to bed. One of the extra thermometers we had placed inside the incubator read 104* Fahrenheit! Not good at all! My husband and I ended up being up quite late trying to adjust the temperature properly. We finally got it to around 100*F and went to bed. According to Grit.com, the proper temperature for incubating hatching eggs is 99-102*F. So you can see why I was stressing.

The next day we worked on the temperature more and my husband recalibrated the incubator settings. It appeared to be off by 2 degrees Celsius. So he tried to correct that. Our experience is a good example of why many sources recommend extra thermometers! We might have killed our eggs before we barely got started!

Another thing that I am still working to manage is the humidity levels in the incubator. In the model we have, you are just supposed to pour water into the bottom of the incubator. But I found it very hard to regulate properly that way. It’s working better to put a small medicine cup in the incubator, with a teeny amount of water in it. Then I add warm water to the cup as needed. I am noticing some humidity fluctuations though recently, as our weather is warming the last couple days and possibly being more humid as well.

We are also learning about candling eggs. Our incubator came with a bright electric light. We shine it into the eggshell in a dark room to find out if anything is growing inside. So far out of 12 eggs, we have had to dispose of 5. One never developed at all, indicating it wasn’t fertilized by a rooster. Another stopped growing early on. The other three stopped at some point in developing. We were no longer seeing as much veins inside the eggs, and one had a blood ring. The other two had big dark blood spots. Raising Happy Chickens has some info about blood rings and candling eggs. I’ll just say that it’s not good.

After our number was down to 9 eggs, I could use the turner that came with the incubator. I had taken the eggs out of the carton after about a week of incubating them upright. The turner does turn them some as it slowly slides back and forth in the incubator, but not always. So I still do some hand-turning.

Incubator Set-up With One Week To Hatch Date

Our first experience incubating hatching eggs

Chicken eggs take about 21 days to hatch, so we have about one week left to wait. This Friday, we will enter something called “lockdown”, where I remove the turner, raised the humidity of the incubator and avoid opening it if possible. This is supposed to be the three days before hatching starts to allow the chicks to get into the correct position to hatch. The Chicken Chick has a whole series of posts about the experience of hatching incubating eggs. This is her post about lockdown. I’ve learned alot of helpful information from her about this experience.

Another source of good information I found helpful is Backyard Chickens. Stuff like temperature, and humidity, and information about candling and development. I know there are more sites I’ve visited as well to gain my new-found knowledge about hatching chicks. As my husband and I have said to each other, “Who knew it was so complicated?” Although in another sense if you manage the temps, humidity, and turning properly, it is basic.

It could be some incubators may be better than others.  The Brinsea Octagon 20 Advance {affiliate link} is one I’ve found appealing based on some reading I’ve done. It is a bit pricey though.  And to make it more automatic, the humidity pump is an additional expense to add, according to the reviews.

My current plans/thoughts are that I am hoping to eventually raise chickens to sell. Whether that be chicks or hatching eggs. But I have found this chicken stuff to be interesting, so we will see where it takes us!

Stay tuned for an update when our chicks hatch!

 

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15 thoughts on “Our First Experience Incubating Hatching Eggs

  1. When I was little my mother would hatch chicks at easter and then give to a friend to raise. I loved watching them hatch and grow for a few weeks. This brings back so many good memories.

    1. Yes, my daughter is excited for when they will hatch.

  2. How exciting! Can’t wait to see those new bubs arrive! #AnimalTales

  3. Hi,
    Thanks for coming to the Blogger’s Pit Stop last week.
    Janice, Pit Stop Crew

  4. How exciting! I can’t wait to see pics when they start to hatch! Thanks for linking up to #ThatFridayLinky

  5. I honestly have no interest in incubating eggs but I was gripped to the end of your post. I had no idea the process was so involved – really great read, thanks

    1. Thank you. It was a learning experience. Glad you enjoyed it.

  6. sounds a very complicated process, we’ve only ever hatched eggs by putting them under a chicken, hope you are successful

  7. diynige

    I bet the kids are so excited Thanks for linking to the #THAT FRIDAY LINKY come back next week please

    1. Yes, they enjoyed it.

  8. Ooooh exciting – have they hatched yet???? #AnimalTales.

  9. A fascinating read! I’m not sure we’re ready to hatch our own, besides we just got some chicks and we’re up to our legally allowed maximum! Thanks for sharing on the Waste Less Wednesday Blog Hop!

    1. No, there can’t be limits! It’s too addicting! Hopefully that changes for you!

  10. […] hatched! Technically, they waited till Day 22 and 23 to hatch. As I referred to in my prior post, Our First Experience Incubating Hatching Eggs, they typically take about 21 days. However, other factors can play into it. But, I was getting […]

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