What is a good hatch rate

Chicken hatchingYou might assume (like I did)
that if you put ten eggs in your incubator, you’ll end up with ten
chicks, but there’s a lot that can go wrong before your chicks
hatch.  Assuming you do everything right, what kind of hatch rate
is a backyard hobbyist looking at?

Browsing through chicken
books from the early 1900s, I came across hatch rates from a time when
incubators were still in their infancy.  During this period, many
of the small and
mid-size chicken farms were still raised new chicks each year using
broody hens, which gave them hatch rates of 45% to 65%.  Larger
farms (and those raising the new, unbroody varieties) were moving over
to artificial incubation and netted 30% to 79% living chicks, with the
average hovering around 50%.

For information on
modern incubation technology, I turned to random accounts on the
internet.  (I know, not very scientific, but if you look at enough
of them….)  When hatching homegrown eggs that haven’t sat around
very long, it sounds like you might manage to get 75% to 80% (sometimes
hatching all of your eggs but sometimes having runs where you hatch far
fewer.)  For shipped eggs, 50% hatch seems to be about average.

I’ve had a steep
learning curve during my first two hatches.  My first hatch had
major problems with temperature and
and I also
used less viable eggs from old hens, so I ended up with only 17% living
chicks.  For my second hatch, I improved on the environmental
conditions but still used old eggs in half of the incubator, comparing
them to mail order eggs from prime breeding stock. 
hatch rates there were 25% and 58%,
respectively.  I had
hoped to improve my hatch rate yet again for my third incubator run by
using only squeaky clean eggs, but it sounds like since
eggs will be all mail ordered
, I should probably expect
around a 50% hatch.  I’ll let you know how it goes in the middle
of June.

sure to have a POOP-free chicken
on hand to get your chicks off to a healthy start.

Leave a Reply