Oct 3, 2012

Hatch-along with The Chicken Chick, Part 7: Lockdown

This is day 18 in our Hatch-along of Buff Orpington eggs. We are now in "lockdown," which refers to the day after which we no longer open the incubator. It is also the day that we stop turning the eggs and increase humidity. On day 18, the embryo begins to position itself for the hatch: its head is tucked under its right wing and it orients its head towards the wide end of the egg where the air cell is located.
This is day 18 in our Hatch-along of Buff Orpington eggs. We are now in "lockdown," which refers to the day after which we no longer open the incubator. It is also the day that we stop turning the eggs and increase humidity. On day 18, the embryo begins to position itself for the hatch: its head is tucked under its right wing and it orients its head towards the wide end of the egg where the air cell is located.

If a broody hen were sitting on these eggs, she would no longer take her daily trip out of the nest to find food and water or relieve herself. She would remain on the nest in order to maintain the critical temperature and humidity necessary for a successful hatch and to allow the embryo to get into the proper hatching position.
If a broody hen were sitting on these eggs, she would no longer take her daily trip out of the nest to find food and water or relieve herself. She would remain on the nest in order to maintain the critical temperature and humidity necessary for a successful hatch and to allow the embryo to get into the proper hatching position.
We stop turning the eggs in the incubator at this point so as not to interfere with this important positioning. We don't want the chick to have to waste energy re-positioning itself, it should only have to concern itself with the work of getting out of that shell.

While I could have left the egg turning tray in the incubator, I chose to remove it. I added a piece of rubber shelf-liner to provide the chicks with a secure surface upon which to walk after they hatch.
While I could have left the egg turning tray in the incubator, I chose to remove it. I added a piece of rubber shelf-liner to provide the chicks with a secure surface upon which to walk after they hatch.
With my Brinsea Mini Advance incubator, the recommended humidity is increased from 55% to 65-70% by simply filling up both water reservoirs. With other types of incubators, humidity is ordinarily monitored with a hygrometer. Too much or not enough humidity can cause hatching problems.
By now, the embryos are fully developed. The egg yolk is attached to its body via an umbilical cord and belly-button type system. Tomorrow, the embryo will begin to draw the yolk sac into its abdominal cavity. The purpose of the yolk is to provide nutrition to the chick while it waits for the mother hen to finish hatching other eggs. A chick can survive for approximately 3 days without food or water due to the absorption of the yolk sac, which is what makes shipping baby chicks via mail possible.
By now, the embryos are fully developed. The egg yolk is attached to its body via an umbilical cord and belly-button type system. Tomorrow, the embryo will begin to draw the yolk sac into its abdominal cavity. The purpose of the yolk is to provide nutrition to the chick while it waits for the mother hen to finish hatching other eggs. A chick can survive for approximately 3 days without food or water due to the absorption of the yolk sac, which is what makes shipping baby chicks via mail possible.

This is the last time I will candle these eggs. I would have removed any eggs that appeared to have expired, but fortunately, I was able to see movement in each of the them. Movement is reassuring, but lack of movement is not necessarily cause for alarm as embryos do have sleep periods.  While signs of movement are encouraging, we're not counting any chickens yet; days 20/21 are a very common time for embryos to die for a number of reasons including genetic defects or weakness.

While I can expect to hear cheeping from within the eggs at any time now, it is most commonly heard around day 20. Chicks can hatch earlier or later than day 21 depending on whether temperatures were off a little bit one way or the other (too cool and they'll hatch later, too warm and they'll hatch earlier). Stay tuned for the fun stuff coming soon!
This is the last time I will candle these eggs. I would have removed any eggs that appeared to have expired, but fortunately, I was able to see movement in each of the them. Movement is reassuring, but lack of movement is not necessarily cause for alarm as embryos do have sleep periods.  While signs of movement are encouraging, we're not counting any chickens yet; days 20/21 are a very common time for embryos to die for a number of reasons including genetic defects or weakness.
This is the last time I will candle these eggs. I would have removed any eggs that appeared to have expired, but fortunately, I was able to see movement in each of the them. Movement is reassuring, but lack of movement is not necessarily cause for alarm as embryos do have sleep periods.  While signs of movement are encouraging, we're not counting any chickens yet; days 20/21 are a very common time for embryos to die for a number of reasons including genetic defects or weakness.
This is the last time I will candle these eggs. I would have removed any eggs that appeared to have expired, but fortunately, I was able to see movement in each of the them. Movement is reassuring, but lack of movement is not necessarily cause for alarm as embryos do have sleep periods.  While signs of movement are encouraging, we're not counting any chickens yet; days 20/21 are a very common time for embryos to die for a number of reasons including genetic defects or weakness.
This is the last time I will candle these eggs. I would have removed any eggs that appeared to have expired, but fortunately, I was able to see movement in each of the them. Movement is reassuring, but lack of movement is not necessarily cause for alarm as embryos do have sleep periods.  While signs of movement are encouraging, we're not counting any chickens yet; days 20/21 are a very common time for embryos to die for a number of reasons including genetic defects or weakness.
Eyes on the prize:
Eyes on the prize:
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27 comments :

  1. I hatched a dozen Buff Orpington eggs a few years ago, it was a great experience. They hatched on Easter morning which made it even more exciting!

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    1. Brilliantly timed! I never tire of hatching baby chicks. :)

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  2. tomorrow is my lock down ;=) so excited, this is my first try with an incubator. I haven't been able to see into the Welsummer eggs very well, so not sure how viable they are (4-5 yr old parents) but I know some of the banty eggs are good to go.

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    1. I remember that we set eggs at about the same time, Mary!
      Please keep me posted on the status of your hatch!!

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  3. Hey, what do you have on the floor of your coop? In the second photo from the top, the one w/ your two broodies? I see that straw but what is the stuff that looks like pellet feed? I'm always looking for something different to put in my house. I like the sand. But variety is the spice of life.

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    1. Hi Amy. Those are wood pellets that are used for horse stall bedding. They're just compressed sawdust and they're SUPER absorbent. I'm still a sand fan though. ;)

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  4. This is so exciting! It is really amazing how a hen's instinct kicks in and she would know not to leave the nest at this point. Nature is amazing.

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  5. Kathy,I've hung on every word as if reading a romance novel,teehhehehe...now I could get into me some chicken business...I will be anxiously awaiting to see the baby chicks.

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    1. LOL, Jo May! It is rather a romantic notion, this hatching business. I can assure you that you will not be disappointed in having to wait another day or so for the fluffy butts. ☺
      Thank you for following my hatch-along!

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  6. I just linked up one that's pretty funny, sugar. Hope it brings a chuckle to ya. Nice to meet you!
    xoxo,
    Connie

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    1. Thanks for linking-up, Connie! I'm looking forward to reading your post.
      The pleasure is mine (I don't get called 'sugar' nearly enough. ☺).

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  7. Kathy this is amazing!!! xo HHL

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  8. What a fascinating blog you have! I've already learned so much from this one post! Thanks so much for the invitation!

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    1. Thank you Jacqueline! Chicks hatching never cease to astound me.

      Thank you for joining me on the journey!

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  9. This was a very interesting post, Kathy--I learned a lot I didn't know about hatching chicks. Thank you so much for following my blog, and I followed you back!

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    1. Thank you, Athena. It's nice to have you with us!

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  10. How exciting....I set a full Little Giant on the 1st with six Speckled Sussex and the rest are eggs from my chickens that are all mixed....EE's now. Today I set 14 more Speckled Sussex and 12 Buff Orpingtion eggs from a friend. I am excited to hatch again and have babies!!

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  11. Perfect timing. I have a batch in the incubator now. Great info and helpful.

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  12. can i have eggs that are put in incubator at other days, i now have 8 eggs and on their 3rd day i added one from my own flock, so they are 3 days apart, should i keep it in their while the other 8 hopefully hatch or should i separate it into another smaller incubator?

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  13. TheChickenChick4/6/14, 8:27 PM

    Neither is ideal, but I suppose if I had to choose, I would put the late egg in the incubator by itself.

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  14. Cynthia Swinson4/13/14, 9:42 AM

    Does anyone have advice on how to keep the humidity up during lockdown? I have a brinsea eco 20 advanced without the humidity pump.

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  15. TheChickenChick4/16/14, 12:44 AM

    Have you tried a sponge?

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  16. my eggs are on day 18 what do i do then?

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  17. Im now on day 20 but my eggs arent making any noises or anything is that bad?

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  18. Love my chickens9/16/14, 1:33 PM

    I am on day 18 of hatching sex linked chicks. my air cell does not appear to be as large as the ones in your photos above. i have the same brinsea incubator as what you use. the temp has been at a solid 99.5 degrees with one side of the water canister filled at all times. the eggs have only been candled on days 7, 14, and 18. do you recommend i do anything to enlarge the air cell or will it be ok? thank you for your time and help.

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  19. Love my chickens9/16/14, 2:08 PM

    Hello there! I am currently on day 18 of hatching sex link chicks. When i candled my eggs today, i can see the chicks moving however i noticed their air sack is smaller than what most drawings examples appear to be at this time of incubation. my question is what do i do to improve the air sack size? i have had the incubator at 99.5 the entire time as well as one of the water chambers of my brinsea incubator filled at all times. development appears to be normal other than the size of the air cell. any suggestions or advice would be much appreciated. thank you!

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