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How Long to Incubate Chicken Eggs | Incubation & Hatching (Helpful Tips)

Introduction: Incubating chicken eggs is a fascinating process that requires proper care and attention to ensure successful hatching. This guide provides valuable information on the incubation period, handling dirty eggs, determining fertility before incubation, hatching duration, and more. Let’s explore the query-oriented subheadings to help you become a successful chicken egg incubator.

1. Incubation Period: How Long Does It Take?

The incubation period for chicken eggs typically ranges from two to four weeks. To achieve successful hatching, it is crucial to maintain proper conditions in the incubator, including turning the eggs, regulating temperature and humidity, and ensuring proper ventilation. It is recommended to incubate eggs that are at least 6–10 days old since they have a better chance of hatching.

2. Can You Incubate Dirty Eggs?

Yes, you can incubate dirty eggs, but it’s essential to keep them separate from clean eggs to prevent contamination. Washing chicken eggs is not advisable, as it removes the eggshell’s natural defenses and allows bacteria to penetrate. Warm water can be used to clean the eggs if necessary, as it helps push bacteria away from the eggshell.

3. The Importance of Not Opening the Incubator During Hatching During the hatching process, it is crucial not to open the incubator until all the chicks have fully hatched and are ready to be transferred to a brooder. Opening the incubator can disrupt temperature and humidity levels, potentially leading to the death of some chicks inside the eggshells.

4. Determining Fertility Before Incubation: Candling Candling is a method to check for fertility before incubation. By using a bright light source, you can observe the development and growth of the embryo inside the egg. A small white spot about 4 mm wide on the egg yolk indicates fertility.

5. How Long Can Fertile Eggs Last Without Incubation? Fertile eggs can be stored for about a week without continuous incubation. After seven days, it is best to start the incubation process for a successful hatch. To store fertile eggs properly, maintain a clean nest, turn the eggs twice daily, and store them in a cool and dry environment.

6. Frequency of Checking Incubating Eggs During the first two weeks of incubation, it’s advisable to check the eggs every five days. However, during hatching, avoid opening the incubator until all the chicks have hatched to maintain optimal temperature and humidity.

7. Ideal Conditions for Storing Fertile Eggs Fertile eggs can be kept for 6–12 days before incubation. It’s crucial to maintain room temperature during storage, as extreme temperatures can impact the embryo’s development.

8. The Importance of Not Touching Eggs in the Incubator Avoid touching eggs in the incubator, as it can disrupt the hatchability by affecting temperature and humidity levels. Consistent and undisturbed conditions in the incubator allow the embryos to develop properly and reduce embryo mortality.

9. Ensuring Proper Egg Placement in the Incubator It is vital to avoid eggs touching each other in the incubator. Proper spacing between eggs ensures adequate ventilation and prevents poor hatching due to insufficient humidity and temperature control.


Successfully incubating and hatching chicken eggs requires careful attention to various factors, such as incubation period, handling dirty eggs, determining fertility, and maintaining ideal conditions. By following these helpful tips and best practices, you can increase your chances of a high hatch rate and enjoy the rewarding experience of raising chicks from eggs in your incubator.




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