Many poultry farmers may want to breed chickens, and therefore increase their numbers. Sitting and waiting is not an option, because the brood hen may not sit out due time, which is why the chickens will not hatch. There are also many other factors that significantly reduce the chances of their successful birth. There is only one way out - an incubator.
Bookmark Egg Selection
Before you put all the eggs in a row in the incubator, you should carefully select the most successful options. The selection is made by viewing the egg using an ovoscope, and the procedure itself is called ovoscopy.
By itself, this device is more like an ordinary flashlight, but it is better to purchase ovoscopes that use LED lamps. They will not heat the eggs when scanned, which is very important for incubation purposes.
Also, an ovoscope can be created manually using improvised tools like a cardboard box, foil and LED lamp. However, such a miracle adaptation is unlikely to fulfill its role well, especially since in modern times ovoscopes are absolutely inexpensive.
The first step is to turn on the ovoscope and carefully examine the egg, because the health of the future chicken depends on this. And also the likelihood that something will hatch from the egg, in principle:
- the shell must be completely intact, without any damage, even minimal;
- cracks and other shell defects during ovoscope clearance will look like bright stripes or dots (some can be very small, this should be taken into account);
- the air chamber (compartment with oxygen) must be strictly in the lower / blunt part of the egg, completely motionless when turning and / or turning over;
- it is permissible that the yolk moves slowly inside the egg, but it should never touch the borders of the shell;
- translucent blood lines are analogues of veins, but white ones are cracks in the shell (such eggs will not work);
- an egg suitable for incubation should be almost transparent, and the yolk should be barely noticeable (if on the contrary, this is an old egg).
The following eggs are completely unsuitable for laying in an incubator: either chickens will not hatch from them, or they will be defective. Even if you put such eggs in an incubator by all the rules, nothing good will come of it:
- dirty eggs (you can wash the eggs or not - read here );
- irregularly shaped;
- the presence of defects in the shell or thin shell;
- displaced air chamber (no more than 15% displacement is allowed, a “walking” chamber is unacceptable, it must be absolutely motionless);
- mixing yolk with protein;
- blood stained yolk or protein;
- affected by mold;
- having dark spots, with blood or other foreign inclusions;
- enlarged air chamber;
- large or dark yolk;
- the yolk, which is located close to the shell or sucked to it;
- liquid protein, which is why the yolk is very mobile.
It is better not to use such eggs for incubation, because offspring, if any, will quickly die out due to defects in the chickens.
An example of a good egg and features of unsuitable eggs for incubation:
The optimal weight of a good laying egg is 50-53 grams. From small eggs there will be small hens, and from large ones, the likelihood of offspring with defects is high.
When to lay eggs in an incubator?
Depending on at what point in time the eggs are put in the incubator, you will get different results. This is influenced not only by the time of day, but also by the time of year, which is very important to consider when laying eggs.
If you want to make the chickens grow as close to natural conditions as possible, then you need to lay eggs in the incubator from late February to early May. At this time of the year, the street begins to warm, the lighting increases, but it is still not so hot as in the summer months, which is very important for chickens.
But to select chicken eggs for laying in the incubator in the summer months is not particularly recommended. It is permissible to do this only on an industrial scale, in enterprises where the required temperature is always maintained and all the necessary requirements are met. At home, this is unacceptable and will entail defects in future chickens.
Bookmark in the incubator should be carried out in the afternoon, at about 18 o’clock in the evening. This time is ideal for starting the incubation period. Indeed, in this way, on a particular day, the offspring will begin to hatch in the morning and throughout the day. Before evening, all offspring will already be born.
In addition, eggs should be kept (some time before laying in the incubator) at room temperature in the region of 25 degrees. It is very important to prevent drafts (but the room should be well ventilated) and to prevent temperature jumps even by 2-3 degrees. Humidity in the room where the eggs and the incubator will be located should be at the level of 75-80%. Eggs should be kept in such conditions for 8-10 hours.
During egg collection, they should be kept in a slightly cool place for no longer than 10 days. Humidity in this room should also be at the level of 75-80%.
It is critically necessary to do this in order to warm the eggs before laying in the incubator. If you put cold eggs without first warming up at room temperature, condensation will form on them. Drops of water will block the microscopic pores in the shell through which the embryo receives oxygen. As a result, he will die from suffocation.
When selecting eggs, it should be remembered that rarely when they are the same size. Some will be small and some larger. The larger the egg, the longer its incubation period will be, so the sequence of eggs in the incubator will vary.
In order for all chickens to hatch more or less at the same time, lay eggs in the incubator in the strict sequence:
- first, the largest eggs are placed in the incubator;
- then - medium size;
- the smallest are laid last.
Between the clutches it is important to maintain a period of 4 hours, this is the best time for warming up previous eggs and their future development.
It also matters in which position the eggs are laid:
- medium and small must be placed exclusively in an upright position;
- but large eggs are best laid horizontally: in this way the embryos will develop correctly and without pathologies.
When laying eggs vertically, they must be placed with a blunt end up. In this part there is an air chamber from which the embryo will receive oxygen in the first days of development. If the eggs are not placed correctly, the chamber may be damaged and the embryo will suffocate. It can also cause an abnormal development process, causing the chickens to have pathologies.
How to care for eggs during the incubation process?
After laying the eggs, the embryos will begin to gradually develop, and this process can be divided into 4 stages. In each stage, the eggs should be treated in a special way so as to properly care for them and not damage the fragile organism of future chicks:
[tw_list no = "1 ″] stage [/ tw_list]
It is counted from the moment the eggs are placed in the incubator and ends on the 7th day. During this stage, the embryo begins to absorb oxygen from the air chamber, and then from the microscopic pores in the shell. The development, growth and formation of all organs begins. Chicken eggs go through the first stage in exactly 7 days.
For the entire time of this stage, the temperature level should be 39 degrees with an air humidity of 30%. Starting from the first day, you need to turn the eggs. You need to rotate them every 2-3 hours with an allowable pause at night.
In order not to get confused, you can keep a special notebook where data on temperature, humidity, time of revolution of eggs and the side where they are turned over are entered.
[tw_list no = "2 ″] stage [/ tw_list]
At this time, the skeletal system and beak begin to develop in the embryos. This phase ends on day 11 (if the eggs are chicken). This stage is practically unremarkable, you need, as usual, turn the eggs over, monitor the temperature and humidity.
A key feature is the need for continuous (daily) analysis of eggs with an ovoscope. If it is visible that the egg was damaged or defects in the embryos appeared in its internal composition (they died, deteriorated, whatever), then such eggs are called "talkers." They should be removed from the incubator, because a healthy chicken from such eggs will no longer appear.
[tw_list no = "3 ″] stage [/ tw_list]
At this point, the body of the chicken has finally formed and is covered in fluff. It is possible that the chick will begin to make the first sounds and show signs of life.
This stage lasts from 12 to 18 days. The temperature must be reduced to 38.5 degrees, after which the incubator should be ventilated (this should not be done before this stage, and if there is built-in ventilation it should be completely closed). Turning the eggs over from this stage is highly discouraged because there is a high chance of damaging the body of the chickens with even the slightest movement.
On day 12, it is necessary to turn off the incubator heating for 10-15 minutes, so that the eggs cool slightly. After that, the temperature is set at 38 degrees for 30 minutes, after which it is increased to the mentioned norm of 38.5.
It is very important to fulfill these conditions correctly, because in the process of development of a chicken, temperature fluctuations even by a tenth of a degree can be critical.
[tw_list no = "4 ″] stage [/ tw_list]
This period is called the end and lasts from 19 to 21 days (at this time all chickens should already hatch). At this time, the chicks are hatching from the shell (20-21 days), the air humidity is set at 31%, and the temperature drops to 37-38 degrees.
After the chickens are completely dry, they are removed from the incubator and the process of growing adults is started.
On this, the procedure for laying eggs in the incubator and caring for them is considered complete. With proper care and egg laying, it is likely to get up to 80% of individuals, which is an excellent result, especially if the eggs are laid at home. With a competent approach to business and a thorough study of eggs, good and healthy chickens will appear.