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Day 1: The Journey Begins

Incubation

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The age of the embryo when the egg is laid varies. Hens tend to lay eggs during the middle of the day; if the egg is not complete until later in the day, it will probably not be laid until the next day. The rate of development of the embryo once the egg is laid also varies. If the eggs are cooled after laying, development of the embryo ceases until the temperature rises again. Development can resume even after the eggs have been cooled for several days. The temperature of eggs incubated by their mothers is 106 degrees Fahrenheit (the average body temperature of a hen). The temperature of course will vary when the hen leaves the eggs to eat, etc. All of this affects the rate at which the embryo develops and, therefore, how long it takes for the chick to hatch. Artificially incubated eggs are kept at a constant temperature of 99 to 100 degrees F. At this temperature the eggs will hatch in 21 days.


Egg Anatomy
Text and graphic by Janet Sinn-Hanlon

- Page 12 of 12 -

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