This morning we had 29 chicks hatched by 7:30. We collected them and placed them in the brooder, which we set up last night. By the time we had them in the brooder and set up with feed and water another 2 had already hatched in the incubator. We left the two new hatch-lings in the incubator until I get home from work today. My wife went home for lunch and there have been 5 more to hatch and all are just cheeping away in the incubator. I prefer newly hatched chicks to dry and get their balance before I remove them from the incubator. A chick can survive on the yolk it absorbed for 72 hrs so it's not going to starve to death in the incubator. In my opinion the more you open and close the incubator the more chance you take of hurting the chances of others hatching successfully.
This hatch has been strung out more than any others I have had and that is a concern to me. All of the chicks are healthy and strong as well as very uniformed in size. I did have some minor humidity problems during incubation, but I really don't think they were significant enough to cause the long hatch period. Most (probably 90%) of the eggs are from a new young batch of breeders. This is their fertility test and so far we have 36 out of 60 eggs. That is not going to cut it. I'm sure this will get better as they mature. These birds were 10 weeks and three days old when we collected these eggs. Who knows by the time I get home this afternoon maybe we will have more to hatch.
Just as a side bar I always want all the chicks to hatch within 24 hours of each other and will clean out the incubator tonight regardless of how many have hatched and set another clutch of eggs. The size difference between day old and hatch day chicks is unreal. The little ones get suffocated by the larger ones when they huddle up and at the very least get pushed around at the feeders and waters.
Hopefully we'll have all sixty to hatch by later this afternoon.
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