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How to Hatch Eggs into Chicks

How to Hatch Eggs into Chicks

How to Hatch Eggs into Chicks

If you are a newbie to raising chickens, we do not recommend starting your adventure with a fertile egg. Instead, we recommend ordering live chicks because it simplifies your project and gives you a higher likelihood of success.

That said, if you are experienced at raising chickens or simply want to see the entire live cycle of your flock, we offer a few basic tips on how to hatch fertile eggs into chicks.

The first point we should make is that in order to produce a chick, an egg must be fertilized while it is within a hen. That process most certainly requires a rooster, and even with an aggressive rooster in a flock, not all eggs will be fertilized.

If you have a backyard full of hens, but do not have a rooster, the only way for you to hatch chicks is to purchase already fertilized eggs from a local hatchery or from an online source. If you have at least one rooster, then you can skip the step of purchasing fertilized eggs and simply rely on the instincts of your flock.

It doesn't really matter if your fertilized eggs come from the mail or from your backyard, the process to hatch them is the same.

We recommend attempting to hatch several eggs at once. Perhaps you want to start with 6-12 fertile eggs knowing that not all will successfully hatch into chicks. It’s common for 15% or more of your fertilized eggs not to hatch, and of the 85% or less that do hatch, expect about 50% to be pullets and 50% to be cockerels.

One thing to keep in mind is that you can store fertilized eggs for up to a week prior to beginning the incubation period as long as you keep them in a cool dark place between 40 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This period of time allows you to collect multiple eggs for hatching so that you can start them all at once. It also helps explain why it is possible to order fertilized eggs through the mail. It is best to store them small side down.

Please do not wait to hatch eggs you ordered through the mail though, because you do not know how much time has already passed since they were laid. Once an egg sits for a week or two, the likelihood of successfully hatching a chick drops significantly.

If you plan to wait a week or so to incubate your eggs, one way to improve your chances of a successful hatch is to turn your eggs each day. This technique helps ensure the yolk does not attach itself to the shell.

You should also be selective about the eggs you hatch. Focus on eggs that are shaped normally and not too small or too large. Avoid eggs with hairline cracks as they are more prone to bacteria contamination. And, avoid dirty eggs because they bring unwanted germs into the mix.

There are two ways to incubate fertilized eggs so they successfully hatch into chicks:


Regardless of how you incubate your eggs, the timeline is the same:

  • Egg is hatched and within 7 days incubation begins
  • Day 1-7: Turn each egg at least 4 times per day, allow to cool for 15 minutes per day
  • Day 7: Candling the egg reveals successful fertilization, not fertilized eggs are removed
  • Day 8-18: Turn each egg at least 4 times per day, allow to cool for 15 minutes per day
  • Day 18: Increase humidity in preparation for the hatch
  • Day 19: Chick is formed, but still comfortably in her shell
  • Day 21: Chick begins to hatch
  • Day 22: Chicks get additional 12-24 hours in the incubator to fluff out
  • Day 23: Chicks graduate from your incubator into your brooder


We offer the following products that may be useful if you plan to hatch eggs into chicks:

Egg Candlers If you plan to hatch chicks, you will need a candler to peak inside your eggs and track progress.
  jiffy way egg candler This top-of-the-line egg candler offers best visibility into eggs.
Price: $29.95
  cool lite tester This candling light comes with 5' cord so you don't have to move eggs.
Price: $19.95
  egg light This bright white LED flashlight is an affordable way to illuminate eggs.
Price: $9.95
Incubators Unless you have a broody hen working for you, one of these incubators might be needed.
  circulated air incubator Our most popular incubator has great window and circulates air.
Price: $99.95
  Thermal Incubator Our affordable thermal unit is popular in schools.
Price: $49.95
  Cabinet Hatcher Incubator This professional unit incubates and hatches 270 eggs.
Price: $649.95


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