Is it your first hatching season? While hatching eggs might seem like a simple process that takes care of itself, there are a few quirks that you will want to keep in mind. One of the most important starting points is asking the question: what is the typical incubation period for a chicken egg?
So How Long Do Chickens Take to Hatch?
The short answer is: under normal conditions, and given proper care, chicken eggs will naturally take 21 days to hatch. While this is the average, this can sometimes vary slightly, with some taking just a little over or under 21 days. This can depend on a number of factors, including minor temperature changes if using incubation and the health and age of the laying hen.
Ways to Hatch Chicken Eggs
There are a variety of ways to hatch eggs and two of the more common options are:
The most common and natural way of hatching a chicken egg is called brooding. This simply involves letting the mother hen sit on the eggs in the nest until they hatch. Mother hens will naturally and instinctively care for her chicks after. If for any reason the hen doesn’t have the instinct to hatch, broody hens may be used. Through the brooding method, a hen can hatch around 10-12 eggs at a time.
If you don't have a broody hen, brooders can be used as a substitute. A brooder generates heat that's similar to the levels of a mother hen to simulate and encourage the natural hatching process.
If your mother hen is not feeling motherly or you don’t have a broody hen or a brooder, an incubator may be used. An incubator keeps the eggs warm until they are ready to hatch.
While there are a lot of ways you can improvise this method, using a proper incubator will increase your chances of hatching most if not all of the eggs. There are many types of incubator available, talk to an expert to find the best one for your needs.
Will All of The Eggs Hatch?
It is important to know that despite following the right methods and providing the right care, only fertilised eggs will hatch into chicks. There are also other factors to consider if you're trying to increase your hatch rate. Some of those include:
- Providing good nutrition for the parents
- Ensuring controlled and consistent temperatures if using an incubator
- Keeping the eggs and surrounding areas clean
Understanding the conditions that are needed will increase the chances of fertilised eggs being hatched into healthy chicks.