Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hatch day!

Hatch Day!
It is very important to keep your humidity high on hatch day, otherwise they can get stuck in their shell.  On day 20, 21 or 22 your eggs will get small holes in them. (21 days is the norm)  This is called pipping.  They have used up the air in the air cell and broke a hole in the shell to breathe.  They will sit like this for 12-30 hours.  Then they will start to chip away at the shell in a circle.  They actually rotate around in a circle (like a sit and spin) until the cap comes off and they fall out of the shell.  They will be tired after this hard work and will collapse for a few minutes.  After 5 minutes or so they will start to wobble around and try to learn to walk.  They will look very funny at first, but they learn quickly.  They will knock other eggs around and sometimes peck at other pip holes.  Many times they will peep very loudly for the first couple of hours.  This is all normal chick behavior. They will stumble around.  Don't worry about food or water, they have just ingested the yolk sac and will not need to eat for 24-48 hours.  Just keep the incubator warm and if not all the eggs hatch (they hatch at different rates depending on your temps)  keep the humidity up too.  Once they all hatch, you can stop with the humidity. Leave the chicks in the bator until at least 24 hours after hatching to completely dry.
Dud eggs-If you have an egg or two with no holes, you can take them out and float them.  I fill a medium bowl with warm water and gently put the egg in the water.  MAKE SURE THERE ARE NO HOLES OR YOU WILL DROWN IT!  If it wobbles around like a weeble wobble, then you have a live chick in there.  If after the water settles down, it just floats still, it is most likely dead.  I just toss these in the garbage.

Now you can move your completely dry chicks to their brooder set-up.  If some are still wet, leave them in the bator longer.

Congratulations!  You are a chick mama!

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