Incubating chicken eggs is a great way to increase your flock size, or to provide replacements for birds that have been culled from your flock. In this instructional video, learn how to improve your success rate by following a few guiding principles.
By Hank Will
When most folks think of incubating chicken eggs, their minds turn to any manner of electromechanical devices that provide the right temperature and humidity. Incubator capacity and price vary widely, so it's wise to consider how many eggs you are likely to hatch each year before you take the financial plunge.
All incubators should be turned on, adjusted and monitored for at least a day before you set the eggs. Check the temperature with a thermometer that you know to be accurate because a degree or two one way or the other can make or break the hatch.
If you are going to incubate eggs produced by your flock or you obtained eggs from a source that did not sanitize them, you can avoid potential health and viability problems with a sanitizing rinse. Using a capful of bleach to a gallon of water that's warmed to about 110 degrees immerse each egg for a few seconds and air-dry.
Incubators should be cleaned out after every hatch and sanitized after every third hatch at the very least. Dust or vacuum the interior and wipe all surfaces and trays with a dilute bleach solution.
Watch the full video for even more tips from Hank Will for incubating chicken eggs.
Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on Google+.