Incubator Temperature Guidelines for Hatching Eggs

Incubator Temperature Guidelines for Hatching Eggs

Hatching your own eggs can be an exciting and satisfying experience as you watch young chicks arrive after careful planning and preparation. However, in order to have the best chance at successfully hatching your chicken hatching eggs or duck hatching eggs, you may consider some tips such as proper incubator temperature guidelines, egg incubation duration, and quality of your hatching eggs. Chicken hatching eggs will usually hatch twenty-one (21) days after incubation, depending on the breed variety, while duck hatching eggs will take at least twenty-eight (28) days to hatch after incubation. 

Incubator Temperature, Humidity, and Ventilation
First, allow your hatching eggs to set to room temperature before placing them in your incubator. Next, slowly raise your incubator temperature to 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature change will need to occur slowly over the course of a few hours, as immediate change in temperature can cause humidity problems that will reduce hatch-ability. It will help if your incubator is setup in a well insulated area, so that short changes in temperature won't affect the viability of your hatching eggs. Even small fluctuations in temperature can decrease your chances for successfully hatching your eggs. Additionally, you will need to ensure adequate humidity within your egg incubator, roughly fifty (50) percent humidity for the first seventeen (17) days, and about seventy (70) percent humidity the last three (3) days before hatching.Humidity set too high during the first seventeen (17) days, and set too low during the last three (3) days is one of the most common causes of a poor hatch rate. Your hatching eggs will also need to be setup in an incubator that has adequate ventilation, as the embryos will need fresh air circulation at all times. Many incubators have a built in fan to maintain ventilation, and depending on your incubation settings your may opt to purchase an incubator with this feature. 

Turning Hatching Eggs
You will need to turn your hatching eggs two to five times daily for optimal hatch-ability, however, you will need to be delicate when turning them, as the embryos are developing blood vessels and are sensitive to movement. Do not turn your eggs the final three days of incubation as your embryos are getting ready to hatch. If you are planning to turn your hatching eggs by hand, it may be helpful to the top and bottom of each egg to keep track of them. Alternatively, your can purchase an egg turner to automatically turn your eggs for you, just make sure to turn off this feature the final three days before hatching. 
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Backyard Chicken Terms- What is a Broody Chicken?

Backyard Chicken Terms- What is a Broody Chicken?

Raising backyard chickens comes with responsibility for caring for your broody chickens, and learning about their natural behavior when in comes to your hen sitting on eggs all day long. Backyard chicken owners new to raising chickens may ask, what is a broody chicken? You may notice your hens laying in their nesting pen, refusing to leave. This article explains their occasional behavior changes when your hens simply wants to hatch her eggs. 

What does "Broody" mean?- The term "broody hen" refers to a chicken hen with instinctual behavior to hatch her eggs, so she will sit on her eggs all day long attempting to hatch them. Broody hens may seem agitated when you approach them, as their sole focus is to hatch their eggs, even if her eggs aren't fertile. This behavior becomes clear when hens squawk and ruffle their feathers when you approach their nest, attempt to peck at you when you are close to their eggs, and remove some of their feathers to heat their eggs quicker. Some hens will even lay on other egg shaped objects when broody, such as rocks or backyard decorations. This behavior change is caused by a variety of factors ranging from hormones, seasonality, and natural chicken instinct. 

Why do Hens get Broody?- Hens become broody when they are one and a half to three years of age, and their behavior change may return from one laying season to the next, typically in the springtime when your hens starts laying the bulk of her eggs for the year. It's only natural for your hens motherly instincts to take place during laying season. Additionally, genetic factors have a role to play in your hens broodiness- with some breeds being more broody that others. Some of the most broody chicken breeds include silkie chickens and cochin chickens. Of course, backyard chicken owners are fond of their broody hens, and want to stop their hens broodiness out of compassion. This is a good perspective to have, as broodiness is natural chicken behavior, and is not a problem for most backyard flocks. 

How to Stop a Chicken from Brooding?- If your hens broody behavior becomes a nuisance, here is some advice to change her attitude: 

Remove your hen from the nesting box and close the door to the nesting box- While your hen won't forget about her eggs and her desire to hatch them, simply creating some distance from her eggs may alleviate some of her broodiness. You can also create a separate nesting box for her to return to without the eggs, changing her environment to relax her broodiness. This strategy is especially effective towards the evening, as she will be more calm and less likely to relocate her eggs at night. 

If environmental change isn't enough to stop your hen's broody behavior, another strategy is placing a bag of frozen peas in her nesting box for her to lay on top, reducing her body temperature may stop her broodiness and desire to hatch her eggs. This environmental change may be just what the doctor ordered, letting her know that its time to calm down and relax. 

If environmental temperature change doesn't work, the last resort may be to isolate your hen in an isolated cage for a day, providing limited bedding. Of course, you will need to make sure she has plenty of food, water, and care that her isolation cage is placed in a safe environment with plenty of sunlight. This strategy is not recommended if you live in an area with natural predators, so please take care when isolating your broody hen. 

If none of these strategies work for you, you may have to let your hens broodiness run its course, this could last for a few days and up to one month. Eventually, with plenty of socialization your hen will return to normal behavior. 
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Best Summertime Chicken Breeds

Best Summertime Chicken Breeds

Summer is officially here! And on that note, we would like to provide our recommendations for chicken breeds that stay cooler in summertime temperatures, and maintain quality and consistent egg laying capabilities when the weather is hot. Also, we'd like to share some tips on keeping your chickens healthy in the summertime.

In general, chicken breeds that are smaller can stay cooler in summertime weather better than larger breeds. Chickens that have fewer or lighter weight feathers can handle the hot temperatures better because they can cool down faster than larger breeds with more feathers. Also, chicken breeds that originate from Countries with hot climates will generally maintain quality egg laying capabilities in the summertime.

Best Chicken Breeds for Summer

1) White Leghorn Chicken- The white leghorn stays cooler in the summer better than most other breeds due to its white color and small size. The white leghorn is a smaller chicken breed, weighing approximately 5 pounds (lbs), which makes it easier for this breed to stay cooler in the summertime. Additionally, the white leghorn chicken breed originates from Italy, making this breed accustomed the very hot Mediterranean summer temperatures. The white leghorn is also one of the best egg laying chicken breeds, laying large white eggs.

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How are Chicks and Ducklings Shipped?

How are Chicks and Ducklings Shipped?

Many customers want to know, how are baby chicks and ducklings shipped?

The answer: Chicks purchased from Californiahatchery.com will ship through the US postal system using either express or priority delivery, depending on the quantity of chicks in your order. All chicks will ship the day they hatch. Typically, your chicks will arrive within 2-3 days after they ship. We include instructions for the post office to call the customer as soon as their order arrives at their local post office. We advise our customers to contact their local post office and let them know they are expecting a delivery of live poultry, which will help to facilitate our safe arrival guarantee.

- Californiahatchery.com
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Favorite Chicken Breeds

Favorite Chicken Breeds

Some of our favorite chicken breeds the the barred rock chicken, easter egger chicken, and the buff orpington chicken. Each one of these chicken breeds offers a unique characteristic!

Barred Rock Chicken
The Barred Rock Chicken originated in Holland and lays large dark brown eggs about three (3) times per week. The barred rock chicken has a friendly and calm personality and a greyish "rock like" coloring  making them a popular backyard chicken breed in the United States. The barred rock chicken has a friendly personality and can be housed with any other breed of chicken. 



(Pictured Above: Barred Rock Chicken Breed)

Buff Orpington Chicken
The Buff Orpington Chicken originates from England and lays large brown colored eggs about three (3) times per week. The buff orpington is a favorite breed for many backyard chicken owners due to their appearance, as they have been bred as a show bird rather than for utility purposes. Their docile and friendly personalities make them easily adaptable to live with other chicken breeds!

Buff Orpington Chicken Breed


















(Pictured Above: Buff Orpington Chicken Breed)

(Click below to read more about our favorite chicken breeds and please feel free to comment on your favorite breeds!)
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Chickens for Eggs- Best Egg Laying Chickens

Chickens for Eggs- Best Egg Laying Chickens

The best egg laying chicken breeds will generally lay five (5) or more eggs per week, have a high tolerance for laying conditions, and provide high quality eggs. We would like to provide our customers with a list of our most popular egg laying chickens that produce high quality eggs. 

1) Delaware chicken- This breed will usually lay four (4) large brown eggs per week depending on conditions. The breed originates from the United States and will provide a calm and friendly demeanor as one of your backyard chickens.

2) Rhode Island Red Chicken- The Rhode Island Red chicken breed typically lays five (5)extra-large brown eggs per week. This is by far one of our most popular egg laying breeds. This breed is calm and easily handled as part of your backyard chicken flock.

3) White Leghorn chicken- This breed will lay about four (4) large white eggs per week of excellent quality. They are an active and energetic breed that will add some personality to your backyard flock! We highly recommend the white leghorn chicken as one of your primary white egg laying chicken breeds.
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Guidelines for Raising Baby Chicks

Guidelines for Raising Baby Chicks

Before you receive your day old chicks or ducklings from californiahatchery.com, there are a few things you should have ready:

1) A heating lamp and brooder area- The heating lamp temperature should change according as your chicks grow. Follow the heating lamp temperature guidelines below to provide optimal temperature for your chicks: 

Week 1: 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit 
Week 2: 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit 
Week 3: 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit 
Week 4: 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit 
Week 5,6,7: 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit 
Week 8: 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit 
Week 9: 65 degrees Fahrenheit 

The heating lamp should be placed 12-18 inches above the floor of the heating area. Some signs that your heat is too low- Your chicks will huddle together in the brooder. If the temperature is too high, your chicks may be dispersed throughout the heating area, and they may look tired. If the temperature is set correctly, your chicks will be evenly dispersed throughout the heating area, and they will look lively while making lots of peeping sounds!
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