Can You Hatch Chicken Eggs with a Heat Lamp?
Hatching eggs with a heat lamp is not an impossible venture, although humidity control can be a struggle sometimes. Typically, breeding and hatching are complicated tasks requiring proper equipment to succeed.
In most cases, backyard farmers use electric incubators to hatch new chicks. However, if you intend to hatch eggs without incubators, heat lamps can be the last resort.
Even with huge drawbacks associated with this method, proper temperature and humidity management is crucial for a successful process. Below is a quick guide on hatching new chicks with heat lamps.
Do Chicken Eggs Need Light to Hatch?
Lighting during hatching demonstrates huge benefits that increase overall hatchery performance. First, it enhances chick quality in broiler and layer chickens. Like other oviparous creatures, light stimulation is vital in accelerating embryo formation. This happens because light improves embryonic metabolism and reduces the incubation time limit.
The positive side is that farmers spend less money on incubation costs such as electricity bills. On the contrary, exposing your eggs to dark conditions is more likely to develop into malformed hatchings or an entire hatchling malfunction.
How to Hatch Chicken Eggs without Incubator?
Hatching chicken’s eggs without an incubator remains one of the quickest methods to expand a flock. In reality, it is the ideal alternative if you have an unreliable power connection or run low on funds to afford a commercial incubator.
However, it is not always easy to hatch devoid of incubators if you are clueless about doing it right. Keep reading as we guide you on helpful tips destined to give you new chicks effortlessly.
– Keep the Temperature Stable
Ideal temperature levels are crucial in embryo development. In rare cases where there are no broody hens in the yard; farmers can make DIY incubators with a light bulb, thermometer, hay, cooler box, and damp sponges. Simply, place your eggs on the hay and then add wet sponges.
Finally, hang a heat lamp on the eggs to warm the incubator box. If need be, place a functional thermometer with an alarm deep inside the hay to monitor temperature variations.
Without an automated incubator, keep fertile eggs constantly within 37.5 degrees Celsius or 99.5 F. Remember that it is easy for a homemade incubator to overheat. One quick remedy is lifting the light higher when it gets too hot and lowering it back to cool the incubator. Moreover, install a fan in the DIY incubator to allow air circulation.
Then use a thermostat to operate the heat source (on and off) as required. Do not forget to turn your eggs at least three or five times daily to allow even heat circulation. Keep in mind that eggs may develop variation issues when kept at ambient temperature.
The bottom line is to ensure that the internal temperature never drops extremely low for long durations. If the temperature becomes too hot, it might damage the egg and stop the embryo from growing. For this reason, avoid placing the incubator near windows or under direct sunlight because the heat increases room temperature tremendously.
– Maintain Right Humidity Levels
It would help to observe suitable humidity levels for eggs to hatch effectively in a homemade incubator. An entire incubation process lasts approximately 21 days. Within the first 18 days, expose the eggs to an average of 60% humidity.
Fast forward and three days to hatching day, increase the humidity to about 70 to 75%. Reduce humidity levels after the chicks break loose from their shells until the feathers become completely dry.
– Turn the Eggs Frequently
Turning eggs during incubation is essential in ensuring proper circulation of heat and humidity. Investing in an automatic egg turner simplifies the entire process and guarantees that everything runs perfectly. For farmers without an automatic turner, set the alarm every six hours to remind them of the egg turning mission.
From day 1-18, focus on turning the eggs three or five times daily. Afterward, stop turning the eggs and allow them to get into perfect hatching positions for the last three days.
How Long it Takes for Chicken Eggs to Hatch?
The entire hatching process lasts roughly 10 to 20 hours. During the actual hatching process, a lot of stuff happens as the chicks force themselves out of the shell. Initially, the chicks become excessively active and then take long resting breaks. You should not fret much on how long your egg hatches, especially if it happens within the mentioned time range.
Nonetheless, discard all eggs that fail to hatch after predicted incubation time passes. Never assist a chick to get out of its shell by all means. After all, chicks that fail to hatch usually die soon after.
What’s more, discard any severely deformed or weak chicks immediately after they come out. However, increase ventilation for healthy chicks for the next 24 hours to dry their feathers completely. In the future, avoid breeding malformed chickens since it is possible for the inferior traits to pass through generations.
Can Store Bought Chicken Eggs Be Hatched?
Most eggs sold in stores and supermarkets never hatch because they are often infertile. You need to order fertile eggs from farmers with roosters or specialist hatcheries. Strive to incubate these eggs within 7-10 days after getting laid. Before incubation, keep turning the eggs to prevent the egg yolks from sticking on the shell.
Why do You Need a Heating Lamp for Chickens?
A heat lamp provides warmth and comfort to your chickens. This is indispensable soon after hatching because new chicks do not have feathers to regulate body temperature. The ideal heat lamp temperature for young chicks below seven days is an average of 95 °F.
As they grow old, reduce temperatures to 90 degrees on week two and 85 °F on the next. Then keep reducing 5 degrees every week until the chicks grow enough feathers to venture outside.
Hatching with a DIY incubator is not one of the easiest tasks. The breaking point is that even the slightest mishap can make the entire process futile. All in all, if you are not ready for disappointments, invest in Silkies hen species because of the favorable reputation of going broody pretty often.
The encouraging aspect is that the birds are excellent mothers who steadily help swell the flock with minimal hiccups.