Sooner or later we all get the bug - we desperately want to incubate and hatch our own chicken eggs. And I can promise you - you'll love it - it's a magical experience!
But you'll only love it if you're properly prepared for it.
If you're not, it will stress you out. And we don't want that. It's not good for you and it's not good for your chicks.
It's not difficult to be prepared. There are just a few steps you need to take and a few things you need to have before you start.
Nor is it difficult to incubate and hatch successfully. But again, particularly if you don't have much - or any - experience, you need to learn something about what you're doing.
That's where I come in.
Two of my newly-hatched chicks - a Booted Bantam and a Light Sussex. Cute or what?!
This page is the start of a whole step-by-step 'course' on how to incubate, hatch and brood successfully. I lead you through each part slowly and carefully, from the time when chicks are just a glint in daddy rooster's eye to the point where you have a flock of happy, healthy chickens giving you delicious eggs - and a lot of fun.
There are two ways of doing this.
You can follow the links on this and other pages and hatch along by yourself. You'll get the same information, but it can be overwhelming knowing where to start.
You can join in my hatching group. In that case, you'll get an e-mail at the right time to take you to each page in turn, in the order you need to do things. If that's what you'd prefer you just need to fill in this form.
It's entirely up to you - but remember ...
... I have done all the research, so that you don't have to! There is a huge amount of information out there - some of it misleading, some just downright dangerous.
To be sure of giving you the best possible advice I've read a large number of articles, books and research projects - I've listed them all here.
They can be hard to understand. They are often long, and almost always written in 'jargon'. If you want to wade through them all please - be my guest.
Or you could just join my hatching series and save yourself the bother.
If you're going to share your e-mail address you need to know what you're signing up for.
This is what's covered in each of the 28 total e-mails.
1. Before you start : Make sure you know the law in your area; how to tell if your family is ready; what hatching's really like - the real story.
2. What equipment will you need? : What to look for in an incubator; how to make a home made incubator; reviews of commercial incubators; candling and candlers.
3. It's all about the chickens : Deciding on the right breed of chicken for your family.
4. No - it's all about the eggs! : Where to buy; choosing and storing to achieve the best hatch.
5. Setting up the incubator : Including positioning, turning, cooling, temperature and humidity settings.
6 - 26. Day by day in the incubation process : What's going on inside the egg? Including : how the embryo is developing; how and when to candle (and when not to); exactly what to look for in candling; how to detect a non-developing egg. In order to be as clear and complete as possible these stages are covered in three ways : text, pictures and videos.
27. Hatch day : What happens; how long it takes; when to help - and when not to help; hatching problems.
28. Problem chicks : How to deal with common problems in newly-hatched chicks.
Please make sure, before you sign up, that what I'm covering is what you need - and if there's something that's not quite right please do contact me to let me know.
Before you even think about how to incubate you need to think carefully through the implications of having chicks, who grow into adult chickens - and quite often, roosters. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of it all, especially if you have kids who want to get started now!
So start right here - click on any of these pics to go to that page - or alternatively join in the hatching group by filling in this form, and have reminder e-mails sent, free of charge, to your inbox at the right time.
... that you've thought through the implications of hatching your own chicks, and you don't want to receive my e-mails, below are links to the other pages in the 'how to incubate and hatch' series.
Use these pages. They're not as detailed as my full hatching series, but they're a starting point.