Egg Incubation Info: Frequently Asked Questions
Poultry Industry and Production Questions:
Does the time of the year affect the fertility rate?
Extreme cold (winter) or extreme heat (summer) can lower fertility rate dramatically.
How many females can one male service?
One male egg producing chicken (Leghorn) can service 10 - 15 females. One male dual purpose chicken (Rhode Island Red) can service 6-8 females.
What is the average life of the male chicken?
A male chicken would live on the average of 3-5 years.
How can you tell a hen from a rooster?
Difficult to tell at hatch unless they are feathersexed (female primary feathers are longer at 3-4 days of age). In adults, males are larger with longer wattles and larger combs.
When does production begin?
At sexual maturity. This is about 17-18 weeks of age for the female hen.
What factors affect egg production?
Many factors affect egg production. The most important are diet (nutrition), temperature, humidity, length of artificial light (14 hours of constant light is recommended), and other nutritional and environmental factors.
What is a blood spot?
A blood spot occurs from a broken blood vessel across the stigma line on the yolk follicle when the yolk is released into the reproductive tract.
How many eggs does a chicken lay per year?
250-270 eggs per year.
How is the egg fertilized?
When the rooster inseminates the hen, the male sperm swim up the reproductive tract and localize in sperm host glands in the infundibulum. When a yolk is released one sperm penetrates the germmal disc and fertilization has begun.
When do the chicks need water?
Immediately. The chicks need to drink water when they are transferred to the brooder box.
When do they need food?
The chick needs food probably the first day, but can survive for up to 3 days after hatching.
What is candling?
Candling is shining a bright light near the egg to determine the egg quality and also embryonic development.
When should the eggs be candled?
Eggs can be candled anytime after about Day 5 of incubation through Day 17.
How long should the eggs be out of the incubator?
No more than 5 to 10 minutes at a time.
What is the best temperature for storing eggs?
Egg should be stored between 18 and 20 degrees Celcius
How much humidity is needed?
Enough humidity is needed to maintain a wet bulb temperature of about 29 to 31 degrees C (50-55 percent relative humidity).
How do you disinfect the incubator?
Disinfect incubator with 10 percent bleach solution, then wash with warm soapy water and rinse thoroughly.
Does when the egg was laid affect the hatch date?
No. If fertile eggs are stored properly (55-60 degrees F) then hatch date for the chicken will be about 21 days following the time they are placed in the incubator.
Where should the eggs be stored, if they cannot be set right away?
If they cannot be put in an incubator right away, then they should be kept in a cool room at a temperature of 18 and 20 Degrees C.
What is the longest eggs should be held before incubating?
No more than 10 days.
What is the correct temperature for incubating fertile eggs in an incubator?
Optimum temperature is 37,5 Degrees C.
What is the temperature range that is acceptable during incubation?
Temperature range is 36 - 38 degrees C.
What are the factors for success?
Successful hatches can be obtained by:
Securing fertile eggs
Maintaining the correct temperature
Maintaining correct humidity levels
Increasing ventilation when chicks hatch
Turning the eggs properly
What should be used to mark the eggs?
A lead pencil only.
What is the normal hatch time for a fertile incubated egg?
Normal hatch time for chicken eggs is 21 days.
What will delay the hatch?
Too low of an average temperature will delay the hatch.
Why are the chicks sometimes very wet and mushy?
Chicks are wet and mushy if too much humidity is in the incubator.
How long should I leave the eggs in the incubator if they do not hatch on the twenty-first day?
Leave the unhatched eggs until the 23rd or 24th day.
What causes deformed legs?
Deformed legs are caused by poor nutrition of the hen. Other factors are disease, contamination and improper temperature.
How do I count the days?
Count the days of incubation from the first day the eggs are placed in the incubator. If placed in the morning that day would be Day 1; if placed in the evening that day would be Day 0, the next day would be Day 1.
When do I stop turning the eggs?
Stop turning the eggs on Day 18.
Should you help a chick out of the shell?
No, if the chick can not come out of the shell on its own then it is a weak chick and probably would not survive.
What is the function of the air cell?
The air cell function is to provide the chick with air when it first starts to break open the shell.
What is the critical period in hatching?
The first 3-5 days and Days 18 and 19. When the embryo is forming early on and when it gets in position to hatch.
How often should the eggs be turned?
Eggs should be turned at least two times a day.
What causes the embryo to develop fully, but not pip the shell or hatch?
Too low or too high temperature, to too low or too high humidity.
Why do chicks stick to the shell?
Too low humidity during incubation.
What causes the navel to be sore?
Too high temperature during incubation, excessive humidity near the end of incubation, or infected embryo early in incubation.
What should you do if the chicks pick at one another?
Separate them from each other in the brooder box, or construct another brooder box and separate the chicks.
How long does it take to pip the shell completely?
Two to four hours