Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Chicks ahoy!

After yesterday's unexpected start on the hatch, we've had chicks popping out all day long.

Chicks start with a small crack, which they enlarge over the large end of the egg over the course of several hours.

When at last they break out, they're damp and rather ugly (in a cute sort of way).

We leave them in the incubator for an hour or two to dry off and get on their feet. At first, newborn chicks will lurch and flop about, similar to the antics of a newborn calf, until they learn to walk. I know I'd lurch and stumble on wobbly legs too, if I'd been stuffed into an egg that small for three weeks.

Then we transfer them to a brooder box, which has soft wood shavings, a gooseneck lamp for heat, and food and water. We also drape a towel over it for the first couple days to cut drafts.

First two chicks, still a bit damp.

They sleep a lot the first few days, just like any baby.

As new chicks hatched and partially dried off, we'd add them to the brooder box. Can you tell which chick is still damp?

And they keep coming.

Here's an egg we photographed pretty much from start to finish.

Carrying a newborn to the brooder box. "It's a big wide world out there!"

For the first couple days, chicks show no interest in food or water because they're still absorbing the last of the yolk from their development.

Right now we're up to ten chicks, with others in the early stages of hatching in the incubator.

We started with 36 eggs. Who wants to lay a bet how many chicks hatch?


  1. I was way too optimistic last guess so I'll be a little more reserved this time - 25. How big are the chicks from your first batch now? If it's not too much trouble, would you be able to put up a photo of them please.

  2. Patrice, Their adorable, congrats!!!

    I going to talk a wild guess and say you'll have 34 chicks total.

  3. Oh, Patrice.....they're sooooo cute. Thanks for the pics, but I'm not sure I can ever eat eggs again! lol


  4. Phyllis (N/W Jersey)August 9, 2012 at 5:51 AM

    Awww- how adorable! I will never get tired of watching the miracle of birth. I bet at least 28 make it. (Hope you don't get too many roosters) Either way, it's not going to be quiet in the barnyard!

  5. My guess is 35 out of 36 eggs hatched.

  6. How sweet! I can just hear those little cheeps! Hmmm 22 hatching comes to mind. Thanks for sharing the fluffball process!

  7. How's the Mother Hen going with her eggs under her?

  8. How's the Mother Hen going with her eggs under her?

  9. I was way off last time....I'm guessing 17 this time.

    Oooh...I just wanna crawl through the computer screen and snuggle those little babies!

    Just Me

  10. They look great! I'll say 33.
    Have a great weekend! :o)

  11. The whole process is so amazing! I think you'll get 20.