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Tuesday 10am - 4pm
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Thursday 10am - 4pm
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OPENING HOURS

Monday  10am - 4pm
Tuesday 10am - 4pm
WEDNESDAY CLOSED
Thursday 10am - 4pm
Friday    10am - 4pm
Saturday 10am - 4pm
Sunday 10am - 4pm








Tel: 01388 731131
Email: info@durhamhens.co.uk 
Tow Law, Co. Durham,
DL13 4BN  



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Vine House                 Tel:   01388 731131
Nr. Tow Law                Mob: 07763929686
Bishop Auckland        Email: info@durhamhens.co.uk
Co. Durham                 
DL13 4BN




Quality Hens and Poultry Supplies
Open Bank Holiday Weekend Sat, Sun, Mon 10 - 4
Vine House                 Tel:   01388 731131
Nr. Tow Law                Mob: 07763929686
Bishop Auckland        Email: info@durhamhens.co.uk
Co. Durham                 
DL13 4BN




Poultry & Eggs
Services
Help & Advice
Poultry & Eggs
Services
Help & Advice
Chicks Fertile Eggs

Hens for Sale - Good Egg Layers & Pets



Hatching Guide



GENERAL TIPS FOR HATCHING EGGS


Eggs will only be fertile if a cockerel has mated with the hens. Eggs may still be fertile if they are laid up to 2 weeks after a cockerel is separated from the hens.

Fertile eggs can be stored in a cool place (ideally 10-16 degrees centigrade) for up to two weeks before incubating, although the fresher they are the better the hatch rate will be.

They should be stored on a slant with the pointed end down and rotated regularly - at least once a day. The Egg Rotation Stand shown below is ideal; it is only available from Durham Hens.

Fertile chicken eggs take around 21 days to hatch. Some breeds take a little less and some a little longer. If the egg has not hatched after 25 days, it should be removed from the broody hen or incubator.

Eggs need constant heat during the full incubation period for the embryo to develop into a chick. This heat is provided either by a broody hen or incubator. The temperature should be 37.5 degrees centigrade.

The egg will not grow or change shape during incubation.

Sometimes you can see the egg rock or hear cheeping from the egg shortly before it hatches.

The chick will peck a hole through the eggshell (calling pipping) when it is ready to hatch. Do not move the egg or interfere with the egg or chick while the chick is hatching.

Increase hatch rate
Fertile chicken eggs take around 21 days to hatch. Some breeds take a little less and some a little longer. If the egg has not hatched after 25 days, it should be removed from the broody hen or incubator.

Eggs need constant heat during the full incubation period for the embryo to develop into a chick. This heat is provided either by a broody hen or incubator. The temperature should be 37.5 degrees centigrade.

The egg will not grow or change shape during incubation.

Sometimes you can see the egg rock or hear cheeping from the egg shortly before it hatches.

The chick will peck a hole through the eggshell (calling pipping) when it is ready to hatch. Do not move the egg or interfere with the egg or chick while the chick is hatching.

USING AN INCUBATOR


Before buying eggs, make sure the incubator is working. Plug it in and wait for it to heat up - usually about 30 minutes. Place a medical thermometer (the type used to take body temperature) where the eggs will be set. Leave for several minutes and then check the reading. It should be 37.5 degrees centigrade. If not, adjust the incubator settings until the temperature is correct.

If your eggs arrive in the post, leave them to settle for 12 to 24 hours with the pointed end down before putting them in the incubator. If you collect the eggs, they can be placed in the incubator as soon as it has reached the correct temperature.

The eggs should be set either on their sides or with the pointed end down. This is important because the air sac in the egg is at the wider end.

Follow the instructions for your incubator during the incubation period. Please note that eggs set in the upright position should be laid onto their sides before hatching, usually around day 18.

Increase humidity for the last 3 days.

Automatic incubators turn the eggs about once per hour. If you have a manual incubator, you need to turn the eggs as often as you can. The eggs will not develop correctly if they are not turned regularly.

Do not open the incubator except to add water. Both the temperature and humidity will fall every time it is opened and this can slow down the incubation period.

Chicks should not be removed from the incubator until they are dry and fluffy and they can be left in the incubator safely for up to 24 hours. They do not need food and water during the first 24 hours.








Incubating
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Verm-X
Hatching Eggs
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Copyright Durham Hens Limited
VAT Registration Number 995021312,  Company Number 07703899,
Directors of  Durham Hens Limited: A.J.Manchester, M.R.Manchester




USING A BROODY HEN


A hen should be broody before you attempt to put eggs under her to hatch. You can tell if a hen is broody as she will refuse to leave the nest box. She may be aggressive if you try to move her. She will collect eggs laid by other hens and she will usually go off lay.

The hen should be placed be in a separate coop away from other hens. Ensure she is still broody after moving her. If so, then you're ready to get fertile eggs.

Be realistic about the amount of eggs you set. Your hen must keep them all warm and turn them regularly. She will also care for and protect the chicks when they hatch. We have found hatching and rearing results are optimum with 6 to 8 eggs per hen.

If your eggs arrive in the post, leave them to settle for 12 to 24 hours, pointed end down, before you put them under your broody hen. If you collect the eggs, they can be placed underneath her straight away.

Ensure the hen is eating and drinking while incubating the eggs. Sometimes they are reluctant to leave the eggs. You may need to lift her off the nest. If she is aggressive, wear gloves to protect your hands.

Leave her alone while the eggs are hatching. The chicks will stay underneath her until they are dry. They do not need to eat or drink for 24 hours so do not disturb the new mum and her babies. It's important they have time to bond.
Broody Hen

WHAT IF THE EGGS DON'T HATCH?


Quality of the eggs:
The eggs may not be fertile.
The embryo may have failed to develop causing early death.
The chick may be abnormal, weak or diseased and die before hatching.
Some breeds carry lethal genes that can kill chicks before they hatch.

Durham Hens only sell eggs with a hatch rate of an 80% or higher. We constantly monitor this in our hatchery as we incubate all eggs that are not sold.

Post/Collection
:
We send out hundreds of eggs by post every week. Most of these hatch successfully and we have many repeat customers. Occasionally when eggs have been through the postal system, they fail to hatch for various reasons but other causes are more likely - see below.

Inexperienced broody hen:
Some hens instinctively go broody and want to hatch eggs. This does not mean that they will be good broody hens or good mums. Some are rough with the eggs when turning them and can accidentally break them. Ensure the nest area is soft and that eggs cannot roll out. Some leave the eggs for too long and they get chilled; this can prolong the incubation time by a day or two or kill the foetus if left too long. Some will actually push eggs out of the nest so they become chilled. Very rarely, a hen may even attack or kill the newly hatched chicks. If you see a hen acting violently, take the chicks away and place them under a heat lamp or electric hen immediately.

Faulty/inaccurate incubator:
Temperature: This is the most important factor in ensuring a good hatch. Incubators should be checked with a medical thermometer (the type used to take your body temperature) as these are the most accurate you can buy at a reasonable price. We have a calibrated thermometer for monitoring our incubators at Durham Hens.
Humidity: If the chicks have pipped but did not manage to get out of the shell, the humidity (the amount of water in the air) may be too low. If the air is too dry, the shell is harder for the chick to break through and the membrane inside the egg can stick to the chick, preventing it from moving and getting out.
Turning: If the eggs are not turned frequently enough, the chicks may be weak or dead in shell.


This is a very basic guide to hatching fertile eggs at home based on our experience at Durham Hens of incubating our eggs and dealing with customer enquiries. Hatching is a complex process and there are excellent books written on the subject if you would like to delve further.





Chicks:
For advice on rearing chicks, please see our REARING GUIDE.
If you have any concerns about your newly hatched chicks, please see our HEN HEALTH page.




This is a very basic guide to hatching fertile eggs at home based on our experience at Durham Hens of incubating our eggs and dealing with customer enquiries. Hatching is a complex process and there are excellent books written on the subject if you would like to delve further.
Copyright Durham Hens Limited
VAT Registration Number 995021312,  Company Number 07703899
Directors: A.J.Manchester, M.R.Manchester.