How Long Does It Take to Hatch Chicken Eggs? A Comprehensive Guide

Hatching chicken eggs is an exciting process that allows you to witness the miracle of life firsthand. However, if you’re new to egg incubation, you might be wondering: how long does it take to hatch chicken eggs? In this article, we will explore the incubation period of chicken eggs and provide you with valuable information on the hatching process.

You may also want to read about the best incubator.

Understanding the Incubation Period

The incubation period refers to the duration required for an egg to develop and hatch into a chick. Several factors influence the length of this period.

how long does it take to hatch chicken eggs

How Long Does It Take to Hatch Chicken Eggs?

Factors Affecting Incubation Time

The incubation time for chicken eggs can vary based on factors such as breed, egg fertility, incubation temperature, and humidity levels. Different breeds have different natural incubation periods, while variations in fertility can affect the overall development of the embryo.

Typical Incubation Period for Chicken Eggs

On average, chicken eggs take approximately 21 days to hatch. However, it’s essential to note that this is a general estimate, and some breeds may have slightly shorter or longer incubation periods. It’s always best to refer to specific breed guidelines for accurate information.

The Incubation Process

To successfully hatch chicken eggs, certain steps need to be followed:

Collecting and Storing Fertile Eggs

Before incubation, ensure that you have collected fertile eggs from healthy and properly cared-for hens. Store the eggs in a cool and humid-free environment, with a temperature range of 50-68°F (10-20°C), for no longer than seven days. This ensures optimal hatchability.

Setting Up the Incubator

Prepare the incubator according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Maintain a stable temperature between 99-101°F (37-38°C) and humidity levels around 50-55% for the first 18 days. Adjust the settings as needed based on breed-specific guidelines.

How Long Does It Take to Hatch a Chicken Egg

How Long Does It Take to Hatch Chicken Eggs?

Monitoring Temperature and Humidity

Regularly monitor the temperature and humidity levels inside the incubator using a reliable thermometer and hygrometer. Minor fluctuations can affect the development of the embryos, so it’s crucial to maintain stable conditions.

Egg Rotation and Candling

Throughout the incubation period, eggs should be rotated several times a day to prevent the embryo from sticking to the shell. Additionally, candling—a process of shining a light through the egg—can be done around days 7 and 14 to check for signs of fertility and development.

Waiting for the Eggs to Hatch

During the last few days of incubation, the eggs will enter the final stages of development. It’s important to maintain stable conditions and resist the temptation to open the incubator frequently. The eggs need a quiet and stable environment to hatch successfully.

Signs of Hatching

As the hatch date approaches, you may notice some signs that indicate the chicks are ready to emerge. These signs include chirping sounds from inside the egg, rocking or tapping movements, and the pipping process—a small crack appearing on the eggshell made by the chick’s beak.


How Long Does It Take to Hatch Chicken Eggs? Hatching chicken eggs requires patience, proper care, and attention to detail. Understanding the incubation period and following the necessary steps will increase the likelihood of a successful hatch. Remember, each breed may have its specific requirements, so it’s always advisable to consult breed-specific guidelines for accurate information.


  1. Can I hatch chicken eggs without an incubator?
    • While it’s possible for chickens to hatch eggs naturally, using an incubator provides more controlled conditions for higher hatch rates.
  2. What should the humidity level be during incubation?
    • Maintaining humidity levels around 50-55% for the first 18 days is ideal. However, during the last three days, increase humidity to 65-75% to facilitate chick hatching.
  3. Can I open the incubator during the incubation period?
    • It’s best to avoid opening the incubator unnecessarily, as it can disrupt the stable environment required for proper egg development.
  4. What if the eggs don’t hatch on the expected hatch date?
    • Sometimes, eggs may take longer than the average incubation period to hatch. Give them a few extra days before considering them non-viable.
  5. What should I do if the chicks are struggling to hatch?
    • It’s crucial to resist the urge to intervene unless there is a medical emergency. The hatching process can be strenuous for chicks, and they need to go through it on their own.

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