Start with a clean incubator, plug in and let sit for about 24 hours (in a forced air incubator the temperature should be 99-99.5 F. In a still air incubator the temperature should be 101-102 F) and follow the instruction that came with it on filling the tray with water.
I like to use a hygrometer in my to make sure the humidity is right. For day one through eighteen, you want the humidity between forty-five and fifty percent.
Select clean, large eggs that are not malformed. DO NOT WASH THE EGGS. You can stockpile eggs in a room temperature place for several days (after the first 10 days eggs hatchability drops). If you had eggs shipped eggs to you they should be allowed to rest for 24 hours before putting them into the incubator (place shipped eggs upright, with the fat end of the egg up, in an egg carton to allow the contents to settle)
Get a colored pencil and mark an “X” on one side of each egg and an “O” on the other. This will help you keep track of which eggs have been turned later.
Put the eggs in the incubator and close the lid. Mark a calendar for twenty-one days. Twice a day flip/roll the eggs back and forth between “X” and “O”. On day 18 stop flipping eggs and increase humidity to sixty-five percent. Do not open the incubator again unless absolutely necessary. Resist the urge to help them from there shells, I know it’s super hard but you must. Even if you help them the chances are they will not survive. This is a fight they must have on their own.
After 24 hours the chicks should be dried out and fluffy and you can remove chicks to a brooder. If chicks do not hatch on day twenty-one give them a few more days. Don’t freak out if all the eggs do not hatch. I usually wait twenty-four hours after the last chick is free and removed from the incubator before I turn it off and remove the eggs just to make sure there are no more stragglers. Check out our post HERE on raising chicks.
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