Mar 6, 2012

Chicken Embryo Development, views from the Inside AND Out. *Graphic Photos**

I'm aware that I'm a hatch-a-holic. The bad news? One of the symptoms of that condition is that I candle my eggs too frequently. The good news? I get to share my egg candling photo stash with you.

Regardless of the number of times I have hatched chicks, the process fascinates me equally each time. That an egg can evolve from common recipe ingredient to living, breathing adorableness in a mere 21 days meets my definition of miraculous.
The following photo presentation pairs well-known images from the Purdue Research Institute, depicting embryo development from the inside, with my own photos of candled eggs throughout the 21 chicken egg incubation period.

I invite you to view any one of my four YouTube videos to witness the wonder of hatch day without having to clean the incubator: Baby Chick Hatching in Home Incubator, Singing and Dancing Easter Egger, Hatch Day! Ameraucana Chick Arrives! and Hatching Easter Egger.

**Click on any photo for a larger view & slideshow format**
Egg candled with the OvaScope by Brinsea Products.

To see day 15 candling video click here






















I drew from the following sources for the narrative information included on these images:
http://chickscope.beckman.uiuc.edu/resources/egg_to_chick/development.html
http://www.cobb-vantress.com/contactus/brochures/EmbryoFlipChart.pdf


89 comments :

  1. Is our Creator amazing or what!

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    1. Amazing how Sweet Jesus our Lord & Savior, gave us so many pleasures in life. You know I'd already mentioned to you I had been through cancer and treatments from chemo to radiation, still on meds now that make me feel funked out. BUT, as I also said, My Chickens became "Soup for my Soul" The joy I had watching my chicks hatch and caring for them and the love I receive back has been just amazing.I do value all your information on your site and enjoy viewing all the pics on FB. It's so much fun!! Thanks again,B

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  2. RebeccaHillWhitmire3/8/12, 8:53 AM

    Very informative blog! Glad I found you on facebook.

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    1. Thank you, Rebecca! Happy to have you on my page and my blog!

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  3. I'D LOOK GREAT IN THAT t-SHIRT~~~~!!!!nANCY wALKER FACEBOOK FRIEND

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  4. Thank you for your blog. I love knowing that I am not alone in my Backyard Chicken adventures. I enjoyed sitting down with my younge son and showing him your stages of embryo developement!!!! I would love to win the T-Shirt!!!!

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  5. I would love to win the T-shirt!! Really enjoy reading your posts on Facebook! Shelly Selph Efird (Facebook friend)

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    1. Thanks for stopping in on my blog too, Shelly!

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  6. I think I subscribed! LOL Already a follower! T-shirt is LOL!

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  7. I love this post! I am a hatch-a-holic and own a daycare so this is awesome to be able to show them each day what the chicks look like. We woke to 5 ducks hatched today! Would love A Tshirt!!!!

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    1. Wow, how fun is YOUR daycare?! That's awesome that you share the 21 day miracle with your little ones.

      Thanks for joining me, Meghan!

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  8. I follow you on FB and have just "followed" your blog. I do read it often and find it very helpful, especially this post. I have not ventured into hatching eggs yet and am trying to find all the info I can before I try it.
    Thank you and Blessings,
    Mandi Miller
    sevenruns@dishmail.net

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    1. Thanks for joining me in both places, Mandi! I'll just warn you about hatching: it's addicting!!

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  9. I want again to THANK you so much for sharing the awesome info you give on FaceBook and now here. I absolutely love you pictorial of the development of the egg. Best I've seen anywhere. I read about your personnel life as well, so interesting what you gave up for the Love of Chickens, but THANKS for doing so ~~~ Your the Best, Brenda ;*)

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    1. Thank you Brenda. Your story is inspiring to me, thanks for sharing on Facebook and for coming along for the ride on my blog.

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  10. WOW! These photos are fantastic!! Wish I was volunteering with one of our local 4H livestock clubs - I would love to share this info with the kids! Maybe I'll post a link... :o)
    Thanks for sharing! Something most people would never see otherwise. Keep up the great work!
    Jen

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  11. I love this blog so much:) I am in the process of hatching some RIR chickens, it's day 11, and seeing these pictues have helped me decide which eggs are still living.( I have only had to throw out 1 of my 12 eggs). Once I saw this blog post for the first time I showed all the members of my family. Have I mentioned that I love chickens, but whenever I'm asked why i really don't know, their just AWESOME. Thank you fo posting this great blog. (P.S. I'd love that T-shirt:). -Jared

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    1. Thanks Jared! Sounds like you're going to have a great hatch! Keep me posted & share pics when they arrive!

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  12. HELP! Could I ask you to give a tutorial on candeling. I've read most of your blog, and haven't seen anything on candeling. I have 18 eggs in the bator (bwhahah) and tried to candle them the other day and they all look empty. I'm afraid that I candled them wrong. The hens had access to 2 roos. and then..... I would love to win that t-shirt.

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    1. Hi Elizabeth, I have several albums of candling on my Facebook page as well as all of the candling photos above, which are intended to illustrate what you're looking for on any given day of incubation.

      It may be the case that you're not using a powerful enough candling device. Try either a high intenstity LED flashlight in a dark room, hold the flashlight in your cupped hand and the egg above your cupped hand with the wide end almost touching the flashlight so that no light escapes out of your hand beyond the egg. That's all there is to it. Good luck with your hatch!

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  13. We are expecting 25 broiler chicks in a couple of weeks from Meyer hatchety. They announced yesterday on FB that they are feeding a product called Oasis to the chicks just before shipping. It is a supplement to help the chicks through the shipping process. It contains soy and a whole bunch of people responded negatively due to the history of causing problems with cattle and pigs, etc. Was interesting reading and an eye opener. It also has green dye in it because supposedly chicks are attracted to the color green. It is a soft pelleted texture. Wondering if you have seen or heard anything about this product.
    Love the looks of that t-shirt too.

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    1. I haven't heard about it but I'll look into it. Can you share a link to the negative feedback on my Facebook wall so I can see the complaints? It may be worth a call to the hatchery to see if you can discuss the possibility of having your chicks shipped with GroGel instead if you're concerned about it.

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  14. Shelly Wade3/8/12, 7:47 PM

    I found this both a beautiful miracle & kinda creepy all rolled up in one...lol. You are always sooo informative, I often wonder how have my chickens survived without your advice.

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    1. Can't argue with the beautiful yet creepy part. And thank you. :)

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  15. This is really cool and I can't wait to show my kids when they get home. Did you do the pictures of the development?

    We fed Oasis to our broiler show chicks for 45-days all the way up to show. They did just fine. It was very expensive and the meat was tough. Love the web-site and I follow on Facebook. One day maybe I'll win some of your beautiful eggs to hatch.

    Thanks for all the great info!
    Lisa Hightower
    Facebook aka: Ziptie The Dog

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    1. Lisa, I can't help thinking that you're a man when that username pops up every time. LOL

      I took the candling photos, on the right, in these images. The others are from the Purdue Research Institute. Let me know what the kids thought about them!

      Thanks for your message, see you on FB! BTW: I'm having a Kids with Chickens Photo contest right now, upload yours soon!

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  16. This is my first visit - and I've signed up as a follower. I have backyard chickens; our city house is for sale and we're about to move to the country. I CAN'T WAIT to experience the hatching of baby chicks! Thank you for showing and explaining in detail. Wonderful!

    Lana

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    1. Hi Lana! Thanks so much for following along. You're going to love the whole incubation process. Don't say you weren't warned though! LOL
      Enjoy and keep me posted on how it goes!

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  17. Awesome post!
    What kind of chick is that in the last pic?

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    1. That's one of my Black Copper Marans chicks. :)

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  18. I really want to start hatching chicks. I haven't yet, but I think it could become very dangerous once I do. Good thing I have a large property and a handy husband!

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  19. Such a miracle.

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  20. I just found your blog the other day and can't thank you enough for all the posts and information!! I was wondering if you have ever encountered this... we have been trying to hatch a white egg from our flock. Only one of our chickens (a leg horn) lays white so we know who it is from. Our rooster, an Americauna, is healthy and we get the chicks to around day 18-19 and they stop moving when we candle them and die... it is just heart breaking and my girls so have their heart set on hatching a white one. Any advise? We just opened one of the eggs up that had died and it was all formed but had a large yoke still attached... sigh... we still have one more in the incubator that stopped moving a day or so ago (That I could tell with the egg being so full) but no I have seeing blood spots... guessing that's not a good sign. We have one more still moving and we're just praying that it actually hatches... any advise?

    wpooh_9 at hotmail dot com

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    1. What kind of incubator are you using? What are the temp and humidity settings on them at lockdown?

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  21. I have a hen that went broody and set up a nest in the front yard. It has been more then 21 days. If and when they hatch should I move the chicks and hen to a more safe place? We have cats that walk around the yard. Thanks Ellen from Georgia

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    1. I would put them in a safe run of their own where neighborhood animals can't get to them. Good luck with the hatch!

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  22. CARROL MCCANN8/3/12, 8:27 AM

    THANK YOU FOR CANDLING AND HATCHING INFO!

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  23. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  24. We put our eggs in Sunday night! My first time ever. We couldn't afford to buy the Brinsea. :-(. But friends gave us a styraphone one. I have a thermometer inside, and a hydrgometer on the way.......THANK YOU for your pictures...you are so incredibly helpful.......Debbiesezhi@hotmail.com

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  25. KC Douglas1/8/13, 9:35 PM

    These are so cool!  May I share them with the classes at my children's school?  I bring in my brinsea and they hatch chicks in the classroom, and this is the best series I've seen!

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  26. TheChickenChick1/9/13, 12:07 AM

    Absolutely, KC!

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  27. How often do you candle them under your girls?

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  28. How often do you candle eggs under your broody girls?

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  29. TheChickenChick1/20/13, 5:58 PM

    Too often! With the really valuable eggs, I'll only candle 2 or three times, usually around day 5-7, then day 14 and 18.

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  30. That was a very interesting post!  I never new exactly what was going on in there!  Thank you!

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  31. Hi I am a preschool teacher and we are in the process of trying to hatch eggs in our incubator. We had someone come in and candled around 1 week and she said everything looked good. She was in again yesterday which would have been day 16. She said she was not hopeful that the eggs would hatch for she did not see an air sack. What might have caused this?

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  32. TheChickenChick4/25/13, 2:00 AM

    There is always an air cell. I'm not sure what she may be talking about.

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  33. Thank you for responding. I am still hopeful that they will hatch. I am on hatching alert this weekend. Will let you know what happens.

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  34. Jersey Girl5/22/13, 3:37 PM

    Wow you are brave fantastic pics a huge help to beginners out there and useful for long in the tooth chicken keepers and breeders like me. Brilliant well done for putting up these pics x

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  35. TheChickenChick5/22/13, 9:00 PM

    Thanks!

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  36. suxexs lover sea6/2/13, 4:56 AM

    Hi chicken chick I'm Seannah, im 12 and i have three eggs on a heat pad in a sock ...i did have four but one rolled off ,so i took it and broke it and it was four days old and it had a small white dot and lots of white around the outside,i checked a nine day old one but i couldnt really see red veins but there was a dark patch in the middle,can u give me some hints ?

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  37. Can you tell me what breed of chicken that is in the final hatched picture?

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  38. TheChickenChick6/5/13, 5:59 PM

    That is a Black Copper Marans.

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  39. I need your help I accidentally broke my egg shell at day 4 the chick is still alive and I was wondering what you did with the saran wrap.. If you think you can help please email me at tufftiff2@hotmal.com Here is a link of my chick in the shell

    http://api.viglink.com/api/click?format=go&key=6bb099c03c841e0aa94311ac07580ace&loc=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.backyardchickens.com%2Ft%2F798370%2Fshell-broke-in-incubator-but-chick-still-alive-what-should-i-do%23post_11523859&v=1&libId=22e9dab4-c97a-4e33-8334-515702401e30&out=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DGDYomRaxubY&ref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.backyardchickens.com%2Ff%2F5%2Fincubating-hatching-eggs&title=Shell%20broke%20in%20incubator%20but%20chick%20still%20alive.%20What%20should%20I%20do%3F&txt=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DGDYomRaxubY&jsonp=vglnk_jsonp_13724590232658

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  40. I did not use plastic wrap, Tiffany. Sorry.

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  41. Denise Allison Magil8/22/13, 10:19 PM

    wow if i win incubator im so gonna do this cool!

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  42. Love that you have incubation day 1 to hatch I get so many questions about this from now on I will be referring them here to your pictures of what it is supposed to look like. Great job!

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  43. TheChickenChick11/27/13, 6:14 PM

    Thanks Lily! :)

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  44. LorleeLeeMurray12/16/13, 4:18 PM

    I remember in Science class having an incubator and following the process - but when our teacher wanted to dissect the babies I was appalled and took off with my egg - I hatched it in my locker (it was Miami) and the baby chick "Fred" bonded to me immediately later we found out Fred was "Fredricka" but many wonderful memories of her....she would follow me ride on my horse and lay out on the lawn chair with me in the back yard.

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  45. Ann Marie Wallace12/16/13, 4:49 PM

    That is really neat I have never seen that before. How do you know if an egg has been fertilized?

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  46. I only have one rooster but I'm considering trying to hatch my own chicks. He truly seems like the leader of the pack and does a great job so I wonder, how will this affect his role? Any feedback appreciated! Thank you!

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  47. TheChickenChick12/16/13, 8:41 PM

    Great question, Ann Marie! The answer can be found here: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2013/01/facts-and-myths-about-fertile-eggs.html

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  48. TheChickenChick12/16/13, 8:42 PM

    Holy. Cow. :o

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  49. I've never seen anything like that before, cool.

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  50. I noticed you missed day 14. I was listening to the Chicken Whisperer the other day & his guest, Peter Brown AKA: the Chicken Doctor. Basically they were saying you shouldn't candle because when you take the egg out of the incubator, you interrupt the process. Depending on which system is developing at the time, you could do some serious damage to the developing embryo. While I agree that the less handling, the better, I still feel the need to candle the eggs periodically to know which eggs are developing & which ones are not, or have quit. What I like about this chart is knowing which system is developing at which day of incubation. My current eggs are on day 20. I have a few pips already & yes, I did candle along the way. Which days (if any) do you feel are the safest days to candle the eggs to check for development?

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  51. Penny Addington1/5/14, 9:52 PM

    very cool!!

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  52. Ok, so im new to the whole incubation thing. Does the 21 days start from the moment the egg is layed or from the time the hen gets all her eggs layed and starts to set? And how does she know when to start setting on the eggs?

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  53. TheChickenChick1/17/14, 9:19 PM

    The 21 days begins when the hen begins sitting on the clutch. You'd have to pay close attention to her behavior in order to know when she started.

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  54. I receive 4 eggs from my Grandma on Dec.26 and since I put them into the incubator they develop fine but they haven't hatch so I don't know what the cause and what to do. Should I just stop or keep waiting?? Thank you !

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  55. Hello, I have receive my eggs from my Grandma on Dec.26 and they been develop fine in the incubator but from counting today is the 23rd day. And I'm worried something is wrong. So from your point do you think I should keep waiting or stop?? Thank you ! (:

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  56. TheChickenChick1/17/14, 11:07 PM

    I would wait another day or so in case you miscalculated. I would also candle the eggs to see if there is any movement inside.

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  57. Andrea Dutchover-Reynolds1/22/14, 12:16 AM

    Hello, first I love your site, it has been my go-to site! Since you are also obsessed with candling your eggs I was hoping you might be able to help me since I am pretty obsessed with candling as well.



    I am hatching 3 eggs for the first time (only 3 fertile out of 9) I candled my eggs the 20th, 5 days before they are due to hatch, and 2 of them had all of the darkness (which on the 17th and 19th it had taken over the majority of the egg) had shrunk and collected at the small end of the egg, sort of like the late embryonic death pic for day 19, only even smaller and I can see the outline of a bird and an umbilical chord. The third still is fully dark. Should I assume the two that have shrunk and collected at the small end to have passed? What do you think could have caused it? I have been really anal about doing everything right and so far I have not been able to figure out what might have gone wrong, if anything.

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  58. Andrea Dutchover-Reynolds1/24/14, 1:08 PM

    Thank you. I'll just hope for the best, and hopefully at least one will hatch tomorrow (or even late would be fine haha). I'll def invest in that book. Thanks again.

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  59. LoveYourDNA1/29/14, 4:04 PM

    Just found your site and love it. I didn't find your pics graphic, but beautiful! The beauty of nature...

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  60. TheChickenChick1/29/14, 10:27 PM

    Thank you. Nice to have you here!

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  61. Chick Chick2/8/14, 3:48 PM

    I really appreciate the information and the pictures are wonderful. I really feel that I will know what I am looking at. I have 10 hens and 2 roosters so I am going to start incubating!

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  62. This is the first time that i have tried incubating eggs. I made a small homemade incubator out of stuff we had laying around the house. Ive been experimenting with it trying to hatch babys. I candle them and take out the ones that are infertile or seem to stop growing and eggtopsy them. When i eggtopsy them i break the air pocket open first tyring to not toych the internal membrane. If i still dont see any sign of life (which i usuall dont) then i pop the membrane and empty the contents into a container for further investigation of what might have happened. Well i candeled my eggs last night. Have a few that were supposed to have hatched already. One looked like it had stopped moving, didnt see any signs of life, wasnt dark, showed signs of late death. Well, me being me, i broke into the air pocket. Wellll, low and behold to my surprise, there was movement. I stopped pecking and recandled it thinking that i was just seeing things. Nope, its definatly alive in there. Looks fully formed. I watched its little eyes and beak moving, its little legs and toes kicking. Its head is by the air pocket, its soo cool. Its about half and half with the yolk sac on one side and the baby on the other. I was trying to figure out at what stage of developement it was when i found your page. Awesome info and pics btw. I checked it before typing this and its still alive. Any suggestions on keeping it alive? Or should i just wing it like i have been and see what happens? Just remember, i thought it was already dead, and found out that it wasnt only alive but alive and kicking. Thank you, any help would be appreciated.

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  63. Do you recommend one type of incubator over another? Air V still air or brand? I have found that when the first chicks start to hatch they move the un-hatched eggs around and some of them have difficulty hatching. Is this normal? Do you ever "help" the chicks that have difficulty hatching out of the shell? I know these are a lot of questions but I do want the highest rate of live chicks I can get. Thanks for any answers.

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  64. Diane Barnard3/2/14, 1:45 PM

    I've never seen such clear pictures of chick development.

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  65. TheChickenChick3/2/14, 9:28 PM

    I've never used a still air incubator. I have a hatch-along series here that you may find useful: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/p/hatching.html

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  66. Jenie Benson3/4/14, 10:47 PM

    This was so helpful in determining on what day my chicks perished when doing eggtopsy today. I had a couple very late deaths, like day 17 that I eggtopsied today. I was unsure exactly how old until I looked at your photos. I had a temp spike right at lockdown, so it's all coming together.

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