Sunday, April 7, 2013


21 days ago 24 chicken eggs and 4 goose eggs were put into the incubator, today they are hatching.

It started Friday night when you could hear peeps coming from inside the eggs, which is kinda cool and also proves the eggs have been growing successfully. I candled them after 7 days, (the process of holding light up to the egg to see development inside) and we could tell they were growing then but nothing says "about to hatch" like hearing peeps.

Late Saturday night I noticed the first crack in the egg, and then another and then another. It was clear that at least 3 of the eggs were hatching. This, of course, takes hours and is a very slow process. The goose eggs will still need another week before they are ready to hatch. 2 days before the eggs hatch you have to make sure not to open the incubator at all. The humidity level rises and if you open it up, you lose the humidity causing the membrane inside to get hard, trapping the chick inside, killing it. So as hard as it is not to open up the incubator and take out the newly hatched chicks,  you have to remain patient until all the eggs have hatched.

It's also extremely important that you do not try to help the chicks break out of their shell. At this point they are still connected to the shell with blood vessels and you could injure them. The difficult struggle of breaking out of the shell actually helps to strengthen the chicks, they'll be too weak if you help them too much. So just sit back and let nature do its thing.

Late last night I could hear much more peeping and moving around from inside the incubator and I knew some of the chicks had come out of their shells. Early Sunday morning I woke to find that there were 5 little guys out of their eggs. They aren't fluffy when they first come out, it takes several hours for them to dry and with the humidity level being high it can take a while. They are also VERY tired and spend a lot of the time sleeping and trying to learn to stand and walk.

Newly hatched chicks can go over 24 hours without food or water which is good because you can't open the incubator at this point. Several other eggs appeared to be cracking but so far only 5 of these little guys have come completely out.

They are the chicks of Red Sex Links, which doesn't make a Red Sex Link chicken, stupid as that sounds. A sex link chicken is made by cross breeding a darker colored breed with a lighter colored breed so their offspring with be different colors, making the females all one color and the males all one color, even as chicks. This is a way to ensure you'll get the sex you want, as compared to other breeds of chickens that have chicks that all look exactly the same no matter the sex. However, when you breed two sex links together, you get babies that can look like anything really and their sex can not be known by their coloration. But they are still good chickens and will lay eggs just the same.

I'll do an update on these chicks a bit later.

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