Spring Chicks: First Hatch, Done

The first hatch is over, and we have 15 fluffy chicks. As with nearly every hatch, there were highs and lows, but we’re very happy to have a solid start on a new laying flock!

The first to hatch was a black chick that ran around in the incubator, enthusiastically knocking the other eggs around. The rest followed suit in the next day, with just two late hatchers.

Three eggs failed to hatch, even with extra time (chicken eggs typically take roughly 21 days to incubate). When candled, it was clear that an “iffy” egg from earlier candling had probably quit before lockdown. Another looked like a late quitter and the only other green egg contained a fully-formed chick that never pipped internally; based on the size of the yolk sac, it had likely quit within a day or two of hatch. Read more about potential causes of incubation problems here.

There were also two late hatchers. One hatched completely unassisted, but seems to have difficulty walking properly upright, scooting around on its hocks. The other also has some leg issues, including what appears to be a slipped tendon. Both have their legs wrapped (one has a hobble to try to bring its legs together more normally) and the other has the hock wrapped to try to keep the tendon where it belongs.

The last hatcher needed a little additional time to close its navel fully

We’ve put them into cup slings in the now-empty incubator to allow time for some TLC. Both are dropper-fed water with a vitamin supplement several times a day, and a bit of fermented food (that’s the crusty stuff on the rim of the cup).

I’m honestly not sure what the future holds for these two, but they’re lively and seem to have strong wills to live, so we’ll see how they progress. And remember the picked-on chick from the earlier post? We can’t even tell which one it is now.

These fluffballs will grow right before our eyes – and have already gotten bigger. In six months, we may see our first egg from these chicks! 🐣

Want to learn more about incubating eggs? Check out this comprehensive article from BackYard Chickens!