Q: Up to how long can I store my eggs before incubating them and do I need to keep them warm?
A: When fertile eggs are first laid, it is good practice to leave them at least 24 hours before incubating them. Fertile eggs can be stored for up to 7 days before being incubated. It is recommended to keep them at a room temperature of between 15ºC to 18ºC and turn them daily during this time.
Q: When I position the eggs in my incubator, which way up should they be?
A: It is essential that eggs are positioned either with the round end upwards; or laid on their side.
Q: What is the correct incubation temperature for my eggs?
A: In fan-assisted incubators, warm air is circulated continually within the egg chamber. Thermometers should be placed near the tops of the eggs; and should show a reading of approximately 37.5°C.
In still-air incubators, warm air rises to the top of the egg chamber. Thermometers should be placed near the tops of the eggs; and should show a reading of approximately 39°C.
It is always recommended to follow manufacturer's instructions.
Q: How often should eggs be turned during incubation?
A: For most bird eggs, including poultry, game-birds and waterfowl; turning should take place a minimum of three times a day. However more is better.
Automatic Incubators tend to turn eggs hourly. This is certainly recommended for exotic birds, such as parrots; and for birds of prey.
Q: My incubator has lost power. Will my eggs be OK?
A: Once incubation has begun, a stable temperature is vital to the development of the embryo. With most of our incubators, incubation will be successful even if the machine loses power for up to two hours.
However, extended periods of time without a source of power are likely to result in poor hatch rates.
Q: Once the chicks have hatched, how long can they stay in the incubator?
A: Leave the chicks in the incubator until they are fluffy and dry. This usually takes around 24 hours and they will not require food and drink during this time.
After 24 hours, chicks should be transferred into a brooder.
Q: What is the correct humidity level for incubation?
A: It is important to remember that humidity will vary, this is not a big problem; it is the average humidity over the incubation period that matters more.
A humidity reading between 35 – 45% will be perfect for the majority of eggs. The humidity level should be increased to the region of 50 – 60% during the hatching period.
Q: What is the difference between an incubator and a brooder?
A: Incubators are used during the incubation period whilst the chick is still developing in the egg.
A brooder is somewhere where the hatched chicks can grow in a warm and safe environment.
Q: Should I help the chicks to hatch?
A: It is always best to allow the chicks time to hatch by themselves. This can sometimes take up to 24 hours from the first stages of the egg hatching.
By lifting the lid of the incubator during the hatching stage, vital moisture is allowed to escape. This can leave hatching chicks imprisoned in their shells. It is highly recommended not to lift the lid during the hatching stage.
Q: Why have my eggs not hatched?
A: Poor hatch rates happen for a number of reasons. Incubation is not an exact science and it is often a combination of factors that affect the overall success of a hatch.
One of the most common factors to affect hatch rates is egg fertility and quality. It is very important to obtain your eggs from a reliable source.