Here are the key steps involved in the hatching process using an incubator:
- Setting up the incubator: Clean and sanitize the incubator, fill the water tray, and set the temperature to the recommended level (usually between 99-102°F or 37-39°C) and humidity level (usually between 50-70%).
- Placing the eggs: Arrange the eggs in the incubator with the small end facing downwards, being careful not to disturb the air cells within the egg.
- Maintaining temperature and humidity: Regularly monitor the temperature and humidity levels and adjust as needed to ensure optimal conditions for hatching.
- Turning the eggs: Regularly turn the eggs (at least 3 times a day) to prevent the yolk from sticking to the shell and to encourage even hatching.
- Humidity levels: Increase the humidity levels in the incubator in the final days of incubation to ensure the eggshells are soft enough for the chick to hatch.
- Candling the eggs: Candling is the process of shining a bright light through the egg to check on the progress of the embryo. This can be done several times during incubation to monitor the health of the embryo and to identify any eggs that are not developing properly.
- Hatching: Once the chicks have pipped (made a small hole in the shell), they should be left to hatch on their own. Do not assist in the hatching process unless it is absolutely necessary.
- After hatching: Once the chicks have hatched, they should be removed from the incubator and placed in a brooder to provide warmth, food, and water.