Hatching Eggs

So are you thinking about hatching some eggs?

We are here to help, at Pages Poultry we specialise in breeding, rearing and hatching. This page is designed to help you with what to do with your eggs once you get them home.

Lets start at the beginning, our eggs are fertilised by a cockerel once he has mated with a our breeding hens. We the collect the eggs every day. We store the eggs in a cool place out of direct sunlight. Our eggs are either collected or posted out to customers as quickly as we can. Once you get them home, if you are not ready to either pop them under a broody hen or into your incubator. Store the eggs in a cool place & away from direct sunlight, it is best to store them on a tilt and to more them around at least once a day. The eggs are normally their most fertile within their 2 weeks from being laid, each day after that the fertility rate drops. If you have had your eggs through the post you will need to let them settle for 12-24 hours before incubating them.

Nature verses Incubators
There are 2 ways to incubate eggs, mother nature (under a broody hen) or with an incubator. There are pros and cons to both options and we have put together a simple guide for you. If you are having difficulties with either option please give us a call or pop in for a chat.

Hatching under a Broody Hen
During the Spring and Summer hens (most breeds) if they are feeling so inclined can go what’s called broody. This is when they will spend most of their day in the nesting box, sitting on all the eggs and can be aggressive if you try to move them. The broody hen will increase her body temperature and sometimes remove some of her breast feathers, this helps her to transfer heat to the egg to start the egg. In the absence of a cockerel a broody hen can be more of a hindrance than a help in the hen house, as she will super heat all the eggs and make them inedible. Before you add any fertile eggs to the broody hen, move them to a separate nesting box. If she is still showing broody attitudes then you can add your eggs. 6-8 eggs is a good amount to add under the hen. She should then over the next 3 weeks rotate the eggs and will only leave the eggs 1-2 times a day to eat, drink and relieve herself. If all goes to plan the eggs should start hatching after 21 days. It is best not to interfere once the hatching start as the chicks do not need to eat for the first 24-36 hours after hatching. Plus it gives them all a chance to bond, a broody hen will happily hatch any hens eggs they do not need to be related. It is important to get some ‘chick crump’ and a water drinker that the chicks can access (but won’t drown in). The mother hen should care for the chicks, keep them warm and make sure they eat and drink. She will also clean out the nest area of any egg shell or any eggs that she knows are not going to hatch.

Hatching in an Incubator
Incubators can be a big investment, so if you are only planning a one of hatch, (perhaps think about renting space in one of our large Brinsea incubators) if its something you are going to do each year, an incubator is a great investment. The most important thing with all incubators is the temperature. It seems silly when a hen just seems to sit on the egg, but its true. Its really important to read the instructions that come with your incubator and run it for a few weeks before you plan to use it so you can check the temperature to make sure it doesn’t vary. It is also important to think about where you are going to put it in the house. Away from direct sunlight (as this can effect the temp) and away from drafts and heat sources. If your incubator is auto turner, meaning it turns the eggs throughout the incubation period. To ensure that it is turning, if you places a X on the eggs you should see that it has moved throughout the day. If it isn’t auto turning, then you will have to move the eggs manually, again check your incubator instructions.

How long do I incubate the eggs for?

Species Incubation Period

Chicken 21 days
Bantams 18-20 days
Turkey 28 days
Duck 28 days
Muscovy Duck 35-37 days
Goose 28-34 days
Guinea Fowl 28 days
Pheasant 23-28 days
Peafowl 28-30 days
Bobwhite Quail 23-24 days
Coturnix Quail 17 days

If it doesn’t go to plan?
Inexperienced broody hens can sometimes abandon the nest or accidentally damage the eggs while turning them. Sometimes they can also attack the chicks and sadly kill them
Hatching too early or late in an incubator can normally be related to the temperature being too high or low or an issue with humidity too much moisture or not enough.

About our eggs & buying from us…..

We check the fertility of all our eggs regularly. If eggs are collected from us we will guarantee at least 50% fertility. However due to the postage system etc we cannot guarantee eggs that are posted out. We do package the eggs to the best of our abilities and most people have had good success if the eggs are stored and incubated correctly. If you do not have experience please do your homework before purchasing eggs. A broody hen is always the best way to hatch if you have one.

It may take a few days to collect your eggs as they are always collected as fresh as possible.

Should you have fertility problems please contact us and we can discuss sending the eggs back, eggs must be returned for replacements to be dispatched and the buyer must pay the postal costs to return them. If you do not agree to these terms please do not purchase our eggs. Full Ts & Cs for purchasing eggs can be found on the services page of our website

So pop over to our shop (tab at the top of the page) and pick your eggs!