Giving birth is a magnificent experience, and rearing chicks in an incubator allows you to witness this miracle firsthand. Following these four crucial steps will take you through the experience of incubating and caring newborn chicks, whether you’re a seasoned homesteader or a curious newbie.
Image Credit: TheHipChick
- Step 1:
Clean the Eggs – The Building Blocks of a Healthy Start
The gathering of eggs for incubation signals the start of your amazing journey. Whether you collect them from your own chicken coop or buy them somewhere, make sure the eggs are reasonably clean. To remove any debris, use a soft touch and a toothbrush or a damp paper towel. A clean surface facilitates a healthy incubation process.
- Step 2:
Mark the Eggs – Carefully Tracking Progress
Every egg represents a potential life, and careful marking guarantees that you can trace their progress. To distinguish one side of the egg, use a non-penetrating marking implement such as a pencil or crayon. This simple “X” serves as a pointer, reminding you which eggs have been rotated. Turning eggs helps to prevent embryos from adhering to the shell and promotes uniform growth.
- Step 3:
Set Up Your Incubator – The Perfect Environment
An incubator serves as your hatching chamber, providing the ideal atmosphere for the growth of your eggs. Connect it for 24 hours before adding the eggs to allow it to establish its temperature and humidity levels. Because different models have different capacity, follow the manufacturer’s directions for egg quantity. After preparing the incubator, gently insert the indicated eggs inside, setting the groundwork for the impending incubation trip.
- Step 4:
Incubate and Turn the Eggs – Bringing Life to Life
Your function as a surrogate mother begins with simulating the natural surroundings provided by a mother hen. Turning the eggs mimics the mother’s behaviour and aids in the prevention of embryo attachment. Manual rotation, done two to three times each day, also enables for monitoring and removal of eggs with flaws, such as cracks or anomalies. This nurturing procedure increases hatch rate while lowering hazards.
Candling Eggs: Bringing Development to Light
Candling eggs is an important step because it allows you to look into the eggs without upsetting their environment. Observe the growth of the eggs inside a dark room with a bright light source, such as a flashlight or a DIY candling box. This procedure validates viability and identifies any eggs that require removal around day 5 to 7, and again at day 10 for doubtful eggs.
Image Credit: PoultryKeeper
The Exciting Arrival of Baby Chicks
The moment of hatching approaches after you have diligently cared for your eggs. You’ll hear the faint chirping of chicks and see them break away from their shells. Your responsibilities, however, do not end here. Unlike mother hens, who would care for the chicks after they hatch, you take on the role of surrogate parent.
Making a Chick-Friendly Environment:
Give your newborn chicks a warm and comfortable habitat. A heat bulb hung above their shelter keeps their body temperature stable. A modest container, such as a tote, functions as a comfortable abode. Set up a waterer and a feeder with chick starting feed, which is specifically tailored for their needs.
Making the Transition to Adulthood:
Your chicks’ food requirements will fluctuate as they grow. Around 4 to 6 weeks, gradually introduce adult feed alongside their starting feed. A healthy development is ensured by a balanced diet that includes garbage and plants from your land. Your growing chicks will eventually be ready to join the ranks of your adult flock.
Accept the Rewarding Experience:
Incubating eggs is a rewarding and educational experience. It provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity to teach children about animal care while also encouraging a deeper connection with nature. You acquire control over the quality of the food you consume by growing your own chickens, knowing that it is rooted in the care you provide.
Remember that this process requires time and care, but the delight of seeing life unfold in front of your eyes makes every step worthwhile. You’re not just raising chicks on this voyage; you’re raising memories that will stay with you for years to come.