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NC State Extension

Incubation & Hatching

Incubating and hatching your own eggs is an alternative to getting newly hatched chicks. These resources will help you prepare to incubate and hatch healthy chicks and poults.


NC State Extension resources

Keeping Garden Chickens in North Carolina

This article from N.C. Cooperative Extension covers all aspects of starting and managing a backyard or garden flock of chickens in North Carolina.

This resource can be viewed online or downloaded for free.

Embryology

Dr. Mary Fosnaught coordinates embryology programs for North Carolina. She has expertise in incubation and hatchery. This page includes further resources for incubation.


Other resources

Artificial Incubation

This article from Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service gives an overview of multiple aspects of incubating fertile eggs.

This resource is a direct download link (PDF); updates cannot be guaranteed.

Building an Incubator

This article from University of Illinois Extension includes step-by-step directions, with illustrations, for building three kinds of incubators.
This resource can be viewed online.

Constructing an Egg Candler

This article from University of Illinois Extension includes step-by-step directions, with illustrations, for building an egg candler. Options for using on-hand materials (for example, a coffee can) are included.
This resource can be viewed online.

Incubating Eggs
2902-1090

This article from Virginia Cooperative Extension includes general guidance on incubation and hatching, with special sections to address power outages and incubating other species of poultry than chicken.

This resource can be viewed online or downloaded for free.

Operating a Still Air Model Incubator

This article from University of Illinois Extension provides help operating a still air incubator.
This resource can be viewed online.

Small Flock Series: Incubation of Poultry

This article from Extension at the University of Missouri gives detailed information for incubation and hatching. It includes a table with day-by-day and hour-by-hour developmental milestones.

This resource can be viewed online or downloaded for free.

A Systematic Approach to Solving Hatchability and Chick Quality Problems
Publication #VM136

This article from University of Florida IFAS Extension explains how to understand problems with hatching chicks.

This resource can be viewed online or downloaded for free.


If you have questions about incubating and hatching chicks or poults, contact an Area Specialized Agent for poultry, Mary Fosnaught, your county livestock agent or Ask an Expert.