Incubating Eggs, part 4: The Hatch!

Hatch Day is officially over!

Everyone who is going to hatch is hatched.

We have 18 more baby chicks!

*Of the eggs we had left at day 18, only one didn’t hatch. It never broke the shell, so I candled it and there was no movement at all. It pipped into the air sack, but never made it to the shell.*

I noticed the first little pips in the shells Wednesday afternoon and by 11:45pm that night we had our first little chick.

We had 3 chicks when we woke up Thursday, and I frantically checked on them and hovered all day watching the rest hatch.

When we went to bed Thursday, we had 12 little fluffs nestled in their brooder and 7 eggs left in the incubator. I told Vince I would be utterly amazed if any of those 7 hatched. One had broken a dime size hole in the shell by lunch time, but hadn’t done any more in hours.

Well, we woke up to 4 more chicks in the incubator!

So there were only three eggs left: the non-pipped one, the dime hole one, and another that was hatching.

We had to go to town for a playdate, and I told Vince if the one with the hole was still alive when we got back, I might break down and “help” it a bit.

Sure enough it was still alive and the other one still hadn’t finished hatching.

The membrane around the hole was dried and hard, so I broke off a few small pieces of shell to see if it could do the rest. Sure enough it started to work at hatching once those pieces were loose. I had told myself I wouldn’t help them at all, I figured it was natures way of culling the weak, but this little chick was still fighting. It did the hard work itself and while weak seems to be okay. I am still a bit hesitant to make any future plans for that chick, but now it at least has a chance.

As soon as that chick was free and cheeping around the incubator, the other chick still hatching perked up and hatched. It was like it was waiting for a friend to encourage it.

I would have been happy if any of the chicks hatched, so I am overjoyed we have so many little fluffy chicks pecking around.

Now for the next batch! Since we will not be using the Minorca eggs and we sold the Rhode Island Red/Barred Rock hens, we had to by eggs to fill the incubator. Hopefully they will do as well as these and we can get a better hatch rate.

Below are our numbers from this first hatch:

Ameraucana: 11 placed in incubator, 10 fertile, 9 hatched = 82% hatch rate

Minorca: 19 placed in incubator, 1 fertile, 1 hatched = 5% hatch rate

RIR/Barred Rock: 11 placed in incubator, 10 fertile, 2 lost to cracks, so 8 viable, 8 hatched = 73% hatch rate

Thanks to the 18 Minorca eggs that weren’t fertile it looks like we have a terrible hatch rate:18/41 or about 44%.

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