Hatching eggs in an incubator can be a rewarding experience that gets your chicken flock off to a good start. However, hatching chicken eggs isn't always a straightforward process, and if you want to ensure that you get healthy, thriving chicks, there are some problems that you should be aware of.
Unfertilized chicken eggs won't hatch. There could be several causes including poor housing and feeding conditions, a lack of roosters or roosters that won't breed. If the hens have been artificially inseminated, it may have been done improperly. An embryo is not visible in an infertile egg. You can find out by candling, in which you hold a light to the egg.
According to the University of Minnesota, the temperature in the incubator should be set between 99 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit. If it is too high or too low it can result in no embryo development, dead embryos, chicks that hatch too early or crippled chicks. Temperatures that are too high for a short amount of time can result in result in chicks dying in their shells.
The moisture level inside the incubator should be between 50 to 55 percent relative humidity, rising up to 65 percent during the last three days of incubation, according to the University of Minnesota. Inappropriate humidity can result in the chick sticking to the interior of its shell, which results in suffocation. Inappropriate humidity can also result in chicks dying in the shells.
Eggs in incubators need to be turned three times a day. If the eggs are not turned, the embryos will die. A lack of vein growth throughout the embryo is a sign that the egg was not turned enough.