incubating eggs

I incubated some of my hens’ eggs recently.  Miracle of life and all that.   Counting the first day of incubation as day zero, it takes 21 days to hatch.  My chicks pipped on day 21 but did not emerge from their shells until early on day 22.

incubator eggs

incubator eggs

Out of seven eggs, four successfully hatched.  I think that’s considered a fair percentage.

first pip

first pip

Under duress, my husband did an informal necropsy on the unhatched eggs.  One wouldn’t open and two contained, as far as he could tell, fully developed chicks.  I know that means something but I’m not really interested in knowing right now.  I’ll just store the information until I need it.



Fred leaning on Ethel's egg as she pushes out

Fred leaning on Ethel’s egg as she pushes out

One of the chicks hatched with what appeared to be “wry neck.”  S(he) was spunky and energetic, but couldn’t lift her head, couldn’t drink or eat without assistance.  She was curled like a shrimp.  I splinted her as per some advice on Backyard Chickens on and off but after about 18 hours I decided to let her have a night without manipulation.  My mind was made up that if she was no better by morning, knowing that spontaneous healing was unlikely, I would kill her as humanely as possible.  When I checked on her at 5:30 am I thought, “Is it wishful thinking that she doesn’t look as bent as before?”  By 8 am, I had a hard time picking her out of a line up.  So yay!  It took her about another 8 to 12 hours to walk normally and now, except for some markings on her face, I wouldn’t be able to tell her apart from the others.


Ethel at 6 days old – all the chicks have feathery feet like their Cochin sire

If you mock me for praying for the life of a little chick which I might even eat some day then you’re not a nice person and I remind you that not even one sparrow falls without God’s notice.  


4 thoughts on “incubating eggs

  1. Julie says:

    Raising animals isn’t for the faint of heart. (We get about 50% survival of bunny babies, and I pray for them too.) Hurray for the healing of the neck!

    Are you raising them for layers or fryers?


    • Sara McDaren says:

      Well, they’re a cross between a dual purpose (meat & eggs) chicken called a Plymouth Rock and a Cochin which one is known mostly for being pretty and a nice pet. I’m not really sure what the chicks will be good for. If we have more than one rooster in the bunch, I guess I’ll have to eat him.

      In a couple of weeks I’m also expecting a delivery of some cornish cross (meat) chicks and some more Plymouth Rocks (for eggs). We have the room so why not.

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