Guide to Incubating & Hatching Chicken Eggs

From Egg to Chicken in 21 Days

Whether you are a parent introducing your children to the wonders of life, or a schoolteacher showing your students where chickens come from, incubating chicken eggs is a wonderful educational experience. With our fertile eggs and incubators, you can easily showcase the start of life in your home or classroom.

Follow these steps to provide the best results for hatching chick eggs:


  • Fertile chick eggs are shipped direct from the hatchery to ensure optimum viability

Prior to Incubation

  • Fertile eggs may be stored at 60 degrees F. Storing fertile eggs longer than one week usually results in a lower percentage of fertility.
  • Fertile eggs should not be washed; the shell is porous and may permit the passage of contaminants.
  • Handle eggs slowly and gently. Sharp movements may damage the egg internally even if the shell remains intact.


  • The incubator should be positioned in a spot where the temperature is constant. Sunlight, radiators, and drafts near windows should be avoided.
  • Proper incubation temperature should be accurately established by a 12 – 24 hour trial run before the eggs are placed in the incubator. Temperature readings should be taken at egg level.


  • Bring eggs to room temperature before placing in the warm incubator.
  • Eggs should be positioned on their sides with the smaller end pointed slightly downward. Do not crowd the eggs.
  • Do not attempt to adjust the temperature during the first 6 – 8 hours of incubation. Best results are obtained if the incubator is not opened for the first day.
  • Eggs must be turned during incubation to prevent adhesion of the membrane. A small pencil mark on each egg is helpful to keep track of the egg rotation. On the 2nd day, eggs should be turned once. On the 3rd through 18th days, the eggs should be turned twice. Extreme care must be exercised when turning the eggs. Sharp movements may rupture blood vessels in the developing embryo.
  • Best results are obtained if the incubator is not opened after the eggs are turned on the 18th day until the hatch is complete on the 21st
  • Eggs may be candled to determine ontogenic age on the third or fourth day.
  • If the eggs must be removed from the incubator at any time, be sure to hold the eggs in the same position as they were resting in the incubator. This procedure will keep the blastoderm at the top and the heavier yolk underneath.

These instructions are intended to serve as basic guidelines. Please follow your incubator’s instructions carefully to achieve the optimum results.

If you have any questions about hatching fertile eggs, call our staff at (215) 536-3155.