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Farmette 1769

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Tag Archives: hatching

Chance the 2nd has made it past the critical first stages of life. Having a deep bowl of chick crumbles proved successful by itself. He figured out how to eat on his own. That could not have timed out better since my freelance business got busier and I had no time or energy to focus on him more than any of the other chicks.

I actually need to stop saying “he” since “he” is a “she”. The following video clip has that mistake in it. She is a smart little girl and equally energetic. Not sugar n’ salt water booster needed here. All that she had to do was figure out how to eat and drink. Chance II passed this test with flying colors.

Our first post on Chance to was here:
Please forgive me for my lack of expertise in blogging. I am not sure that this is the BEST way to get to the original article, but I do know that it WILL get you there.

Chance does get a little help from her friends. Her room mates are always glad to pick out the leftovers from her crossed beak (saving tidbits for later?).

Now, onward and upward she goes!

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Especially on Bantam chickens (mini size), HUMIDITY is the key to hatching eggs. It has to be really high (70%+) or the chick will get trapped in its dry shell and die.

This is mainly a pictorial blog. I will make a few comments with the pics.

First Chick of the 2011 Hatching Season

After the humidity was raised, this chick hatched just fine. I took the shallow plastic tray that the incubator came with out, and added water straight to the bottom. I also had a foil tray and a few small steel cups filled half way with water. This did the trick, bringing the moisture level way up.

First and Second of the New Chicks

Number two came quickly after. If one hatches, the others hear it and seem to “wake up” quicker for their own hatching process.

Eight Chicks at 10 Days Old

They grow very quickly once they break out of their shells. Water and chick starter feed need to be available at all times. CLEAN, WARM and DRY conditions are also very important for new chicks.

2 week difference - same parents

I am guessing that the older one is about 3 times the size of the one that just hatched this morning. They are together for the pic only. Different ages must be separated so that they don’t pick and maim each other.

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I promised to record the best time to start egg candling. At least for me and my homemade candler, it is at 5 days of incubation.

Faint Spot of Life – Middle

It is still hard to tell what is going on in a lot of the eggs, but the ones that are not growing are fairly obvious at this point. Mistakes can happen, so I will keep the “bad” eggs in until the 10 day mark. This is about half way through the process, since with your average chicken egg, it takes 21 days to make a chick.

We received 9 more new hatching eggs in the mail. They sat overnight at room temperature in order to acclimate to the warmth and settle down from all the movement of transport. Not rushing to the incubator seems to be a key factor in a better hatch rate for mail order eggs.

Fertile eggs cannot survive a freeze. But, it is OK for eggs to sit cold-ish while fertile. A hen normally lays an egg a day in a designated spot until she gets a nice group. Then, she actually sits down on the group to heat them up – staying on the nest around the clock from this point on. Egg embryos are designed to patiently wait in a holding pattern until their mother says “GROW!”.

The first set of eggs will be chicks at the end of the week. I am in the process of making a “Hatcher”. It needs to be much like an incubator. To the best of my knowledge it does not need a fan and certainly does not need an egg turner. But, it does need temperature control and lots of humidity. I will have more on this later after it is finished. I doubt that it will be ready for this week’s hatch.

Once the eggs start peeping (YES, you can hear them from inside the egg as they ready for their transformation) and/or 3 days before their due date, they can be transferred from the incubator to the hatcher. The humidity needs to be increased, so that they can break out of their shells. Up until now, we have just left them in the incubator until they break free, but this makes a mess. The hatcher will, hopefully, be a good addition to our setup.

A few great links:

Incubating Your Eggs From The Easy Chicken for beginners

Hatching and Brooding Small Numbers of Chicks

How To Hatch Eggs – Baby Chicks – Back Yard Chickens

Later in the Incubation Cycle

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Egg hatching season has arrived! By the time our newly acquired eggs hatch, the weather will be softening up. So, I purchased a set of fancy half breed eggs on Ebay. The keeper has all purebreds, but the different types are all loose together. Since they consisted of fancies that we were planning on crossing anyway, this purchase seemed right.

You take a great risk getting eggs in the mail. I am not sure if it is true, but egg sellers claim that postal x-rays will kill the embryos. Temperature is the most likely culprit of getting unhatchable eggs delivered and, of course, breakage. Once the eggs are on their way, there is no control over what happens. I carefully weight the cost vs. risk factor. Hatching eggs are normally non-refundable.

Some egg sellers get defensive and focus on “operator error” as the most likely cause of a bad hatch. I don’t buy eggs from sellers that rant and rave about this particular issue in their description text. I am sure that they are doing everything right on their end, especially since most of the eggs that I have gotten are so well packed. But finger pointing at customers is immature. A seller can sometimes act like the “God of egg hatching” while buyers are merely “amateurs that screw everything up”. Most egg buyers are pretty responsible. It does take some practice, but when you get pretty good at incubating, a “no hatch” batch’s most likely culprit exists in the transit part of the process.

The new eggs are in the incubator. They have been in for several days, so I candled some to test for fertility/life. Things did not look promising. I checked a few sites about egg candling that confirmed my feeling that the eggs were probably bad. Up until now, I have kept questionable eggs in the incubator for the duration of a normal hatch, but was seriously considering tossing this batch early.

So, I took an egg out randomly to crack open into a container. Much to my surprise, although EXTREMELY small (now exposed in a white, kitchen, soup bowl), I could see the little heart of a chick embryo beating in the yolk. It just kept beating too. NOTE: A humane way to put a life like this to sleep is with ice, cold water.

I found a site that has a few “questionable” fertile egg pics. It gives a better range of visuals for reference. My eggs look a lot like the “undefined” examples on this site.

The lesson for the day is – give your eggs some time. When I get some more obvious visuals of healthy growth for these bantam, chicken eggs, I will record the timing and hopefully remember to post it to this blog site. I’ll try to get a good candling pic too.

Here are our eggs in the incubator;

Started growing 02-11-2011

The two with the “X” marks are from our Polish bantam rooster and Showgirl Silkie hen. They produced great chicks last year, but we lost the offspring that we kept to a predator raid on the coops. I am looking forward to raising all of the new chicks – in critter-proof cages.

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Beautiful Buff Orpington Pair for Sale

Buff Orpingtons are fairly common Standard-sized chickens. They weigh a hearty 8-10 lbs. All of our chickens are on strike now with the extreme heat (we took advantage of this opportunity to de-worm everybody), but the Buff hen normally produces medium-brown, faintly speckled, large eggs.

Buff Rooster - Head Shot

First up is the 1- year old, golden, Buff Orpington rooster. He is not aggressive. That is a good thing, since he is a very big.

Big Buff Rooster

He gets along great with everyone. There is another rooster in with him now. Although he makes it known that he is the boss, he does not beat up on the younger boy.

Second, but not least, is our lovely Buff Orpington hen. She is 2 years old.

Buff Hen Head Shot

This hen is not broody, so we hatched her chicks from an incubator this Spring. There were no surprises. They all had gold/buff-colored feathers with cream-colored beaks and legs.

Shy Hen

This hen was raised from a chick here and is also very calm. However, she is not very fond of getting her picture taken.

I hate to send these two off to another home, but we are expanding our Bantam flock. We’ll be keeping fewer of the Standard-sized chicken breeds now.

Today’s blog is available for extra information regarding the Sale Advertisement for this pair of Buff Orpington chickens. Questions can be directed through the blog or can be emailed directly to

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