Birds were created on the 5th day of creation
20 Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” 21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
About incubating eggs
An incubator is the best way to hatch out eggs unless you have a brooding hen. Info about broody hens can be found on this page (look for it under the date 9/24/11). You can use a heat bulb to incubate your eggs but it is very, very difficult to get the temperature and humidity just right. If you are not experienced with hatching eggs chances are that you will not hatch any chicks using a heat bulb. Even I have a very hard time hatching eggs with a heat bulb and I have experience. The very first time I hatched eggs with a heat bulb I had 1 egg hatch out of 12 eggs. I always recommend an incubator or brooding hen. Chicks should hatch out of their eggs at 21 days assuming your temperature has stayed accurate. If you put your eggs in the incubator in the morning most times they will hatch in the morning on the 21st day. The same thing goes for the evening, if you put the eggs in at night they will hatch at night. The best place to put an incubator to hatch your eggs is on a sturdy table or countertop. Make sure it is in a place that does not get too cold (inside walls in your house is best). Also you want to make sure it is in a safe place away from children and pets.
How chicken eggs should be incubated
The temperature should be 100 F. If the temperature drops or rises more than 2 degrees for a long period of time the eggs may not hatch, so make sure the temperature is monitored closely. I like to use a digital thermometer that shows the highs and lows.
Humidity should be between 85-87% and the last 3 days of incubation it should be 90%. The chicks inside the eggs need extra humidity on the last 3 days to help them move around in the egg so they can position themselves to hatch. If the humidity is to low the chick will not be able move as well because the inner shell membrane is too sticky and clingy.
Turning the Eggs
Turn the eggs 180 degrees at least 2 times a day (every 12 hours) but 3 times is better. Eggs should NOT be turned after the 18th day. I put an O on the egg so I know if I turned the egg 180 degrees.
I marked the eggs to help me know how far to turn them.
Are the eggs developing?
You should be able to tell at about 5 days if the eggs are developing. If you don’t have the special light to candle them you can use a small, but strong flash light. Hold the egg in both hands (see photo 1) and place your fingers all the way around the egg (see photo 2) and put the light under the egg as you cup the flash light (see photos 3). Turn the egg around and around slowly in your fingers so you can see into the entire egg. If the egg is developing you should see veins and a black dot (the black dot is the eyes). Compare it to a store bought egg in your refrigerator if you can not tell if the egg is developing.
Eggs Hatch at 21 Days
The eggs should hatch at 21 days depending on the temperature. If the temperature is hotter they will hatch early and if the temperature is too cold they will take longer to hatch. You don’t want them to hatch too early or late because the chicks may not be healthy, they might have birth defects, or they will die in the egg.
You will hear a small cheep the day before or a few hours before the egg hatches. It takes hours for an egg to hatch so be patient and let the chick hatch on its own. The chick will make a small chip in the shell when it starts to hatch and about 4-8 hours later you have a chick!
If the chick has made a small chip in the egg (see photo above) and has not made any progress within 12 hours you may need to help the chick get out.
The chick will be wet when it hatches out of the egg and this is 100% normal. The chick will not be able to walk at first and it will even have trouble lifting its head. In only a few hours the chick will learn to walk and become dry and fluffy. When the chick is able to raise its head and almost start to walk put him/her in the brooder. A brooder is a cage or tube/bucket set up with chick start (a special food for baby chicks), water, some kind of bedding, and of course some sort of heat.
The blue food dish is actually a small frisbee. Chick eating chick start in the brooder (Note how low the feeder dish is. This makes it easy for the chick to learn where the food is)