Raising chickens may not be a big deal. If you already have a good hand in poultry farming, well, it becomes much easier.
The major aspect of raising chickens begins with them being inside the eggs, or moreover when the chicks are just eggs!
In this article, I will try not to bore you on ‘how to naturally hatch chicken eggs?’ Instead, I would suggest a few important steps that can help you guide through the process.

It’s never easy to let the chicken eggs hatch naturally. However, the best part of the job relies on the hen or an incubator. However, our topic is more inclined towards hatching eggs naturally, using technology won’t be a point of discussion.
But still, you might be wondering, what could be more appropriate to use?
Both incubators and a broody hen can help your eggs hatch successfully.

Confused about what to choose – an incubator or a broody hen?

Maybe I can help you a little.

Using an Incubator to hatch eggs:

An incubator can be productive and efficient in hatching eggs the right way.
It helps in providing all the accurate, temperature, ventilation, and humidity required for the growth of the chicks.

Disadvantages:

  • As incubating through a machine is not a natural process at all, there are chances of lags.
  • On the other hand, you have to keep monitoring the temperature consistently.
  • Also, an incubator is expensive.
  • It is proven that the success rate of hatching eggs through a broody chicken is higher than using an incubator.

So why think more?
Go Nature’s way!

hen egg

Brooding process:

Brooding is considered to be the natural way of taking care of a chicken egg. It is a basic process where the hen sits or broods over a clutch of eggs as a part of incubation. This helps in providing the right warmth and temperature that is necessary for the egg to hatch.
Lack of proper breeding can affect the eggs drastically. Therefore, brooding or the incubation period is a crucial process in the poultry business.

There are ample ways of naturally hatching eggs that you can find by simply browsing on Google, but that might not be sufficient for you to execute. It requires a practical way of handling.
So, let’s understand some step by step process that you need to take care of while hatching chicken eggs.

Choosing the right eggs

This is the first step that decides the ultimate output of hatching. Yes, selecting the right eggs.
If you can choose egg by yourself (in case you breed them in your farm) make sure that they are from well-nurtured breeding hens. That means they should be able to generate highly fertile eggs in good numbers.
There are certain other aspects you need to take care of while choosing the eggs.

Like the size of the eggs- the size decides the productivity of the chicks in the future. Small eggs will end up hatching into smaller chicks.
Check properly that the eggs are in good condition without any cracks, Mostly, eggs can easily end up breaking due to their fragile nature.

If you do not breed your chicken, where to find the right fertile eggs
It’s not at all difficult to buy fertile eggs from outside. You can easily purchase them from hatcheries or poultry farms.
Before approaching ensure that they have quality egg supplies and the appropriate layer breeds.
As now farmers are finding an easier way to get eggs on their doorstep, the online medium has been a reliable way. There are severe cons to this part.

If you are new to this, you must know that eggs that are shipped might not give you good productivity. Buying eggs face to face requires less journey. There are chances of eggs breaking amidst shipped. It could even result in not hatching of eggs at all

The right breed

To breed your chickens, you need to find the right breed. Later, to make them broody is a little tricky. Mostly it’s done by placing fake eggs in the nesting area. It will take time for the hen to sit and brood on it. Once she is broody you can use real eggs.
Look for indications if you doubt if the hen is broody or not. In such cases, hens ruffle their weathers, make noises more than often, or gets irritated by anybody’s presence near the nest.

Well, this is a simple process. Now let’s get into the complications of it.
The best known broody chicken breeds are Silkies, Orpingtons, Brahmas, cochin chickens, Sussex, etc.

Silkies:

Silkies are known as the broody queen. They are attractive and smaller in size with a very docile nature. They act like a good mother for the chicks especially with her furry feathers, that resemble its brooding characteristic.

Orpington:

They are known for their excellent nurturing qualities. Most farmers never hesitate to choose Orpingtons as they easily go broody. They are mostly seen golden brown colors with fluffy feathers.
They are quite cold hardy and easygoing.

Brahmas:

Brahmas are one among the topmost broody breeds of Chicken. They have a very sweet and quiet nature. They are believed to handle confinements better than any other breeds.
Brahmas have feathered legs and shank, and are giants with a gentle attitude. they mostly come in colors like buff, white and black.

Cochins:

Just like its name, it is a cute breed of dual-purpose chicken. They come in a variety of feathers and colors mostly fluffy in texture. they are very docile and can be a good friend to kids.
They have proven to be caring when it comes to looking after the chickens.

Sussex:

Sussex is the one among the favorite breeds of broody hens for most farmers. They are really good layer chicken with frequently broody.
They are mainly relied on brooding eggs and taking care of the chicken once they are hatched.

Now, only having a proper hen that is broody will not serve your purpose. It completely depends on the nature of the brooding. In some instances, the hen may not necessarily be warming the eggs all the time. So amongst a clutch of eggs, only a few have the chance to hatch well.
Hence, do consider this aspect and take special care to ensure a complete brooding process.
Only particular breeds of hen will be able to adopt the chicks as their own once the eggs are hatched.

chicks

The Brooding process

Once the brooding process begins it goes on for 21 days.
To prepare a brooding area for a comfortable incubation period you can use a secluded place for the eggs. It will be more convenient for the hens to peacefully brood. Ensure ample room for the hen to wander around a bit. It won’t move around for a long time until it requires food and water.
Arrange for all the needs and requirements of the hen at the same place. It may especially include good quality food and ample water supply.

You can closely observe this process, but do not disturb the hen. She would be seen arranging the eggs with her beak ensuring that all areas receive equal warmth and temperature.
It is an interesting sight to see.
After a week or two, in the absence of the hen, you can try to light the eggs using a candle.

If you see a web-like structure in the membrane of the egg, Kudos! the eggs will be hatching soon. The batches are the developing embryos. If the embryos seem distorted there are fewer chances for the egg to hatch.
Repeat this process to ensure the conditions of the eggs.

Leave it to the mother

The curiosity and the urge to watch the chickens once hatched can be understood. But we don’t need to indulge if the mother is checking on the kids pretty well.
Let nature plays its part. Do not let anybody touch or ensure regarding the chicks as the hen knows it all.
Even if some of the eggs aren’t hatched, however, it is expected that all the eggs hatch at the same time, the hen will be able to take care of the babies and continue the incubation.

Don’t worry, it won’t take another 21 days. The hen will give ample hours brooding to let the remaining eggs hatch.
You must have seen pictures of chicks sticking close under their mother’s wings while the hen brood on the eggs.
As the growth rate of technology in the poultry sector has made the hatching process simpler through Incubators, there’s still a lot of value to the natural hatching process.

It may sound critical and complicated relatively, but what it offers is not only a beautiful and satisfying experience but also a highly productive output.

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About the Author

I have been raising farm animals for the past 15 years. I will be sharing my knowledge and what I have learned all these years.

Farm Animals Guide

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