The internet is chock full of
information about hatching chicken eggs...but it's all the same
information repeated over and over on different websites. Yes,
the basic humidity, days to hatch, and temperature information is
important, but what if you want to delve deeper into learning about
incubation? Am I really the only nervous chicken mother who wants
to know what percentage of chicks get out of the shell on day 21 during
an optimal hatch and when it's kosher to help chicks? That's when
you give up on websites and move to books.
Most of the modern books I've
browsed present the same information that can be found on the web, with
my favorite so far being the "hatchery and incubation" chapter in Day Range
by Andy Lee and Patricia Foreman. You can tell that the duo have
had quite a bit of hands-on experience, and they present more than
the basics, although still only enough to whet my appetite. Storey's
Guide to Raising Chickens
by Gail Damerow also has a long chapter on incubation, but the text
seems to be heavy on operation of the actual incubator and on chick
identification methods and light on the biological information I
crave. Despite the name, Success
With Baby Chicks
by Robert Plamondon starts when the box of chicks arrives from
the hatchery and doesn't consider incubation at all. Finally, The
by A.F. Anderson-Brown looks interesting, but I haven't been able to
get my hands on a copy yet.
Eventually, it occurred to me
that chickens have been hatching for a very long time, and I should
take a look at old books in the public domain. Two of the ones I
rustled up were worthless, but I stumbled across a real gem in the 105
year old Incubation:
Natural and Artificial, by J.H. Sutcliffe.
This out of print book is available as a free ebook, and you can
download the pdf version by clicking on this link. (Alternatively, visit
OpenLibrary to see other file
formats.) So far, I've only dipped into the hatching chapter
(which already answered half of my most pressing questions), but I plan
to read the book more carefully later, especially the introduction that
discusses how Egyptians have artificially incubated eggs for thousands
I'm still looking for
answers, though, and could use some more book recommendations.
Which books have you found eased your mind during incubation?
Our chicken waterer not only provides your flock
with clean water, it also comes with chicken-related ebooks and a video.
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