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Hatching Posted Chicken Eggs Using An Incubator

Hatching Posted Chicken Eggs Using An Incubator

People buy hatching eggs online from our home reared, often rare bred, fertile chickens every week, and I'm always being asked for top tips how to hatch eggs in an incubator, especially if you do not have a broody hen to do the work. Today I'm here to guide you through the process of successfully hatching chicken eggs, especially those that have made their journey to you via post in the UK. As someone who's spent years working with poultry, I've gathered a wealth of knowledge and experience that I'm eager to share with you. Let's delve into the art of hatching fertile posted eggs, ensuring your hatching eggs have the best start in their new home.

 Understanding the Postal Journey First off, let’s talk about what happens to eggs in transit. The journey through the postal system, with its various machines and sorting processes, can be quite a bumpy ride for your eggs. Vibrations, especially from sorting machines, might unsettle the air sac within the egg, which is vital for a chick’s development. But don’t worry, with the right approach after they arrive, we can mitigate these issues.

Essential First Steps After Receiving Your Eggs Once your eggs arrive, there’s an important initial step: let them rest for 12 hours with the broader end upwards. This isn’t just a waiting game; it's a crucial period that allows the air sac, potentially disrupted during shipping, to re-stabilise. This step can significantly boost your chances of a successful hatch.

Setting Up for Hatching Whether you're using an incubator or a broody hen, consistency is key. If you go the incubator route, keep a steady environment at about 37.5°C and 45-50% humidity. This replicates what a mother hen naturally provides. Opting for a broody hen? Make sure she’s in a quiet, calm place and is regularly turning the eggs. It’s all about mimicking nature’s way as closely as possible.

Candling and Egg Viability Around days 7 to 10, it's time for candling. This process, where you shine a light into the egg, isn’t just for identifying viable eggs; it’s a window into the fascinating development of life. Remove any eggs that show clear signs of non-viability, like being too clear or having blood rings. This part of the process requires a keen eye and a bit of patience.

The Home Stretch - Lockdown Phase Approaching day 18 means entering the 'lockdown' phase. Now, you stop turning the eggs and increase humidity to about 65%. This is crucial for the chicks preparing to hatch, ensuring they have the right conditions for this critical stage. It's a bit like preparing for the grand finale in the hatching saga!

In Summary:  Achieving a 50% hatch rate is to be considered a great success, particularly with eggs that have been posted. Remember, not every egg is destined to hatch, which is why a hen will lay so many, but with careful attention and following these steps, you’re giving your hatching eggs the best chance possible. If you ever need advice or have questions, remember, I’m here to help, along with the rest of the team at East Sussex Smallholders. We’re not just about providing you great quality fertile hatching eggs; we’re about building a community of knowledgeable, passionate poultry keepers - we are the crazy chicken ladies !! 

Best of luck with your hatching!

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