A rhea is a large bird, similar to an ostrich or emu. Poultry farmers breed Rheas for their feathers, oil and meat. If you want start farming rheas, you should know how to hatch them in an incubator. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Do your research before you begin. Make sure you have the right equipment such as a digital thermometer, a humidity pan, a heating element, plastic egg racks and of course, an incubator which will range in price from £100 to £5,000. You'll also want to talk to a vet or a poultry farmer and have read about rhea farming.
Many growers routinely wash eggs with water and sanitizers. However, according to experts, it's best not to wash eggs. Instead, set only nest-clean eggs. If washing the eggs is necessary, use only warm water and approved hatching egg sanitizers.
Place eggs into a forced-air incubator as soon as you can to keep them safe.
Use a force-draft incubator to control the temperature of the incubator between 96 and 99.5 degrees F.
Control the humidity inside the incubator. For rheas, the humidity should be around 45 percent.
Set rhea eggs vertically in trays, not on the side as you do with ostrich eggs. Turn them at least 3 to 5 times a day.
Transfer the eggs to a hatchery about three to five days before hatching. Do not turn the eggs anymore, and lower the temperature by 1 degree in the hatchery. You also may find increasing the humidity by 5 percent helpful.