Hatching Backyard Chickens from Eggs
Picture an elementary school classroom. On a desk at one end sits a small incubator with a few quiet eggs. Little faces peer with wonder through the glass. As the children watch with rapt attention, a little beak moves. The little chick works. She works and works, poking and pecking at the outside of her shell until finally she's out. Wobbly, she stands next to the broken egg shell as the children cheer.
You don't have to be a child to experience the childlike joy and wonder that comes from watching a chicken hatch from an egg. Anyone can hatch chickens from eggs in an incubator. You can set it up right in your living room. Once the chicks hatch and grow into adult chickens, you can add them to an existing backyard flock, or use them to start one. Hatching chickens from eggs is a fun and rewarding experience. Here's a list of things you will need if you want to get started:
There are a lot of choices for incubators so try not to get overwhelmed. You could buy one from a supplier, or, if you think this is a one-time project, rent one. Try calling agricultural schools, farms or schools in your area go see if they have one you can borrow or rent. If you don't have any luck finding a local place to borrow one from, try searching for incubator rentals online. You can find a place like this one that can rent you an incubator for a short period of time. If you decide to buy, a quick internet search will get you a ton of options. Some things to keep in mind when choosing your incubator:
All your set up efforts would seem kind of silly if you didn't get eggs, right? But where? Again, local agricultural schools and farms are a good resource here. If you go with a local farm, you may not have much of a choice over what kind of chickens you get. If this is important to you, you should probably turn to the internet. Many hatcheries will ship fertile eggs to you, and you can pick the breed of chicken. Pick a breed based on your needs. If you want power layers, go for something like the Rhode Island Red, or another one from this list. If you are working with limited space, bantams are a good option. They're mini chickens, but they can still give you delicious eggs.
Once you've got everything ready, you sit back and… wait. Your incubated eggs will take approximately 21 days to hatch. As they say, the waiting is the hardest part!