Goodness, what a fun day it's been watching all our baby chicks hatch!
I woke up ungodly early this morning (2:30 am) due to lightning, and couldn't get back to sleep, so I decided to go downstairs and see how the chicks were doing.
One had hatched. (I held up a flashlight rather than used the flash on the camera.)
About two hours later, a second chick pushed out of its shell.
Soon the sound of cheeping was filling the house, greeting the family when they got up.
Meanwhile lots more eggs were cracking.
Using a tiny "egg tooth" (a whitish knob at the tip of a baby chick's beak), the chick makes one hole, then gradually enlarges it along a line in the shell.
Eventually the crack is large enough that the chick can push it open and flop, exhausted, outside for the first time. The baby is very damp, which is why they shouldn't be exposed to drafts at this stage. (That's why these photos were taken through the plastic cover of the incubator, which distorted the colors a bit.)
Can you see the hole in the shell to the right of this baby?
After a period of rest, the baby will start to lurch and flop around, trying to get on its feet, just like the way a baby calf lurches and flops around when it's learning to stand. The chick is also starting to dry off.
Another new arrival.
Resting up and drying off.
All day long we've been pressing our noses against the top of the incubator, watching. It never gets old.
Lots of drying chicks, lots of eggs in the process of hatching.
And lots of eggshells piling up.
So far we've moved four of the older chicks into the brooder box. I've made sure they've all had a drink of water, and they're comfortable enough to move a little away from the direct heat of the lamp, meaning the temperature is about right. (Cold chicks huddle directly under the light; hot chicks scatter farther away from the light.)
As of this posting (about 3:45 Sunday afternoon) we have eleven chicks hatched, and a bunch more who have poked holes in their shells. We're taking bets how many of the 42 eggs will hatch. I've put in my guess at about half (21). Who wants to place a bet?