It takes 21 days from eggs going into an incubator, or under a broody hen to a chick being born. What I find even more impressive is that the eggs will store for about a week, and then you put them at the right temperature, either under a hen or in your incubator, bring it up to temperature and the 21 days starts from then. So eggs laid 28 to 21 days earlier all hatch on the same day. How clever is that!
There was an auction a few weeks ago and I sent my otherhalf off to buy some hatching eggs. I gave him a copy of the programme with big red lines under the ones I wanted…. depending on price!
There were 3 lots of araucana eggs I had my eye on, as I breed aruacanas I like to get some new birds to bring in some “new blood”.
Off he trotted, and he did well, I got all 24 eggs in 3 lots for a total of £16! A box of 6 for £3, a second box of 6 for £6 and a box of 12 for £7.
I also have a friend who had obtained some Brahma eggs. I had not heard of them, but on looking them up, they are large birds, gentle, feathery feet. Ideal for children.
I then collected some from my birds including araucana and faverolle hens.
So by the time I went to put them in my incubator I had lots of eggs! The blue eggs are the araucana, the light brown the brahma and favorelle.
I did a quick check at 7 days, I used a method called candling, which showed that the embryo’s were developing in all but a few. I left them all in, as unless they are really dirty there is nothing to lose.
I put them in the incubator on a Saturday night so that they should start hatching 21 says later; so 3 Saturday nights later. This means I will not be at work to sort them out as they start to hatch.
On the Saturday morning I went in and could hear chirping!! From inside the eggs!! How exciting. So how many are going to hatch…
By lunchtime on the Saturday, so early, 2 of my own eggs had hatched 2 little black araucanas, I could see a further 4, again my birds eggs cracking and getting ready to hatch.
This is not the best of photographs but it was taken through the glass. At this stage I do not want to be opening the incubator as this alters not only the temperature but also the humidity and the air needs to remain moist so that the egg shells do not become too hard for the chicks to be able to peck their way out of.
As the day went on, and then weekend, they kept hatching.
We are now on Tuesday, and although the majority have hatched, there are still come hatching….. the last one this evening.
So I am actually on day 24, but have lots of healthy chicks ready to start my next generation of hens… and hopefully not too many cockerills.
I have moved then into a large hamster cage, with raised sides and a mental bar top though which I hand a light bulb which they snuggle under to keep warm.
When I put them into the cage, I add chick crumbs for them to eat, they don’t need to be shown how to peck they imediately start pecking away and eating away at the crumbs. Clever feathers.
P.S. can you see the bad cat “keeping an eye on things”. It is a good way of making the chicks confident around cats, as long as tinker (she so fits her name), doesn’t get in!