Our hatchery at MacFarlane Pheasants is where we incubate eggs and hatch our pheasant chicks. The most important part of incubating eggs is to provide heat, humidity, and ventilation. If you can provide those basic needs and follow some basic steps, 25 days later you will have some beautiful peeping chicks.
- Pheasant eggs are incubated at 99 degrees and 51% relative humidity for the first 20 days.
- We check the temperature using a mercury thermometer. (Even if the incubator has a digital reading it is important to verify the temperature.)
- The incubator must be up to temperature BEFORE we put eggs in it. We also make sure there is good airflow.
- Eggs are turned 3 times per day to make sure the chicks do not stick to the inside of the shell. It really is a labor of love.
- On day 10 we candle the eggs to determine if they are viable and growing. We use a piece of foam and a handheld mag light.
- At 21 days the temperature is reduced to 97.8 degrees. This is not absolutely necessary, but since chicks are expending lots of energy to get out of their shells it helps them not to get too dehydrated. The eggs are not turned at this stage.
- After another 4 or 5 days and the chicks are out of their shells, dry, and ready to go to the barn.
- A special fee is provided to begin the process of raising healthy, newborn chicks.
- Providing constant water sources is critical to raising healthy chicks.
- Keeping these tiny bodies warm helps them to keep them stress free!
Following this process and being especially attentive to temperature, humidity and airflow lead to successful hatches year round! If you wanted to try hatching chicks, an egg incubator can be purchased at a farm store for $100-$500. The miracle of life is exciting whether it is on a large or small scale!
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