You can tell if an egg is fertile or not by a process called candling, where a bright light is shone on the egg to view what is inside. The fertile egg appears incandescent and the mass in the egg will be dark.
Different Parts of an Egg
There is more to an egg than just the shell, yolk, and white. An egg consists of the following components.
- Inner-shell membrane
- Outer-shell membrane
- Air cell
Process of Hatching
If you want to learn how to hatch chicken eggs, then you have two options to see this marvel of life. The best way for hatching chicken eggs is using its natural incubator, the hen. You can place 8 to 10 eggs under the hen. To check whether she is going to 'set' the eggs or not, remove her from her nest a couple of times and see if she returns to it.
If you don't have a hen and don't wish to buy one either, then you can always opt for an incubator. Incubators are better if you are teaching children the natural growth phenomenon that occurs in an egg.
When choosing chicken eggs for hatching, keep in mind that the eggs should be medium-sized. They should not have any holes or cracks in them. It is better if you get fertilized eggs from a poultry farm. The next crucial point is selecting an incubator.
There are two types of incubators that can be used for hatching chicken eggs. A forced-air incubator is large in size and uses a fan as well. The other one is a still-air incubator that is smaller in size and does not have a fan. Once you decide on the incubator, check if the temperature and humidity in the machine remain consistent for the next 24 hours.
The temperature should be set at 100 °F in a forced air incubator. If using a still-air incubator, set the temperature at around 102 °F. Initially set the humidity level at 58 to 60%. Gradually increase it to 65%, once the eggs begin to hatch.
After three days of incubation, start turning the eggs approximately half a turn, six times a day. Keep in mind not to keep the small pointed end facing up. All the eggs hatch within 24 hours after 21 days of incubation. Do not pull the chickens out of the shells once you see them hatching. Let them come out on their own.
However, do not leave them unsupervised around toddlers as they can be hurt by the kids when playing. Teach the kids to handle them gently. Hatching chicken eggs is an easy task and gives you the enjoyment of seeing a life develop from a tiny egg.