This morning, there were 12 fluffy chicks in the incubator. Since it was getting crowded with empty shells and chicks, we moved the fluffballs into the temporary brooder (half a large cardboard box lined with paper towels) and put out food and water. We add a splash of kombucha tea vinegar to their first week of water so they get probiotics, too.
3 eggs remained in the incubator: 2 are pipped but one had part of an empty eggshell stuck to the pip (we removed it) and 1 doesn’t appear to have pipped externally.
Since we suspected the last eggs had pipped a while ago, we decided to assist them. We could hear cheeping and tapping in 2, but the third was silent. It turned out that the 2 with external pips were “shrinkwrapped” – the inner membrane had pulled away from the inside of the shell and encased the chicks, making it difficult or impossible for the chicks to escape. Shrinkwrapping is usually caused by low humidity. We carefully extricated the first – a light-colored chick – and it looked good except for a slightly unhealed navel (where the yolk was absorbed). The second egg held a black chick (Australorp mix) and it also looked good. We placed both back into the incubator to rest and dry.
The third egg was, as we suspected, dead in shell (DIS). Based on the partly unabsorbed yolk, it was probably a day 20 “quitter”, meaning it died a day before hatch, which is not uncommon. Overall, we feel like batch #2 was a pretty successful hatch. We set 18 originally, culled 3 clear ones at day 7, and 14 of the 15 remaining eggs hatched.