Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The hatch is starting!

The eggs we put in the incubator on July 19 technically weren't supposed to start hatching until this Thursday, but it seems the chicks had other ideas.

Yesterday afternoon Don heard a "peep." (The incubator was in his office.) We hastily put the incubator on the kitchen table and removed the eggs from the egg turner.

If a chick hatches in the egg turner (which, granted, turns very slowly) it might get injured. The chicks need to hatch on the screen.

Here's our batch of eggs.

Here's the little guy who's been peeping. It's very cute: when we hold the egg up to our ear, we can hear LOUD peeping and faint tapping.

Here's the rest of our pending chicks:

I'll document things as they progress...


  1. Isn't it just amazing! What we eat for breakfast becoming a living creature!

  2. Hooray! I know you just posted a hatchfest and I'm pretty sure I'm just as excited about this one as the last. Please do document it again. My 3 year old will be pleased to see the pictures again too. :o) I'm also looking forward to seeing how hatching goes with Smokey's (I think that was your broody hen's name) brood and how the process differs.

  3. Phyllis (N/W Jersey)August 7, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    This is the fun part! The hard part will come when you have to introduce them to the rest. I am having such a problem with my new hens. The older ones want nothing to do with them except peck, fight and peck. Even the rooster gets in the fighting act. They have been living side by side in separate runs for six weeks now. The older ones sleep in the coop and the new ones sleep in a hay lined dog carrier. They get along fine as long as there is the chain link fence between them. I guess I will just have to wait until the new ones are bigger - they are 14 weeks now and I bought them when they were 8 weeks old.
    Oh, the joys of chickens! (I love it, though)

  4. Hatching baby chicks, no matter the method used, is always fun. Here's hoping for a great hatch!

  5. I can see what the hatching chicks would have to be removed from the turning hatchery, but why are they put in a bin with screened flooring? I know nothing about this and don't understand the reason for this. Couldn't they just go into a safe cardboard box as they finish hatching? What is the screen supposed to do?

    Love watching this process. Thanks for sharing and keeping us informed.


    1. Chicks need high humidity during the hatching process or the thin membrane inside the shell becomes tough and the chicks can't get through it. Below the screen in this particular incubator are reservoirs of water to keep the humidity high.

      Additionally, our brooder box (heated with a gooseneck lamp) is at a lower temp than the incubator, about 85F compared to the incubator's 100F. When chicks hatch, they're very wet and shouldn't be allowed to get chilled. They need to stay in the incubator until they're at least partially dry.

      Three chicks out so far and another four eggs with holes!

      - Patrice

  6. Is that a homemade incubator? I built my cousin a couple incubators about 15 years ago, using the heavy styrofoam boxes transplant parts come in, with two 60 watt bulbs for heat, and a thermostat set for 102(the only part I had to order-I had a couple old 120 volt oil-heat thermostats, but they couldn't be modified to reliably hold the temp at 102). Your appears to have a motor to turn the eggs-my homemade one didn't(you turned them from the outside-they were just wooden dowel rods). It was cool to see chicks hatch in something I built from junk, mostly.

  7. This has nothing to do with the chicks hatching but I can't seem to find anywhere on the site to contact you to ask you to please post about what is happening to your garden. I check your site almost daily and have been wondering how it's doing. Please update us.
    Sweet Home Oregon
    One of your loyal members