HOW TO EXPERTLY INCUBATE EGGS AND HATCH CHICKS
Incubating eggs and hatching chicks is very simple for free range farmers who are very common in most countries in Africa, from Zimbabwe to Nigeria. They only have to prepare a nesting place for the hen to lay her egg. Hens like private and comfortable places. You may want to make the place comfortable by lining the floor with sacks and other soft material such as an old blanket. The area should also comfortable, take care to provide a warm environment for the hen. Give the hen twenty one days, after which the eggs begin to hatch. Sometimes, free range hens can brood – and hatch eggs outside their designated areas. This method of incubation and hatching is not very efficient – to minimize wastage, do not allow the hen to sit on all the eggs. They like places under the fence and sometimes get into the house. Many a farmer has come home to find an egg in the bedroom.
For commercial farming, an incubator is best to increase efficiency:
- First of all, select the best eggs for incubation. Not all eggs are ideal. Eggs which have thin, permeable shell are likely to lose too much moisture during the process of incubation.
- Avoid dirty eggs. Due to their contamination, they can bring infections into an incubator. Besides that, dirty eggs do not hatch well. Eggs should be put in the incubator no later than 7-10 days after having been laid since this is the optimum amount of time. For eggs that were laid one week before, they should be turned 90degrees every day.
- Maintain the temperature within the incubator at a level of 55-65 degrees Fahrenheit. Start preparing the incubator two to three days earlier. Adjust temperature and humidity to the right point before the eggs are brought in. Check the functioning of the turner, if it has an automatic turner. Wait until temperature and humidity are stable, then you can set the eggs. Refrigerated eggs should acclimatize for two to three hours first before being set in the incubator.
- Before putting eggs in the incubator, put a mark on each side of the egg. The marks should be different, and need to act as a guide on how to turn the egg. If the incubator’s automatic turner is working just fine, there is no need to mark the eggs.
- At the beginning, be sure to orient each egg so that its larger end points upwards, ensuring that the embryo grows in the right direction, towards the air cell inside the egg.
- Avoid mixing species of birds because birds of different species hatch at different times.
- Turn the eggs five times a day. This mimics the natural action of the brooding hens, which turn the eggs they incubate regularly.
- Maintain a steady temperature at 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperature deviations are capable of causing a very poor hatch.
- The final two days of incubation are called the hatch stage, during which the chicks actually hatch out of their shells. Chicks can remain in the incubator for a day.
Other Africa Poultry Information
- Profitable Chicken Farming Business
- Successful Poultry Coop Building
- Build an Affordable Long Lasting Chicken Coop
- Successful Egg Hatching for Baby Chicks
- Successful Chicken Egg Laying Strategies
- Successful Chicken Feeding
- How to Raise Chickens Stress Free
- Raising Chickens for Meat
- Successful Chicken Disease Management
- Chicken Resources