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?