Incubation and Embryology - University of Illinois

Handling Eggs Before Setting in Incubator

There are a number of variables with eggs that may cause their loss. The eggs may not be fertile. They may have been kept at improper room temperature prior to incubation, turned, or sprinkled with water. They may not have passed proper weight inspection, or a non-calibrated thermometer may have been used in the incubator. Or other combination of reasons may cause your eggs not to hatch.

Before setting eggs:

  1. Test the incubator before picking up the fertile eggs.
  2. Assume the eggs are fertile when they were laid and the breeders have been fed a good breeder diet, the next consideration of importance in preserving the hatchability is keeping them cool and humid. Temperatures between 40 and 60 degrees F are desirable.
  3. Store in the open atmosphere. This is acceptable, provided there are not several days of intense summer heat. The fertility of the eggs are shortened by high temperature. A good rule of thumb is: The earlier the eggs are incubated, the better.
  4. Keep eggs at room temperature for at least twelve hours before setting them in your incubator.
  5. Keep chicken eggs dry.
  6. Final Check for a Successful Hatch
    Run your incubator without any eggs for 24 to 48 hours, regulating and checking the internal temperature and humidity.

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