By: Gregory S. Archer and A. Lee Cartwright
How to store eggs before incubating them
- Store eggs at 60 to 69°F and 75 to 80 percent relative humidity as quickly as possible after they are laid.
- Do not wash eggs you intend to incubate. Do not incubate excessively dirty eggs.
- Store eggs with the large end up and set eggs 3 to 10 after they have been laid.
Incubating the eggs
- To ensure the incubator is working correctly and consistently, turn it on several days before you set the eggs. Follow the directions of your incubator.
- Temperature should remain between 99.5 to 100.5°F. Check the temperature at least twice daily. Fluctuations in temperature can cause a poor hatch. If possible, use thermometers that have probes or other remote monitoring to minimize the number of times you have to open the incubator.
- An ideal incubator room has no drafts and a temperature of 70 to 80°F. Set the incubator on a level surface that receives no direct sunlight. Do not place the incubator in a corner or against any wall or barrier.
- Monitor the humidity and ensure it is at 55 to 60 percent relative humidity. The surface area of the water, not the depth, influences humidity in the incubator. If you need to increase the humidity, you can use wet paper towels or sponges.
- Candle your eggs at 10 to 12 days of incubation. Remove dead or infertile eggs—they can rupture and contaminate your incubator.
Three days before hatch
- Remove or turn off the incubator’s turner. The eggs should not be turned after day 18 (chickens). Lay the eggs on their sides.
- Increase humidity to 65 to 70 percent relative humidity. Remove the vent plug if water droplets appear inside the incubator.
- Do not to remove the incubator lid after day 18. If you must remove it to check the water level on day 20, do so quickly.
- Chicks may take nearly 24 hours to hatch. Once chicks successfully leave the shell, leave them in the incubator 24 hours or until completely dry.
- Do not help chicks out of their shells. If they cannot hatch themselves, they likely will not survive.
Download a printer-friendly version of this publication: Hatching Eggs in the Classroom: Tips for a Successful Hatch
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