Hatching update

Time for an eggsciting egg update! At the beginning of the month I put a batch of eggs in the incubator. They have been swaying gently back and forth for several weeks now.

Well we’re not quite ready to hatch yet, but on Day 18 the automatic turner comes out and the eggs stay put to allow the chick to orient properly for hatching ideally on Day 21.

As I transferred the eggs I could definitely feel a different heft to some of them. Some were light and probably never developed and some felt occupied. So I am pretty confident that at least some of the eggs were fertile from my young roosters. Hopefully that will translate into a good hatch this weekend!

BTW, the sponge is in the incubator to help add to the humidity. There are troughs on the bottom that hold water in them and then the soaked sponge helps. This is to prevent “sticky chick” when the chick can’t hatch properly because it is stuck to the shell. (Thanks to Sue for that tip!)

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15 Responses to Hatching update

  1. Mandy says:

    Thanks Julie for updating. My kiddos were wondering how the eggs were doing. We want our own chickens sooo bad. It’s going to be fun watching the goings on with yours. We’re excited to see who, “peeps,” out.!!
    πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    • julie helms says:

      Oh that’s so neat that your kids are watching along! I hope we don’t disappoint–this was a bit risky because of the age of the roosters, but hopefully at least a couple will appear. We should know something by Monday.

  2. Glory Lennon says:

    Oh, I do hope you get a nice hatching! What is the usual percentage of eggs that do hatch? And why do you not allow the chickens to do their own hatching? I’m just a proponent of nature always being better, but you may illuminate me. πŸ™‚

    • Julie Helms says:

      I do allow it and really love it when they do. The problem is with a lot of the purebred chickens, they have the broody bred out of them. My understanding is that Leghorns (the quintessential factory-farmed bird, best egg-layer ever) will never brood (set on their own nest). They are just too highly bred for egg production. Mine aren’t to that degree, but they are not being broody yet. I was so hopeful last winter when I found a hen sitting on a nest of frozen, cracked eggs for weeks–that’s broody! (If a bit useless at that time). But she has not gotten the urge again. If you get a broody hen, you can stick anybody’s eggs under her and she becomes a surrogate mom to all. So yes, it is better…but mine weren’t co-operating.

      • Glory Lennon says:

        I thought it was a natural instinct all chickens had. How odd! You certain the thermostat is correct and working properly? I’m assuming the eggs need to be at a certain temperature?

    • Julie Helms says:

      Usual percentage for me has been 30-50% in the incubator. Which is pretty bad. I think 50-70% is more normal and commercial hatcheries are probably at 90%. I don’t know why mine is so low.

  3. Dan Shaw says:

    I can’t find out anywhere is info on when to consider the rooster paste his prime and ready for the Oven? Is it when he loses interest and no longer performs? What if he thinks all the hens are ugly?

  4. I am learning stuff too. The chickens of my childhood did their own brooding. I remember a red light on the kitchen table and chickens hatching there once, but I am not sure how that tied in to all of it. We did things without gadgets, if they even had them then. This is fascinating.

    • Glory Lennon says:

      Oh, I’ll bet that was for warmth! I had one in my greenhouse…totally different kind of hatching. Well, seeds don’t hatch now do they? πŸ˜‰

      • Julie Helms says:

        Incubating temp is 98-102–ideal in the middle of that. Alex, I don’t know how you could have hatched under just a lamp–are you sure that wasn’t just for the babies after they hatched?…we do that too often with the red light. Glory, my problem could be humidity fluctuation. I don’t measure it and I know at the big hatcheries they keep a tight control on that.

      • Glory Lennon says:

        Ah, you need Tommy to come and leak test your “facility” and fix that problem! πŸ˜‰

  5. Lady Jayne says:

    I can’t wait to see the little peeps!
    (That’s what my 5 year old daughter calls chicks)


  6. Julie, you may not have gotten complete fertilzation with roosters being very young,either…that may be a consideration, I’ve heard of that angle, some of the eggs may not be fertilized.. If you keep your 6 month old roosters, you’ll probably get a better hatch when they’re about a year old.

    • Julie Helms says:

      This is the first time I have used young roosters, and I knew it could be an issue…but winter is coming so I had to do it now or WAIT till spring. So it’s an experiment!

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