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Day 1

 HOME Page                INCUBATION         Hand-rearing Info
               A rough guide for the Beginner on how to incubate your Birds Eggs
                 It shows you how to Candle your Eggs to check they are Fertile
               How to monitor Eggs Turning & Humidity in an Incubator and check
                      correct weight loss to help ensure a successful Hatch

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Day 2

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octagon 40

R.Com 20 Pro

Temp. can be set and it turns the eggs every 
30 or 60 mins


Humidity is very high,
this allows the chick to rotate freely within the egg, whilst it breaks
out of the shell.


WEIGH Scales 
to weigh your Eggs to help you calculate and maintain your 
13 - 15% 
weight loss.


Brinsea Octogan 40 INCUBATOR
Automatic egg turning >humidity control, high/low temperature >power failure alarm, wet bulb (humidity) thermometer + digital thermometer.
>no internal moving parts.  2 lift out trays.

BUDDY HEART MONITOR   registers the faint heartbeat of the embryo without disturbing it. 
If used correctly, it can also let you know if the egg is viable or not.
Registers from Day 8+

Candled Egg photos
Type of Incubator
Precautions to take
storing eggs
Calibrate Humidity Meters
► Sample-Egg weight loss
Egg Weighing Scales (pic)
► Other things to consider
Day by Day Vein Growth
Egg Tooth (Pic)    
Egg info>laid-hatch
Repair Damaged Egg
Wet Bulb Charts
African Grey Eggs
Amazon Eggs
Brinsea Brooder
Brinsea Candling Lamp




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Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7

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Day 8 Day 9 Day 10 Day 11 Day 12

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Day 13 Day 14 Day 15 Day 16 Day 17

Grateful Thanks to the “Psittacine Research Project, Department of
Animal Science, University of California, Davis, CA 95616” for allowing
me to use these superb pics of  "candled" Amazon Eggs
click on the pictures to enlarge.  Press "Back" to return to this page

  • If you have cockatoos or similar Parrot-like birds that are known to either break their eggs or not feed their young,
    then it can be a more sensible idea to remove the eggs as they are laid and put in an artificial Incubator to hatch.

    Firstly you have to decide on the type of Incubator you wish (or can afford) to use:


    • You can buy the small, "still-air" models which are a good bit cheaper to buy than the "moving-air" models.

    • They can still do the job well but you have to be a little more aware of uneven Temperature dispersement, because the air isn't being circulated.

    • They can be hotter at the top than in the middle or the bottom - so you have to make sure that you have your Internal thermometer on the same level and near to your eggs, to register the correct temperature.

    • Most modern Incubators tilt or turn the eggs automatically, which is essential for the embryo to develop correctly.  

    • If your Incubator doesn't do this then you will have to do it by hand and this can be quite tying throughout the day.

    • Moving-Air Incubators, are where an inbuilt Fan circulates the warm air evenly around the eggs and are a much better option.

    • They also have the facility to rotate the eggs, at the correct rate, either on tilting grids or rollers.

    • Different breeds of birds' eggs develop better with different rotation of their eggs and at different rates. 

    • You need to be aware that what works for one breed may not work for another.

    • Psittacine  (parrot) eggs should be incubated in the horizontal position. 

    • Ratite eggs are usually incubated vertically, with the air cell (large end) up.

    • Some Incubators provide an automatic humidity facility, so the egg doesn't lose too much weight too quickly due to the heat in the Incubator.

    • Brinsea, Interhatch & Curfew are 3 well-known manufacturers of Incubators.

    Incubator+ 6 eggs.sml.jpg (39361 bytes)

    Inside a "Moving Air" Incubator showing both Wooden Rollers
    and tilting tray. They can both be used and interchanged in the same Incubator,
    if incubating different breeds of eggs, that require different turning conditions.

    << Click on picture to show bigger picture                                                                                                                               


    To ensure the egg develops correctly to point-of-hatch you need to: 


  • Wash your hands before handling the egg.

  • Wash the egg, when you first collect it out of the nest, in a solution of Avi-clens (water steriliser) 
    and warm water- not too hot but not cold either.

  • Handle carefully as eggs can be very fragile.

  • Incubate at the correct temperature - 37.5deg C - is average.

  • Check for your own particular breed.

  • Make sure your Incubator has been thoroughly cleaned and sterilised prior to use.

  • On the day you are to put the egg in - bring your Incubator up to temperature and let it stabilise at 37.5deg C  before you put your egg(s) in.

  • he egg has to be rotated, slowly the correct number of times throughout the day.

  • This helps to  ensure correct development of the embryo and to stop the yolk rising to the top of the egg and "sticking" there if the egg is not rotated correctly during the first half of incubation.

  • Ensure the humidity within the Incubator is neither too moist nor too dry.

    If you don't want to incubate the egg straight away after you have removed it from the nest - 
    perhaps you want to wait until a full clutch has been laid, so that they all hatch together:


    • Wash the egg first (as described above) before storing it to help prevent germs permeating thru the
      porous egg shell.

    • You must make sure you store the egg in a cool - but not too cold - place, so that there is no chance of the Embryo starting to develop, which it will do if conditions are too warm.

    • Lay the eggs horizontally (on their sides).

    • You must also make sure that the egg is rotated, SLOWLY half way round, at least twice per day, to help prevent the yolk rising to the top of the egg and "sticking" there. 

    • Some people put 2 little marks on the egg at each 1/2 way stage, so that you know that you have
      rotated 180degrees.

    • You can use a felt tip pen to gently mark the egg - just don't put any pressure on the shell.

    • You weigh your egg, use a set of digital scales that weighs in Grams + at least one or two points  after the decimal point.

      • i.e. rather than your scales showing your egg weighs 15g it's much better if it shows 15.3g or better
        still 15.36g.

      • As the egg is such a small thing you can monitor your egg's weight loss much more accurately.

    • Also, try and get a set of scales that re-sets to Zero.

      • By that, I mean if you put a container on the scales and press the "zero" button it re-sets to zero, while the container is still on the Scales. So the weight of the container doesn't show

        • - then you can put your egg in the container and get the weight of just your egg.

      • Much better than trying to balance your egg on a flat surface and have it roll around or worse still, roll off the scales

    ^ Top

    The Humidity you have your Incubator at is dictated by: 


    • How much weight your egg is losing 

    • The egg should lose 13 - 15% of it's start weight to it's "Internal Pip" date.

    • "Internal Pip" is where the chick puts it's beak through the internal membrane into the air space at the blunt end of the egg, which usually happens 2 - 2 1/2 days before the "External Pip" (this is when the chick Hatches).

    • To help ensure that the egg is losing the appropriate amount of weight at the appropriate rate:

    • - make a graph - with your start weight on Day one then put the weight less 15% on the day the Internal Pip would be due  -  approx.  2 days before hatch is due

    •  - then draw a line between two - this shows you your optimum rate of weight loss.

    • Put the Number of days to Int. Pip across the bottom of the Graph (i.e. 1 - 23 days)  and the weights down the left side of the graph.

    • Deduct 15% off your start weight and this is the amount of weight the egg should lose before Int. Pip.

    • Put your actual start weight on Day One and a "X" on the graph, every day you weigh your egg and see whether your Actual Line is above or below the Optimum Line, then alter the humidity levels accordingly.

    • You then can plot your Actual weight loss on the graph and if the egg isn't losing enough you need to lower your humidity.

    • If your egg is losing too much then you can raise the humidity levels accordingly.

    • Around 30% humidity worked for me but you need to work out what works best for you.

    • If your Incubator hasn't got auto-humidity options then you can get a separate hygrometer, which measures humidity in the atmosphere (or your incubator).

    • Digital ones are more accurate but the "dial" ones are good too.

    • The same applies to your Thermometer - if your Incubator hasn't got an integrated thermometer or temperature-sensing probe.


    • SAMPLE EGG was 15.1 grams 

    • 15%  = 2.26grams > weight at Int. Pip should be approx 12.84grams 

    • 14%  = 2.11 grams = Int. Pip weight = 12.99 grams

    • 13%  = 1.96 grams = Int. Pip weight =  13.14 grams

    **Don't get too paranoid about the weight, as they are really to give you a guide on optimum weight loss for a healthy hatch and to alert you if the weight loss was too much or too little. 

    You also need to consider

    How damp the area surrounding the Incubator is - i.e. are the surfaces washed or the floor washed regularly - all this can effect humidity levels.
    How damp the weather is.
    How warm the room or the weather is etc.

    Hi Babs,

    I came across a very good, simple and cheap way to calibrate humidity meters. You'd be surprised how inaccurate most of them
    are even when they've just been bought brand new and if they're not correct, what's the point in having them!

    Get a bottle cap full of table salt, put water drops onto the salt to make it damp / wet but not runny.
    Place the cap and your hygrometer in an air-tight sealed bag or tupperware tub (it has to be see through).
    Leave them sitting still for about 8 hours or so and simply check to see what it reads.
    It should read 75% if it's accurate, and if your meter is higher or lower and can't be adjusted just remember
    what to add or deduct the difference from there on.

    Carl (Denton Parrots, Carlisle)


Example of what happens while an Egg is Developing during Incubation
This sample Galah Egg was 15.1grams when laid.
The usual incubation period is 25 days (in an incubator - longer if parent-incubated)

  • After approx. 3 - 4 days of incubation  

    • - First signs of life can be seen -  if your egg is fertile.                                                                               Egg @ 5 days incubation

  • If you use a "Candler" (which usually has a "cold" light) 

    • or a bright torch - (which must never be held too near to the egg, as it's beam could be hot and could "cook" or damage the embryo) 

    • you should be able to see the beginnings of a blood ring in the yolk with a tiny dot which is the start of the embryo - if the egg is fertile.


  • The blood-ring with the dot in the middle of the Yolk, which is the start of the Embryo, is Very Obvious
    and is a deep orangey-red colour.  

  • A bit like the spots of blood you can sometimes get in a Hen's egg - it's that obvious!

  • It is usually starting to form around day 3 - when it can be seen if you have a good "Candling light." 

  • and is fairly obvious by day 4.

  • If you are still in doubt after 5 days becos you think there may be something "shadowy" that look like
    "something"  but u r not sure?? - then the chances are that the egg will most likely
    NOT be fertile!

  • It is always wiser not to handle the egg much, if at all, if you can manage not to.

  • If you do handle the egg always ensure your hands have either been washed or cleaned with Alchohol rub first.

  • You have to be very aware that once the Embryo starts to develop, it can be killed or deformed if you rotate
    the egg too quickly or make sudden movements with it, esp. during the first half of it's development.

  • So, it follows, when examining, that you rotate the egg very carefully and VERY SLOWLY.

  • 5th Day you can see the beginnings of Vein Growth around the yolk area. 14.8grams

  • 6th day one third of the egg is filled with  red blood  veins. 14.7 grams

  • 7th day approx. 1/2 egg  is filled with veins. 14.6grams

  • 8th day - a heart beat can just be detected! (approx 145 beats per minute) 14.55grams

    • The Heart beat can only be registered if you have a special "Buddy" heart monitor  
      - See above -  but it just gives you an idea on development in general.

  • 9th day 182 bpm   14.55grams 
    (Humidity had to be lowered a little becos. no weight loss from yesterday).

  • 10th Day with the egg on it's side the top half is darker and you can see a little dark-red worm-like embryo. 14.4grams  (weight loss back on course)!

  • 11th Day   210 +/- bpm  14.3grams

  • 13th Day   egg looks full of veins  210 +/- b.p.m. 14.2grams

  • 16th Day   278 +/- bpm Egg looks solid and full - you can see the chick moving if the light source is right. 14.1grams

  • 20th Day  245 bpm.  Developing well.  13.8grams

  • As soon as Internal Pip is imminent  (day 21 -22) (for a Galah)

    • You would have to work out the incubation period of the Breed of birds' egg you are incubating.

  • you must TURN OFF the "Turn" facility on your Incubator once internal pip is imminent! 

  • - (if this is the only egg in the Incubator).

  • If more eggs in the incubator that are due to hatch or int. pip at different times

    • Move the Egg due to int. pip to another incubator or a Brooder with very high humidity levels!

  • Then turn the heat down 1/2 a degree. 37.5 deg C - 37deg C

  • The HUMIDITY must be turned up to MAXIMUM (H60%+  is the minimum)

    •  - to aid both the Internal and External Pip to take place.

  • The chick will struggle to get thru the membrane and shell if the atmosphere is too hot and/or too dry.

  • If you have more than one egg, in the incubator together, due to hatch at different times, 

    • then the egg due to Internal Pip must be removed to another Incubator, Brooder or Hatcher

    • With the turn facility turned and egg racks removed.

    • which has been set at the lower temp. of 37deg.C 

    • with maximum humidity.

  • Put the egg carefully into a margarine tub 

    • with a crinkled piece of slightly dampened (NOT soggy Wet!) kitchen paper in the bottom.

    • or piece of flat sponge that has been dampened, so it's going to provide moisture but is not soggy wet!

    • Just in case chick hatched and you missed it, I would always put a piece of Bounty (called "Plenty '09) on top of the wet sponges so that the chick wouldn't be lying directly on a soggy sponge.

    • Bounty has the added advantage of not disintegrating like ordinary paper kitchen towels.

    • - so it will be in a secure area when it hatches, if you are not there.

  • 21st - 23rd  Day Internal Pip starts. (depends on breed of birds' egg)

    • Can take 48+/- hours to hatch.

    • The day it Int. Pips can depend on the Heat that the egg has been incubated at.

    • If you have had the Incubator slightly higher than 37.5deg C throughout incubation

      • a) the Egg could hatch slightly sooner than expected

      • b) you could end up with deformities (esp. of the toes/foot areas) if heat has been very wrong. 

    • Also, the 3rd and 4th+ Eggs are laid with the Embryo slightly further on in their development, so that the full clutch (if left under the bird) will hatch out rather closer together than they were laid. 

    • So, I suppose it must follow that when you are Incubating in an Incubator, that those same eggs would
      hatch out earlier than expected.

    • It also depends on what time of day you put the egg into the Incubator as to the day it starts Int. Pip. 

    • If you put the egg in early morning on the first day, then it's more likely to start Int Pip earlier  i.e. on day 22.  

    • Whereas, if you put it in late at night on Day one, then it's more likely to start 
      Int. Pip on day 23.

  • You can actually see the tip of the chicks beak (the "egg tooth"- see pic >) starting to
    penetrate the internal membrane into the air space at the blunt end of the egg.
    (that's if the egg is white - darker coloured eggs are more difficult).

  • 23rd Day Internal Pip still - but you can hear lots of "chipping" and "cheeping" noises now as the chick uses
    it's "egg tooth" - the end of it's beak - to chip away at the inside of the air-space into the eggshell.

  • 24th Day The chick is still trying to break it's way through the shell - it chips around the inside of the egg on a
    level with the air pocket at the blunt end of the shell, so that when it breaks through it looks as if the shell has
    split in half with jagged edges.

  • 25th Day and the chick hatches  - there is often a green slimy bit left in the bottom half of the egg shell once it
    has hatched, with remnants of red vein impressions, which are still evident on the inside of the egg shell.

  • This denotes a healthy hatch.Chick.5.jpg (46088 bytes)

  • It is never a good idea to try and help the chick out of it's shell, as it needs to go through all these processes
    to hatch successfully 

    • - you can often do more harm than good , if you interfere!

    • - Unless, of course the chick is struggling to get out and has been for some length of time and you think it may be fighting a losing battle.

    • or there are other problems and you think the chick might die.

    • - Don't just go jumping in trying to help as hatching is quite a long drawn-out process.

  • This Galah Chick was 10.5grams at hatch-weight and the shell weighed 2 grams.

  • As long as you have an approx. 13 - 15% weight loss overall, all should be well.

  • It has to be said that most problems happen, if they are going to, during the first half of incubation - once you
    have passed the half-way mark there seems to be less things that seem to go wrong.

  • Once the chick is hatched it is best left alone to rest for at least 8 - 10  hours.

  • It does NOT require feeding until these 8 - 10  hours have passed, as it needs to absorb it's egg sac

    • - if you feed it too soon you can cause problems.

  • Your first feed should be just pro-biotic and warm water - let the chick take it at it's own speed
    never tip it into the chicks' beak as you can choke it and it can get the liquid into it's lungs and die!

  • NOW GO ONTO "Hatch>Wean" Photos page to get notes on HAND-REARING.


  • Damaged eggs can be easily repaired 


    • If cracked eggs are not repaired, the egg will lose too much moisture during incubation, resulting in dead-in-shell (DIS) embryos, or the egg may become infected. 

    • Repaired eggs require special monitoring during hatch, as the repaired areas may prevent the chick from hatching normally. 

    • Thin cracks can be repaired with water-soluble white glue (like the glue young children use in school).   

    • Several coats are usually required. 

    • Beak or toenail holes should be repaired. 

    • If the defect is too large to be corrected by glue alone, tissue paper may be used to cover the defect, using several coats. 

    • Repaired eggs should be hand-turned, to check they are o.k. and weighed frequently.



  • Clutch:  They lay between 2 and 5 (usually 3)  white eggs.

  • They are capable of laying multiple clutches in any one year - at any time of the year.

  • Egg Weight: Between 22 and 26 grams, 15% of which is lost during incubation.

  • Incubation period: 30 days


  • Clutch:  They lay  2 - 4 Eggs 

  • Egg Weight: 

  • Incubation Period: 28 days


The following table gives wet bulb temperatures which relate to percentage relative humidity.
(The figures assume a dry bulb incubation temperature of 37.5°C / 99.8°F.)

RH level (%)

WB Temp °F

WB Temp °C




















































If the incubation temperature is different to 37.5°C, compensate by adjusting the wet bulb thermometer accordingly.
For example: if using the incubator at 36°C with a wet bulb temperature of 26°C, calculate the RH level using the
27°C wet bulb temperature: =  46%.
Note that the wet bulb thermometer will read the same as the ordinary (dry bulb) thermometer either at 100% RH or
more probably when the wick dries out.



NEW! Brinsea is proud to announce yet another new product - the EcoGlow chick brooder The EcoGlow is ideal for keeping newly hatched poultry, game and waterfowl warm. The EcoGlow has three height settings for different sized chicks and its tough plastic construction makes it durable and easy to clean. The EcoGlow runs from a 12v power source for complete peace of mind and uses just 18 Watts of power to keep up to twenty chicks warm. Available March 2010.
NOW IN STOCK! The OvaView - a very effective low cost all purpose candling lamp ideal for indentifying infertile eggs and monitoring embryo growth. The OvaView is battery powered and uses high output, high efficiency LED illumination. For more information on the OvaView click here... Also new for 2010 is the innovative OvaScope, this works with the OvaView improving the clarity and visibility of the egg and its contents by completely blocking out the ambient light. The egg is slightly magnified and can be rotated for all round view.  It can be fitted with a webcam or camera and so is ideal if demonstration purposes. The OvaView and OvaScope are also available to purchase as an egg candling pack - click here for more details...
© 2009 Brinsea Products Ltd
Station Road, Sandford, North Somerset BS25 5RA Tel: 0845 226 0120


* How does an Egg become a Bird? *
A  fascinating journey :  Fertilisation of an Embryo > formation of the Egg > Hatching and all in between!

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 in good faith but the Webmaster cannot  be responsible for any
mis-information wheresoever or howsoever provided.  All opinions, suggestions and Advice are also given with all good intentions and in
good faith but if in doubt  should be verified as to their validity  prior to accepting./implementing.
 Any Medical Advice should never take the place of consulting with your own Avian Vet.