Sunday, May 19, 2013

More On Chicks and Hatching

I'm looking through a front window and a maze of two foot, indoor tomato plants where one of my cats is snoozing on the second tier of a table stand. I can hear my meat chicks loud and clear, from the back spare room as they chatter among themselves. Honestly, I don't know what they have so much to talk about but its just non-stop.

Since hatching our own chicks from eggs, which is considerably more involved - an incubator, water to create humidity, a light bulb burning day and night, a thermometer that measures humidity and temperature, marking each egg, constant monitoring of humidity and temp., daily turning of the eggs {twice a day}for about 18 days. Then for the last few days the humidity has to go up considerably while still turning them. After 21 days for chickens, your straining to hear a pip or two, informing you that you did everything right and a baby chick is alive inside the egg and is about to hatch. No an easy task for the poor little creatures. If your lucky, the chick can hack its way out on its own. If not, you may have to assist. We learned a lot.

Eggs, Marked Eggs, Chicks, Hatching Eggs
Eggs cannot be cold, at room temperature and marked before going into a pre-warmed bator.  

Eggs, Light, Incubator, Homemade  
Into the home-made incubator with water, light and monitor to be turned twice a day.
Homemade Incubator, Bought Incubator, Eggs, Chicks, Hatching
We bought a used, smaller incubator later on after we got more eggs to hatch. Notice Winston keeping watch on the chair.
Eggs, Hatch, Incubator, Marked Eggs
This is how many eggs fit into the smaller incubator. Marking them helps to tell which way you've already turned them.
And so, we had something like 68 eggs and out of that number 23 were successful hatching's. Even though the farm we got them from had roosters running with the hens, not all were fertile. Or, the eggs got too cold overnight before they were collected; worse still, they may have been put in the fridge... These were not because I had phoned ahead to see if they'd sell me a couple of eggs for hatching. Whether or not they were fertile was up to us to find out at the end of 21 days.

Eggs, Hatching, Chick
Its called a 'pip' when you can hear a live chick chirp inside its egg. 67 grams here, was the first successful hatching we had on March 23rd of this year.
Listening for a sign of life from eggs you've pampered, nurtured and cared for over a 21 day period is a very tense situation, but nothing compares to hearing an answering chirp to you whistles! You find yourself 'rooting' for them as they exhaust themselves trying to get out, then free of their shell prison. 
Hatching Egg
67 grams is hammering away at its egg and wanting OUT!

Hatch, Egg, Hatched, Chick, Incubator, Bator
Look Close and you'll see a newly hatching chick inside the bator.
The result is this:
Hatched Chick, In Hand,
A successfully hatched, live chick that is healthy and well-formed.
Now the 'real' work starts....



  1. That is quite the process. But Oh, what a cute little chickie!

  2. Isn't it though. it is very involved but the result is worth all the work.


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