In The Incubator: “Spring Chickens”, Of Course!

The year’s first set of chicken eggs has begun hatching – right on schedule. It’s exciting and nerve-wracking…and it never gets old. With this group of mixed breed chicks, each one will be a surprise!

The first hatchling is a strong black chick. It pipped the evening before and pushed out the next morning. After resting a bit, it was up and about, knocking the other eggs around and chirping loudly. It’s encouraging the others to bust out of the confines of those shells.

Provided that it’s a pullet and not a cockerel, of course 😁

Last night was technically day 21, and two chicks had hatched. This morning, another chick was zipping (and hatched shortly afterward) and several others were externally pipped, so more chicks should emerge today.

While I try to open the incubator as little as possible during the hatch to avoid losing humidity, I did have to remove the two chicks that hatched yesterday – the bigger one was pecking the smaller one’s beak and had either made a small wound or was bothering an existing one. In any case, the pecking needed to stop; with my trusty helper, I scooped the two chicks out and sprayed warm water into the open incubator to restore the humidity that had escaped.

The two littles went into the ready and waiting brooder, with a warm Mama Heating Pad (MHP), water with a little Poultry Nutri-Drench, and non-GMO starter crumbles sprinkled around. I also like to put a strip of rubbery shelf liner on the floor to provide secure footing for initially-unsteady chicks. The new environment should keep the larger chick (the first hatcher) occupied for a while!

The two chicks are in here, under the MHP

Spring’s warmer weather (it needs to be much warmer and the chicks need more feathering) means these fluffballs will soon be able to spend time outside, chasing bugs, scratching in dirt, and finding greens to eat. A chick outdoors – we use exercise pens and tractors – on a nice day is a happy chick, indeed!

This is the picked-on chick…clearly some Silver Laced Wyandotte influence there

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