Incubation and Embryology - University of Illinois

Incubation-Embryology Check List

Pre-Hatch Check List--Equipment

When you receive your incubator:

Wash it thoroughly with a damp cloth using a diluted bleach solution; then let dry.
Set it up away from drafts, direct sunlight, and traffic path.
Regulate the temperature between 99 degrees - 103 degrees F for two to seven days before you begin incubation of fertile eggs. Maintain room temperature between 70 degrees and 75 degrees F.

Make sure you have a reliable and accurate thermometer.

Be sure the thermometer is placed at egg level.

Fill water rings in bottom of incubator with distilled water and keep full.

Incubation Check List

Wash your hands thoroughly before setting eggs in the incubator. Wash your hands after setting eggs in the incubator.
Be sure the incubator water channels are full of water. Refill with water that is at room temperature.
Mark an "x" on one side and an "o" on the other side of each egg with a pencil.
Best day of week to set your fertile eggs is on a Tuesday or Wednesday.
Regulate temperature between 99 degrees F. and 103 degrees F., most preferably at 100.5 degrees F., if using a still air incubator.
Turn your fertile eggs three times a day beginning on day two until the 18th day of incubation.
Wash your hands thourougly before and after handling the eggs. Keep records on turning the eggs.
Candle eggs on day 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18 and after 21. Do not candle after day 18 until you are sure that hatching is complete.

At the End of Day 18

Place a thin layer of cheese cloth over the wire rack, then place the eggs on the cheese cloth.
Add wet sponges to bottom channels to increase moisture, and if your incubator has vent plugs, remove them as appropriate.
When chicks hatch, lower incubator temperature to 95 degrees F. Do not remove chicks from incubator until they are dry and fluffy.

When Hatching Begins -- Day 21

Set up a brooder box.
Get out feeder and waterer.
Place wood shavings or other suitable litter in the bottom of the brooder box.
Regulate the temperature around 95 degrees F.
Provide water and feed for chicks after they are placed in the brooder box. Place marbles or rocks in the waterer to keep chicks from drowning.
Return hatched chicks to the Extension Office or take them to the farm at the agreed upon time.

After Hatch

Clean your incubator with a diluted bleach solution.
Allow to dry.
Wash and dry feeder and waterer.
Put incubator and other equipment away for next year.
Return evaluation.

This information was adapted from materials prepared by Gary S. Davis, North Carolina State University, and K. W. Koelkebeck, University of Illinois by Sandra L. Lignell.

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