Hatching chicks in an incubator

Hatching chicks in an incubator

The owners of subsidiary farms regularly face the task of replenishing the number of birds. It is not necessary to count on solving the problem with the help of the hen. Chickens of modern breeds do not often become hens, and the broods of chickens are insignificant. If we add here a subsequent decrease in the level of egg laying of the hen, the use of an incubator for breeding chicks is the best way out of the situation.

Preparatory stage

Having set out to get chickens from the incubator, it is necessary to study all the nuances of the technological process of their excretion. Organize activities are allowed in any period, but beginners should think about the further content of chickens. Therefore, the favorable time is the beginning of a warm season, that is, the laying of eggs in April, the breeding of chicks in May. That the spent efforts were not in vain, first of all it is necessary to organize a full-fledged feeding of chickens. In addition to the usual feed, in the cold period, the diet is added:

  • artificial vitamins;
  • makuhu, steamed in boiling water;
  • vegetables.
Important! The lack of nutrients during the laying of eggs will negatively affect the health of the hatched chickens.

Selection of eggs for offspring

Eggs intended for incubation in chickens are carefully selected:

  • On an industrial scale, they are weighed, at home it's enough to estimate the size of the egg by eye. Too large and extremely small specimens are not recommended, the correct solution for incubation is medium size.
  • Then carefully study the surface of the shell. Substantial help in this occupation will be provided by an ovoscope. Cracks, outgrowths, pimples or hollows are unacceptable for eggs intended for breeding chickens. If a specimen with a notch is a rare breed and is of particular value, experts recommend applying a thin strip of glue made on the basis of starch to it. The wrong shape of the egg is another reason to refuse to lay it in an incubator for breeding chicks.
  • The ovoscope helps to determine the freshness of the egg. A slightly darkened spot near the blunt end represents an air chamber, which increases with each day of storage of the egg. Chickens, hatched in an incubator from a stale egg, lag behind in development.
  • A sharp shift of yolk during a turn indicates a torn cord, a similar specimen is subject to rejection.

The material selected for the incubator must be disinfected. Small volumes are gently wiped with rags soaked in manganese solution. Large batches are treated with formaldehyde vapors.

Attention! Dirty eggs are not suitable for breeding chickens in an incubator.

Eggs, intended for further placement in the incubator for the purpose of breeding chickens, are stored upside down in an upright position. The room temperature for short-term storage is 18aboutC, with a longer period it must be reduced, the air humidity is about 80%. The maximum allowed shelf life before placing in the incubator is 6 days, the quality of the hatched chickens is higher if the eggs were stored no more than 2 days.

Unit installation

All devices have differences among themselves in terms of technological indicators. Therefore, before starting the chicken breeding process, you should carefully read the operating instructions of the incubator. Before the initial laying and after each removal of the chickens, the mechanism is thoroughly cleaned, while the use of chemical agents is prohibited. It is recommended to check the new unit in idle for 3 days, observing the health of all mechanisms and sensors. The incubator is installed on a flat surface in a well-ventilated room with an air temperature of 22-24aboutC and is not subject to significant fluctuations during the day. There should not be any heaters near the house, and the possibility of heating it from sunlight should also be avoided. To moisten the air during the breeding of chickens in the incubator baths with water are installed. Depending on the design, the incubator is switched on for heating 3-24 hours before laying eggs.

The maintenance of eggs in an incubator

Before bookmarking the future chickens, they should be placed in a warm room for warming up and to avoid a sharp drop in temperature in the unit in the first hours after placing the eggs. The incubator for breeding chicks can function in the automatic turning mode of eggs or with the need to perform these actions mechanically. In the second case, the eggs are marked with different labels: they can be the letters "Y" - morning and "B" - evening, or stick and cross. The sign does not matter, the main thing is that it should be applied with a simple soft pencil, the use of markers or other means with a chemical basis is unacceptable. Such actions are necessary to control the reversal process in full. If the future chickens differ in size, in the first place it is recommended to lay larger specimens, after 5 hours - medium, least - small. This will allow the incubation of the offspring at about the same time.

Important! Observance of the temperature regime and humidity level are the key conditions for breeding healthy chickens in the incubator with minimal losses.

The high temperature provokes the development of the embryo at an accelerated pace, but the "overheated" chickens are smaller, often they do not have time to grow the umbilical cord. Excretion in an incubator with a low temperature gives offspring with a delay of 24 hours. In this case, the embryo can die before breeding, and the surviving chickens have a decreased activity. There is a risk of sticking to the shell of the beak and the skin of the chicks. Deviations in the humidity level in the incubator also have a negative effect on chick breeding results.

In order not to expose the future chicks in the incubator to serious tests, it is necessary to study the periods of development of the embryo prior to excretion and the optimal conditions for each of them. The formation time of chickens is subdivided into 4 stages:

  1. 1 to 6 days after placement in the incubator;
  2. 7-10th day of development;
  3. 12-18 day (before the first squeak of non-hatched chicks);
  4. 18-21 day - the final period of breeding chicks in the incubator.

On the segment of development from the first to the third period, the future chickens undergo a regular overturning. This will prevent the growth of the embryo to the shell. Experts recommend different time intervals between manipulations. Some agree that twice a day is enough for breeding chickens. Others insist on 4 single procedures: early morning, late evening and 2 times during the day. Rare professionals are advised to turn every 1-2 hours, when at the same time, even when they are owners of an automatic incubator, it is not said. The golden mean in the form of a 4-time process during the day is enough for proper ripening of chick embryos in the incubator. The manual operations are carried out neatly, during the operation of the mechanism, it is periodically necessary to check whether the laying of the future chicks has been disturbed. At the final stage, from day 18 until the removal of chickens in the incubator, the overturning procedures are discontinued.

If the volumes of the bookmark in the incubator do not carry an industrial scale, after the completion of each embryo formation period, the eggs are examined on an ovoscope and discarded. Reporting new in this period is not recommended in connection with the distinctive withdrawal conditions at different stages. Proper development of chicks in individual incubators is impossible without regular airing and spraying to increase the humidity level.

The conditions for keeping eggs in the incubator prior to excretion are given in the table below:






1 (1-6 days)


Above 50%

5 minutes during rolling

Not required

2 (7-10 days)




Not required

3 (11-18 day)



5 minutes during the inverting, additionally once a day, starting at 20 minutes and gradually increasing to half an hour.

2 times a day after turning over, after the procedure the incubator immediately closes

4 (days 18-21)



1 time per day 30 minutes

Not required

The decrease in temperature in the incubator is associated with the development of the chick embryo and self-release of heat. The increase in airing time is due to the increased level of metabolism and increased gas exchange in future chickens in the incubator. Completely rely on the automatic incubator is not necessary, it is recommended to periodically check the integrity of the mechanisms, if possible, have several instruments for measuring temperature, placing them in different parts of the unit.

Care for chickens in the first days of life

After breeding the chicks on the 21st day they are left for a while until completely dry in the incubator. Subsequently, the chicks move to a specially prepared place (nursery). Healthy individuals have the following symptoms:

  • shiny fluff and strong paws;
  • react to sounds and actively move;
  • the eyes of the chicks are slightly convex, clear, the beak is short;
  • the umbilical cord is soft, the stomach is not saggy.

Some deviations in the form of a dried blood clot, a slightly enlarged abdomen or a dull fluff with mild pigmentation should not be the cause of culling. As a result of insignificant overheating in the incubator, umbilical hernia can be observed in the chickens after excretion. The problem is solved by sticking a hole in the hole, which will be delayed after a few days. Weak individuals are recommended to immediately kill. The high mortality immediately after removal in the incubator is influenced by two factors: poor egg quality during laying or deviation from established incubation conditions.

On the first day after breeding, chickens are not able to drink on their own, so they dip their beaks into the water and raise their heads for swallowing. In order to reduce mortality, it is desirable to treat the chicks with antibiotics, adding the medicine to the drinkers.

Observance of the conditions for breeding chicks in the incubator at all stages will allow to obtain healthy chicks with a low level of losses.

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