Hatching chicken eggs – how to do it

This is what you need to consider first if you want to hatch chicken eggs strong!

Hatching chicken eggs chicken chicks in nest

Are you interested in how to hatch chicken eggs or have even planned to hatch chicken eggs yourself soon? Then you should pay attention to some points.

The first problem you will likely face when hatching chicken eggs is obtaining fertilized chicken eggs.

Especially if you live in a larger city, you will not be able to get fertilized eggs quite so easily.

The eggs, which are offered in supermarkets, are not fertilized and are therefore not suitable for hatching.

Fertilized chicken eggs can be purchased at farms or poultry clubs.

You should, if you have found an appropriate supplier and if it is somehow possible, go there personally so that you can pick up the fertilized chicken eggs.

Transport services are not so suitable for the transport of eggs, because very often there can be impact damage to this delicate “goods”.

You should take care to handle fertilized chicken eggs with extra care, as shocks can result in a reduced number of hatching chicks.

After transport, you should leave the fertilized chicken eggs at rest for 1-2 days for acclimatization

Here’s what you need to hatch chicken eggs:

You will need an extra digital thermometer if you want to be on the safe side when monitoring the temperature and your incubator does not have a fan that swirls the air in the incubator. Because without air turbulence, it is colder in the lower area than in the upper area of the machine.

A digital hygrometer if you want to measure relative humidity and your incubator does not have such a function.

Chick drawn

The incubation parameters when hatching chicken eggs

Incubation temperature

The optimal temperature to hatch chicken eggs is: 99.5 °F

If you use a motorized incubator to hatch chicken eggs, then you should set it to 99.5 °F.

In a surface breeder, temperature differences occur over time at the bottom and top of the egg, since most surface incubators do not have a recirculation function or a motor installed that swirls the air.

Here, it is recommended to set the temperature of the surface incubator to 100.4 °F and to remeasure the upper edge of the egg with a brood thermometer over time.

Is the temperature at the top of the egg in the surface hatcher between 99.5 °F and 100.4 °F? Then all is well!

Before you put the eggs into the incubator for the first time, you should fill up with water and the incubator should have reached the operating temperature. It is best to turn on the incubator one day before!

Humidity during incubation

The optimum humidity for hatching chicken eggs is 45-60 %.

And on hatching day about 70 %.

The right conditions for the storage of fertilized chicken eggs

After transporting the fertilized chicken eggs, you should let them rest on the egg tip for 24 hours, this will increase the hatching rate.

If it is also not possible to immediately incubate the chicken eggs, for example, because the incubator is broken, you need to create optimal conditions for storage!

How long can you store fertilized chicken eggs?

You can store fertilized chicken eggs for 14 days and longer without any problems and with the right circumstances.

However, take into account that after 14 days the hatching success may decrease drastically. Therefore, try to incubate the hatching eggs as soon as possible.

This is the best way to store hatching eggs from chickens:

This is the best way to store hatching eggs from chickens:

The temperature at the storage location should be between 50-61 °F.

Turn the stored hatching eggs at least once a day. If you store the eggs on their side, then turn them at least 2 times a day.

In an emergency, the vegetable compartment of your refrigerator will do.

The temperature must never fall below 39 degrees!

If the eggs are stored at room temperature, the embryos may begin to develop unintentionally!

Chick2 drawn

Instructions to hatch chicken eggs

The incubator: Set and position the incubator!

The incubator should be placed in a location that ensures a room temperature of 70-75 °F and is able to maintain this temperature as constantly as possible.

Excessive fluctuations in temperature can cause damage when hatching chicken eggs.

Please do not place the incubator near a window under any circumstances, direct sunlight can lead to the death of all embryos!

Before you start hatching chicken eggs with the incubator, make sure that it is fully functional.

When hatching chicken eggs, the temperature can be controlled via an extra thermometer.

Investing in a decent incubator pays off.

Modern incubators are easy to handle and virtually “self-running”.

Which is why, with a reasonable incubator, you partly set everything once and then only make control passes and therefore less work comes your way!

Some incubators have ventilation slots, which can be partially opened Manuel to ensure the exchange of fresh air.

And off we go!

Is everything correctly set and placed and have you left the fertilized hen’s eggs, if you have transported them, to rest for at least 24 hours?

Then you can now put the hatching eggs into the already switched on incubator.

Candle hatching eggs and check for fertilization

Shear lamp with fertilized egg
Candling lamp on Amazon.com

From the 7th day you can check the chicken eggs for fertilization.

To do this, you will need a candling lamp.

On the 7th day of hatching, a dark spot and possibly also small blood veins can normally already be seen in fertilized chicken eggs.

If you are unsure about some hatching eggs during candling, leave the presumably unfertilized chicken eggs still in the incubator and candle them again preferably after 2 more days.

Chick drawn chicken eggs hatching

Do not forget to turn!

Three to four days before hatching, chicken eggs should no longer be turned!

While the fertilized chicken eggs hatch, you need to turn the chicken eggs, you will be helped by markings on the shell, these can be easily applied with a pencil.

Turning works wonderfully if you simply apply numbers from 1 to 4 to each quarter of the eggs.

Because this way you can immediately see if an egg has been forgotten. All eggs should be with the same number facing up.

Or keep it simple with a circle and a cross on the other side.

Turning should be done at least 3 times a day (turning must be done from day 1 to day 17).

If you should wonder why the eggs need to be turned?

Turning prevents the embryo from sticking to the membrane of the inner shell.

If you turn the eggs by hand, then you should take into account the humidity in the connection, it is about 45-65 percent.

The incubation temperature can calmly fluctuate between 98.5 and 101 °F for a short time, and you also do not have to worry if a fixed value is not permanently maintained just because you open the incubator.

The main thing is not to let the hatching eggs cool too long or expose them to too high a temperature.

In any case, a thermometer should be permanently installed.

Sufficiently good ventilation during the incubation process is essential. This is because oxygen enters the egg through the shell during the entire development process.

However, you should not keep the incubator open too long if you turn the chicken eggs by hand.


During hatching, the oxygen supply can also be increased somewhat, i.e. the ventilation slots should be opened regularly. Nevertheless, you should prevent “drafts” at the pitch.

Chick3 drawn

Chicken egg incubation period

Hatching chicken eggs takes about 21 days, this may vary somewhat depending on the type of poultry.

After the 17th day, you should let the chicken eggs incubate in complete silence.

Unless you add water, then you can open the incubator if it is necessary for this purpose.

After the hatching of the chicken chicks

From the 19-20 day. Day the first chicks slowly begin to scratch the shell.

On this day, increase the humidity to at least 70 %, this will help the chicks hatch.

Leave the hatched chicks in the incubator until the fluff has dried.

The chicks can then be relocated to a rearing box.

brooder box
Chicks Brooder Box – Link to Amazon.com

Brooder for baby chicks

Would you like to build a rearing box for baby chicks yourself? You don’t need much for that!

You need a container with enough space for the chicks.

Depending on how many chicken chicks you expect after hatching, I recommend at least 1550 in² of space for a maximum of 22 baby chicks for the first 2 weeks.

For example, you can build something yourself out of wood, use a pet habitat cage or simply one or more large moving boxes.

You can line the bottom with kitchen paper or use pine shavings for chicken bedding, which are excellent for raising chicks.

If you decide to use kitchen paper, you can also lay out additional newspaper underneath to better absorb moisture.

If your chicks are already very active after a week and leave a lot of feces, then you can move them to newspaper and aspen bedding already after the first week.

A drinking trough for the baby chicks to drink. Or use a hanging poultry drinker

As a heat source, use a heating plate for chicks.

To the heating plate, the chickens then go on their own if necessary.

As feed for the chicken chicks you can use the Manna Pro starter feed for chicks.

It is best to put the food in a feeder.

When should you offer the chickens food and water for the first time?

After transferring the chicks from the incubator to the rearing box, provide water directly to the chicks in a drinker.

With the first feeding you should wait at least one night.

Before the chicks hatch, you will pull in the rest of the yolk sac, on which you will feed for a short time.

Chick funny drawn

The most important for hatching chicken eggs summarized

Hatching chicken eggs chicken chicks
  • Buy a solid incubator for hatching. A fully automatic incubator, simplifies the effort enormously.
  • Make sure the eggs are fertilized (e.g., buy at the farm).
  • Careful transport of the eggs! Avoid vibrations.
  • If not transferred to incubator immediately, turn eggs at least 1 time per day, store in a cool place. (Never below 39 degrees)
  • Standing place of the brooder should not allow large temperature fluctuations. Best 70-75 °F. Avoid exposure to sunlight!
  • Make sure that the incubator machine is in working order.
  • Place eggs in the incubator when the internal temperature is 98.6-100.4 °F. Do not forget to have inserted enough water for humidity before turning on the device.
  • Mark the eggs before hatching. Best with numbers or a circle and a cross. Turn the eggs at least 3 times a day until day 17.
  • Pay attention to the humidity in the incubator, it is best at 50-65%.
  • The incubation temperature may be subject to fluctuations, but it should ideally always be between 98,6-100,4 °F and never permanently below 97.7 °F and above 101,3 °F.
  • After the chicks have hatched in peace, you should relocate them, if possible, after the fluff has dried. A brood box, which provides a temperature of 96,8-100,4 °F with the help of a heat source, would be optimal!

Cleaning incubator

To clean the incubator, you can use a cloth moistened with warm water.

Afterwards, you should also disinfect the device once. This cleaning agent from PureGreen24 is suitable for this purpose.

Allow the incubator to flash off for some time until everything has dried.

Use hatching plan for chicken eggs

A hatching plan can help keep track of things during the hatching process.

Chick hatches

In addition to all the factors mentioned above, your own experience is also essential when hatching chicken eggs – so the same applies here: Practice makes perfect.

Thus, I wish you success in hatching chicken eggs!