Due to the fact that guinea fowls are poor hens, and their maternal instinct is poor, farmers give more preference to hatchery chicks using an incubator. But this process requires a responsible approach, because if the temperature or humidity level is not properly maintained, all efforts can be in vain.
There are a number of specific requirements that must be observed during incubation. Initially, you must be able to choose the right eggs, because not all of them are suitable for the future breeding of chicks. There are also some requirements for the incubator.
Normally, a guinea fowl sweeps for six months, and if you provide it with good illumination and maintain a constant temperature, this period can increase to 8-9 months. The offspring will succeed in hatching from 70-80% of eggs, which are divided into several categories: small, medium, large.
The main requirement is the choice of eggs of the same size. That is, you cannot lay medium and large, or small and medium eggs in an incubator at the same time. Other requirements are practically no different from those presented for breeding other birds:
- Choose holistic and pre-disinfected eggs. Typically, farmers use a quartz lamp for irradiation. At home, it is permissible to use a weak solution of potassium permanganate or an alcoholic solution of iodine. After this procedure, the eggs are rinsed with warm water and wiped dry. Collect eggs in the morning until 10-11 hours.
- Eggs must comply with the standard: have the shape of a pear, a sharp end, the absence of irregularities and defects.
- Immediately at the time of laying the eggs in the incubator, you must first hold them at room temperature (several hours) - this contributes to a gradual heating.
- Eggs are taken only from those females who are at least 1 year old. For this reason, the collection does not begin until May.
- It is advisable to take those eggs that the guinea fowl will lay no earlier than three weeks from the start of laying. The reason for this is that the first eggs are often unfertilized.
- Eggs are selected according to typical parameters: very small and excessively large are laid aside. You can find out about the presence of an embryo in an egg using an ovoscope to check.
Within 28 days it is required to provide temperature and humidity conditions for the eggs. If you deviate even a little from the schedule, the embryo may freeze. The mains device must be equipped with a battery, which will be switched in case of power outages.
Humidity in the chamber must be maintained by the evaporator and automation, the readings of wet and dry thermometers should be monitored. The incubator should also provide protection against overheating. Even if the temperature rises for at least one minute, the entire brood may die. A prerequisite is regular air exchange in the thermostat, holes are provided in it, due to them air circulates.
Each egg during incubation of guinea fowl emits 3.5 liters of carbon dioxide and assimilates 4 liters of oxygen. If the incubator provides for automatic overturning of egg trays, the poultry breeder must always ensure that they are installed upside down with a blunt end. When manually turning the eggs, the eggs are laid sideways.
Which eggs are unsuitable?
Before sending eggs to the incubator, the farmer must carefully examine and check them. Not all eggs are suitable for incubation. Such eggs are not referred to the “right” product:
- weight less than 35 g;
- there are pollution;
- on the shell there are defects, growths, damage;
- inside two yolks;
- inside, when visible, blood impurities are noticeable.
Suitable eggs are stored in a dark, cool place at the right temperature and humidity level. Discarded eggs are not placed in the incubator.
How to prepare incubation material for laying?
The incubator must be installed in a room where a constant temperature of at least +20 degrees. A few hours before laying, leave the eggs in the room where the equipment is located. Before sending eggs to the incubator, it is heated to a temperature of +38 degrees.
Many poultry farmers say that it is better to choose incubators that provide a function with automatic egg flipping. If there is no such function, it's okay, you just have to work a little bit on turning the eggs manually. For convenience, it is recommended that you mark the eggs. It also does not hurt to draw a table where there will be notes on the turning of eggs. After laying eggs, they are not touched for 12 hours. That is, the first time the eggs are turned over half a day after the eggs are sent to the incubator.
Next, the eggs are turned 6 times a day to prevent the embryo from sticking to the shell. This mode will allow all products to warm up evenly, thereby significantly increasing hatchability and increasing the percentage of healthy chicks.
It is allowed to lay eggs at any time of the day, but experienced poultry farmers recommend doing this in the evening. Before laying, be sure to sort the eggs by weight. Each group, depending on the size of the eggs, is laid in separate trays.
In order for the incubation to be successful, it is necessary from the first hours to establish the correct temperature and humidity. The first few weeks, the temperature in the incubator should be at the level of +37.8 degrees, humidity - 60%. If the incubator does not provide automation for regulating humidity, it is allowed to install a container of water in it.
On day 6, you need to start cooling the eggs. To do this, once a day, lift the lid of the incubator, leaving it open for 5-6 minutes. Two weeks after laying, the temperature is reduced by two degrees. The humidity level should be up to 50%. Eggs are still turned at least 6 times a day. Open the lid for 10 minutes already.
Three days before the end date, the eggs are turned over, but the temperature and humidity should be the same as at the beginning of the bookmark. No longer open the incubator lid.
The table shows in detail for how long, what should be the temperature and humidity:
|Term||Temperature||Humidity level||The number of coups||Ventilation|
|from 1st to 2nd day||38 degrees||65%||6||-|
|from 3 to 14 days||37.5 degrees||60%||4||5-6 minutes|
|from 15 to 23 day||37.5 degrees||55%||3||10 minutes|
|from 24 to 25 day||38 degrees||65%||-||-|
|from 26 to 28 day||37 degrees||68%||-||7 minutes|
Observance of all conditions will ensure the bird's health, good development of young animals. This process must be taken very responsibly.
Checking the development of embryos and egg scans
Over the entire incubation period, it is required to check and control the development of guinea fowl embryos at least four times. It is important to get rid of an unusable egg in time, if the embryo is frozen, this will avoid the development of rotting, cracking of the shell and the release of the infected mass to the outside. The first time after laying the embryos are checked on the 8th day. It is during this period that the first period of embryo development ends.
If during the first ovoscopy no changes are detected, then most likely the eggs have not been fertilized and must be removed from the incubator.
At the first transmission, it is necessary to evaluate the quality of the eggs, as well as the development of the circulatory system of the embryo. When examining the eggs, blood vessels should be clearly visible, approaching the sharp end, the embryo should not be visible. In this case, the egg is translucent pink.
If the condition of the vessels is in perfect order, then they are not visible very well, they penetrate slightly beyond the middle of the shell. This may indicate that not all chances of normalizing the embryo are lost.
If the embryo is close to the shell, this may mean that it does not develop well. In this case, the egg predominates in a pale shade, and the vessels are practically invisible and absent in the acute part.
An ovoscope can be easily made independently using a small cardboard box and a 60 W light bulb - it is placed at the bottom of the box. An oval-shaped hole is cut out on the box lid, slightly smaller than the middle egg.
The second ovoscopy is carried out on the 15th day after the completion of the second stage of development. Remove eggs with visible bloody spots on an orange background. The third ovoscopy is performed after 24 days. At this time, it is clearly visible where the embryo froze, and where it develops well. All eggs with frozen embryos must be removed from the incubator. After the first bites appear, it is necessary to spray the eggs with water to increase humidity.
Step-by-step instruction for the entire process
Incubation is a painstaking process that requires compliance with certain rules. The poultry breeder must know how many days the eggs lie in the incubator, and what to do during this period:
- Before sending the incubation material, it is necessary to keep it in a cool room for some time so that condensation does not form on the eggs after turning on the incubator. Otherwise, mold may appear on the eggs, causing them to deteriorate. Eggs are placed indoors at a temperature of no more than +12 degrees. There should be no drafts and no sunlight.
- On one tray lay eggs of the same size. Start with large copies. The bookmarking process should last no more than four hours.
- Humidity in the incubator should be about 65%, temperature - 37.8-38 degrees. To ensure high-quality removal of guinea fowl in an incubator will allow disinfection with formaldehyde vapor.
- In the early days, you should maintain a temperature of 37.6 degrees, humidity at 60%.
- Incubation of guinea fowl eggs involves three times turning over during the day. This helps to supply the core with the necessary amount of nutrients.
- After a week, you will need to check all the eggs on the embryo using an ovoscope. So it will be possible to select embryos and bacterially infected eggs that have stopped in development.
In the following video, Elena Krylova, a poultry farmer, shares her personal experience in hatching guinea fowl in an incubator:
Ways to increase humidity
If the poultry breeder initially acquired an expensive, programmable incubator, he would have no difficulty setting the desired indicator of humidity, temperature, and the number of eggs turned over per day.
But if the incubator model is old, then you will have to try a little. To increase humidity, it is recommended to spray eggs. But this is only if there is an external fan. But for spraying, you will have to open the incubator.
If the model is semi-automatic, with a built-in fan, it is dangerous to spray eggs, because water can get into the electrical system. Then it is simply necessary to insulate the incubator, isolating it from the environment. But, one way or another, raising humidity to 80% does not work.
Homemade incubators, in which there is no automatic detector, humidity is calculated according to the table, taking into account the temperature difference between a dry and a wet thermometer. In a wet thermometer, the lower tip is wrapped in a wick of rag material. The second end of the wick is lowered into a container of water.
If the incubator is quite large, you can increase the humidity in it by installing a container with hot water. But along with this, the temperature rises at the same time, which can negatively affect the chicks.
When do chicks appear after laying eggs?
On the 27th day, sometimes earlier, over-bites may appear on the eggs. For the guinea fowl to finally form and hatch, it will take him about a day. If there were no abnormalities in the incubation mode, the conclusion can be friendly. But it all depends on the development of the chicks, that is, some can almost immediately rise and try to go, while others can lie and recover.
Those chicks that immediately hatch after trying to hatch should be caught and moved to the brooder. Guinea fowls are mobile kids who can quickly fall into some hole and get stuck there. Calm chicks must be left in the incubator for some time, so that they gain strength.
Daily chicks and their inspection
The very removal of chicks takes place in several stages. When the chick pecks the shell, this can often be seen, then a squeak is heard. The second stage is the complete hatching of the chick within a few hours. By the mass of the kids, it will be possible to answer exactly how much the egg weighed:
|Chick mass||Egg weight|
|38-40 g||23-27 g|
|41-43 g||27-29 g|
|44-46 g||30-32 g|
|47-55 g||33-35 g|
It is considered normal if during the entire incubation period the chick loses 14-15% in weight.
To objectively evaluate the chicken after hatching, it is necessary to wait 12-24 hours. Usually a healthy baby is active and mobile, looks good externally. Such chicks have a clear and lively look, shiny, slightly convex eyes, a fully retracted umbilical cord, and bright orange paws. In healthy ones, a soft stomach feels to the touch, and the body is covered with a soft, glittering fluff in the light.
Carry the chicks in the brooder only after they are completely dry. It is important to immediately select the strongest guinea fowls, to remove sluggish, painful babies. It is believed that the most healthy babies are born within 17-20 hours after hatching.
Selection of chicks to create a herd
The larger the eggs were when laying in the incubator, the stronger the offspring. For cultivation, guinea fowl from a brooder is selected after birth after 8-12 hours. The standard chick at this time can already stand firmly on its feet, respond to tapping on the box. The strongest chicks are left to form the parent herd and procreation.
If the number of healthy chicks is 60-65% of all eggs laid in the incubator, this is a normal indicator. The optimal value can be obtained by laying the eggs of those birds whose age varies within two years.
Is it possible to speed up the process of removing guinea fowl?
Beginning poultry farmers are interested not only in the moment of incubation of caesar eggs, but also in the possibility of accelerating the removal of chicks. In general, incubation of guinea fowl eggs lasts 27-28 days. If everything was done correctly, all babies should be born on the 28th day after laying the eggs in the incubator. High humidity can delay the formation of the embryo.
As for whether it is possible to speed up the process of removing guinea fowls, the answer is unequivocal - no. The first chickens will hatch no earlier than on the 27th day. So that it would be easier for kids to peck the shell, it is slightly moistened with water using a spray bottle - so it will not only become thinner, but also softer.
Common mistakes of beginner poultry farmers
Newcomers who decide to start raising chickens in an incubator often encounter difficulties due to their inexperience. The most common mistakes in this process are:
- Incorrect egg rolling. Often between turning eggs, the poultry breeder makes long intervals, because of which the embryo dries to the shell.
- Incorrect temperature determination. The reason for this may be the location of the thermometer in the wrong place. The thermometer should be flush with the eggs.
- Lack of moisture. Guinea fowl are birds that prefer moisture. The humidity level must be clearly monitored. If necessary, incubation material is required to be sprayed.
- Egg overheating. This can lead to the fact that the chicks can begin to hatch eggs earlier than expected. So the babies will be born underdeveloped, therefore, and will not live long.
- Egg heating. If the incubation material does not warm up properly, the brood will not only be born late, but will also have some anomalies. There is also a possibility of a decrease in the percentage of excretion.
The process of selecting high-quality eggs for further laying in the incubator is a responsible matter that requires the right approach. Incubation of guinea fowl eggs will allow the removal of healthy chicks, if you properly monitor the development of the embryos and carefully treat the guinea fowls in the future.