Development of the Chick

Here is a step-by-step photo log of the development of my most recent hatch of chicks. These are White Orpingtons.

At day 21 in the incubator the egg has been "pipped": a small hole is pecked open. The chick is ready to come out.

The chick pecks a circle around the small end of the egg. That cap will then come off.

The chick struggles to emerge. His head is tucked down on the right top. His leg is outside the shell on the right bottom and a wing is outside the shell on the left. (I apologize for the blurriness)

I move them to the brooder to dry off and keep warm.

Dried, but not yet fluffed. Appears to be having a bad hair day!

Just a few hours later and this peep is fluffy. He is multi-colored now, but will be solid white when his feathers come in.

Five days old and feather development has begun.

At two weeks the feather development on the wing is impressive.

Development at three weeks. The wings are fully feathered, and thestomach and back are beginning to be feathered.

The face is changing from a "peep" to a chicken.

At 3 weeks the genders are differentiating. The hen is on the left and the rooster on the right with a redder, larger comb. (NOTE: this was not accurate--all became boys)

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8 Responses to Development of the Chick

  1. Dan says:

    All I can say is, wow, I can’t wait. How many days do they need to be under the heat lamp? I assume that once they can be removed from the heat lamp they can be dumped in with the rest of the adults?

  2. Trish says:

    Dan, they need a 95* temp the first week reduced by 5* each week until 70 and then they need to be feathered to be w/o heat. ** You need to very carefully add them into an established flock. Chickens are brutal and will kill new ones. I use a wire cage in the chicken coop for many weeks to protect the babies and acclimate the 2 groups together. I try to have them eating out of the same feed dish through the wire so they eat with each other. Then after a couple of weeks I open the cage door when I am able to watch for the first hour and listen for cries for help the rest of the day. I add a new roost for the babies, like an old chair frame or saw horse. Roosting in the pecking order can become brutal. A new roost the older birds usually ignore, if the coop is not too cramped. All of this is why having the hen (banties are great!) raise chicks work best. Mom protects them from the flock AND the heat source is automatic and constant. 🙂

    • Dan says:

      So I play nanny and they like me or I don’t and they won’t like me. What a choice. It’s sounds easier to have the mom raise them. Maybe it’s better not to be “friends” with them since they eventually might end up on my dinner plate. At least the is the excuse I’ll give Beth for letting the Mom raise them.

      • Julie Helms says:

        I agree with what Trish said. Heat lamp till 70 degrees, but I keep them in the brooder even after that. Integration with the rest of the flock is a real pain, and that fact alone keeps me from hatching peeps too many times. I’ve had some groups blend in with no fuss and others that required constant supervision. When a broody hen raises them there seems to be no issues.

        We just dispatched our foul behaving rooster (after confirming a baby roo in the new batch) so I am hoping that will make integration a bit easier.

  3. Lisa says:

    Don’t they just grow up so fast? 😉

  4. Glory Lennon says:

    Fascinating to see it happen in photos. Great job explaining each step, Julie.

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