Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Last night I started a batch of chicken eggs in the incubator. My husband found a stock pile of eggs in the barn rather than the chicken house where those hens should be laying. We didn't feel comfortable eating them since we didn't know exactly when they were laid. Instead of throwing them out I decided to see if they will hatch.

I warmed the incubator for 24 hours. Ideally they say the temp should be 99.5 degrees with about 60%  - 70% humidity. Last year I kept my digital thermometer at 99 degrees and the chicks started hatching a day or two early. I'm working with the same thermometer this year. The temp throughout the day goes up and down a few degrees so currently I have it at 97 degrees. My thermometer keeps track of the high and low for 24 hours, so far the high has been 99. Last year my high would reach 100 - 101 degrees. When the chicks hatched early, some didn't make it. Also quite a few eggs didn't even hatch even though a baby chick was inside.

This time I also decided not to wash the eggs prior to putting them in the incubator. I found conflicting information on the internet. Most say to wash and sanitize the eggs so you don't contaminate the incubator. I did find just a few sites that say not to wash because it affects the egg shell. So last year I did a few batches that I washed the eggs and one batch where I didn't. I had much more success with eggs that I didn't wash, just placed directly from where I found them into the incubator.

Now if I can just find where the guinea fowl are laying.

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