Buy Chickens or Hatch your own.
There are many things that you will need to think of if you decide to hatch your own eggs. Plan ahead and decide whether you want to either collect your own eggs or buy some fertile eggs. Make sure that you only collect eggs from healthy chickens.
A successful hatching starts with the parent chickens well before even the first egg is collected. The rooster needs to be mature enough to have successful mating. You should only have around 5 to 6 hens with the rooster. Anymore than 5 to 6 hens you run the risk of non fertile eggs. Select your breeding hens and separate them from other poultry. Two months before you start collecting eggs you should start your hens on a higher protein feed. Also make sure that you give your breeding hens plenty of green, and if you have available a vitamin supplement. Your hens will also need to have some shell grit or similar product for calcium; this will give the shells strength. Nutritionally healthy hens produce good healthy eggs and chickens.
Check each egg to ensure they are healthy looking and a good size. Small and unhealthy looking eggs will produce small and unhealthy chickens. Check the shell texture for shape and roundness. Not too pointed or narrow at the end. You should also check for any hairline cracks.
Now that you know what to look for, you can start collecting the eggs that past the test. You must store them correctly. Eggs should not be collected any longer than 7 – 10 days prior to the start of incubation. I have tried to collect up to 2 weeks and they all hatched, but it is not always successful. Eggs must be collected quickly and not left in the nest for any period of time, as the longer that they are kept warm, the more chance that the incubation period will start.
Your eggs will start to dehydrate the longer they are left prior to incubation, as the egg shells are porous. Storage of your eggs prior to incubation should only be around 12 – 15 degrees celsuis. If the temperature drops below this, the embryo will die. The most important step which you will need to perform every day while you are collecting your eggs, is to make sure that you turn them. The eggs will need to be turned at the least twice a day. If you mark your eggs on one side with an ‘X’ and on the other with ‘O’ you will know if you have performed this process. I also date my eggs so that I can check on whether or not my storage of the eggs was correct and how many days they can be collected for. When the weather gets warmer the successful collection period will shorten.
Next Step is loading the incubator……