Incubating eggs at home isn’t difficult, but it is very hard to learn and tweak to get it right. Yesterday our fertilized eggs arrived with the mailman (lady)! This is our first attempt at incubating eggs are we are using our home made incubator, so wish us luck!
Preparing to Incubate
During their courier journey eggs get all shaken up. It is for this reason that no one guarantees results with shipped hatching eggs. This is because there is no way to know if they have been irrevocably scrambled internally during shipping, aside from the fact that it is impossible for a breeder to control the incubation conditions.
I left my eggs (pointy end down) to sit and settle for 24 hours to recover. This is recommended to allow the insides to re-settle to how they should be sitting, with the yolk in the center and the air bubble at the top.
Eggs should always be stored and incubated pointy side down, this has a better hatch out rate than the other way up, or lying flat. While my eggs were resting in a cool place (the laundry), I set up the incubator and got it running and up to temperature.
Incubating Eggs Time
Once the incubator is up and running, and nice and warm, it is time to add the eggs.
This afternoon I have placed our eggs in our incubator and turned on the automatic turner. Looking good so far.
(Little did I know – read here for more).
In theory incubating eggs shouldn’t be too difficult, but there are a lot of things that can go wrong.
We are aiming for a temperature range of 37-38.5 degrees (99.5-101F) and initially humidity of around 60% but nothing higher than 80% for the first 18 days. During the first 18 days incubating eggs we will run the egg turner 24/7 which will save us manually turning the eggs 3-5+ times per day/night.
We plan to candle the eggs on day 7-10 sometime – but this also happens to be the range of days that include my birthday and Christmas, so I will have to see when I get to fit that in.
I bought 12 fertile eggs from Appletons, they are Light Sussex chickens for our first try at incubating eggs. Light Sussex are a multi purpose breed, that we plan on breeding for both eggs and meat. Aren’t they pretty?
Read here about our disaster the next day!
Update: We ended up giving up on our home made egg incubator and bought a basic 24 egg incubator. We have had much greater success with it.
We were having trouble keeping the temperature stable, with the eggs closer to the heater dying of too much heat, and the ones on the other side were too cold to develop.
To remedy this, we added a folded towel over the top of the whole incubator, and this had wonderful success!