How to Incubate Chicken Eggs

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how to incubate a chicken egg

How to incubate chicken eggs is a fascinating process that requires attention to detail and proper care to ensure the healthy development of the embryos. So here is a step-by-step instructional guide to help you successfully incubate chicken eggs that we follow over here at Homeschooling Homestead:

How to Incubate Chicken Eggs
how to incubate a chicken egg
how to incubate a chicken egg

Pre-Incubation Preparation:

  1. Selecting Eggs:
    • Choose fresh, fertile eggs from healthy chickens for incubation
      • and
    • Avoid storing eggs for more than 7 days before incubating, as viability decreases over time.
  2. Egg Storage:
    • Store eggs at a temperature between 50-60°F (10-15°C) with the pointed end down
      • and
    • Keep the humidity around 75-80% to prevent the eggs from drying out.
  3. Incubator Setup:
    • Clean and disinfect the incubator thoroughly to prevent the growth of bacteria.
    • Ensure that the temperature and humidity controls are functioning properly by purchasing a secondary thermometer to compare
  4. Tracking Eggs
    • I had been using pencil and paper to write down the dates I put eggs into the incubator, but it was too much work! So I created a spreadsheet to track when eggs go into the incubator, and the spreadsheet does the rest of telling me when to candle to see if the egg is viable can find the spreadsheet if you click on 4. Tracking Eggs
How to incubate a chicken egg

How to Incubate Chicken Egg Process:

  1. Setting Up the Incubator: We use a Little Giant Incubator
    • Place the incubator in a draft-free area away from direct sunlight and extreme temperature fluctuations.
    • Fill the water reservoirs to maintain humidity levels. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended water levels.
  2. Temperature and Humidity Control:
    • Set the temperature according to the specific requirements of the chicken breed you are incubating (typically between 99-101°F or 37-38°C).
    • Monitor the temperature regularly with a calibrated thermometer and adjust as needed.
    • Maintain humidity levels between 45-55% during the first 18 days of incubation and increase to 65-75% during the last 3 days.
    • we had to set our little giant incubator at 103°F for the bottom of the incubator to be at 99°F
  3. Egg Placement:
    • Use an egg turner if available, or manually turn the eggs at least three times a day to prevent the embryos from sticking to the shell membrane.
    • Placing an X on the shell with pencil helps identify which way they need to be turned next
  4. Candling:
    • Candle the eggs after 7-10 days(use my tracker to make it easier) of incubation to check for signs of fertility and embryo development.
    • Use a bright LED light or a specialized egg candler to illuminate the eggs in a darkened room. we started using our phones to candle the eggs, but the dark brown eggs were really hard to candle, so we bought a rechargable egg candler which has worked great for us
    • Discard any eggs that show signs of infertility or early embryo mortality.
  5. Final Days of Incubation:
    • Stop turning the eggs three days before the expected hatch date to allow the embryos to position themselves for hatching.
      • and
    • Increase humidity levels to facilitate the hatching process and prevent the eggshells from drying out.
      • and
    • During this period in our Little giant incubator, we separated the eggs that are at day 18.
      • and
    • We also place a tupperware lid underneath those at day 18
      • This helps keep the incubator cleaner


  1. Hatch Management:
    • Keep the incubator closed during the hatching process to maintain temperature and humidity levels.
      • and
    • Avoid opening the incubator frequently, as it can cause fluctuations in temperature and humidity, which may harm the hatching chicks.
  2. Assisting Hatching Chicks:
    • Only intervene if a chick has pipped (cracked the shell) but is struggling to hatch after 24 hours
      • So this part is really hard to not want to help them out of their shell, but if you do try and help them it increases their risk of bleeding because their veins are close the shell and can be ruptured if you crack the shell for them
      • Gently assist by carefully removing small pieces of the shell, being cautious not to disturb the membrane or the chick’s blood vessels.
  3. Post-Hatch Care:
    • Once the chicks have hatched, transfer them to a clean, warm brooder with a heat lamp.
      • and
    • Provide fresh water and chick starter feed to support their growth and development.
    • Monitor the chicks closely for any signs of illness or distress.
  4. Cleaning the Incubator:
    • After the hatch is complete and all chicks have been removed, clean the incubator thoroughly with a disinfectant to prevent the spread of bacteria and diseases.


So incubating chicken eggs is a rewarding experience that allows you to witness the miracle of life firsthand. By following these steps and maintaining optimal conditions throughout the incubation process, you can increase the chances of successful hatching and raise healthy chicks. Remember to always refer to the specific guidelines provided by the manufacturer of your incubator and feel free to reach out with questions! &

Below is an inspirational video that shows the process, you can do it!

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