There are a few important factors that one must take into consideration while hatching eggs in an incubator. The first step in this process is to select right hatching chicken eggs. It is advisable to choose eggs from the hens that are capable of producing fertile eggs and have not had any disturbances during their mating session.
The eggs meant for hatching should be clean, healthy, and without any cracks or holes in the shells. Never wash or wipe hatching eggs as washing and wiping can damage the natural protective covering of the egg and thereby make it more vulnerable to disease causing organisms. Eggs with cracked shells are also prone to getting infected.
The eggs must be neither too big nor too small. Extremely big eggs are very hard to hatch while the small ones will not allow proper development of the chicks. Eggs with thin shells should also be discarded. These eggs cannot retain the right amount of moisture needed for the growth of the embryo. Also avoid deformed or misshaped eggs.
It is best to hatch the eggs naturally. Otherwise, you have to use an incubator to artificially hatch the eggs. Usually, there are two kinds of incubators available for artificially hatching the chicken eggs namely forced-air incubator and still-air incubator. The forced-air incubator can be used for hatching a larger number of eggs. The still-air-incubator is a small sized incubator and can hatch only a small number of eggs.
Proper storing and caring of eggs prior to incubation is very important. Store the eggs in a cool place with a temperature of about 55 degree Fahrenheit and a humidity of around 75%. Prior to placing the eggs in the incubator, they should be allowed to naturally warm to the room temperature. After seven days, the eggs may start to lose hatchability and hence it is imperative to set them for hatching within seven days. During the storing period, do not forget to rotate the eggs daily.
Place the incubator away from direct sunlight and drafts. If you are using forced-air incubator, keep the temperature at 100 degree Fahrenheit. The appropriate temperature for the still-air incubator is 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Use an accurate thermostat and place it at the same height as the eggs.
The humidity and ventilation should also be maintained appropriately. Put the eggs very carefully into the incubator and place them with their small end pointing downward and large end facing upward. They can also be placed horizontally. Normally, the chicken eggs will take at least 21 days to hatch. During the first 18 days, each egg has to be turned two times a day. There is no need to rotate the eggs in the last three days.