I’ve been patiently waiting and watching this incubator for 21 days. Twenty one days of turning eggs and waiting for pips. Our experience with hatching chicks had been quiet and non-eventful, until suddenly, everything happened at once.
Three days ago we were sitting on the couch reading when Nico suddenly got up and ran to the incubator. She looked down into the windows and was tilting her head, like she was trying to understand something. I wondered if she could hear the chicks starting to peep inside their shells, and sure enough, a few hours later I could also hear them peeping away in there. We looked inside with a flashlight and could see that two of the eggs had pipped (the chick had made a tiny crack in the egg). I stayed up really late, checking on the eggs every half hour to see the progress, and when nothing had happened I went to bed.
The next day I leaped out of bed to see what had happened during the night. The two eggs had pretty big holes in them and I could see a tiny beak inside pushing away at the shell of egg number one. The next few hours were spent impatiently waiting for them to arrive. It started when I was sitting in the living room typing up a new post. I heard some crazy clunking and scraping sounds coming from the incubator. I checked it out and saw that egg number one had a huge hole in it and the chick was pushing with all its might to break it open. Luckily, my iPhone was right next to me and I managed to get the whole thing on video.
Amazing, right?! I had to scoop my jaw up off the floor when it had finished, I was THAT amazed.
Egg number one has been the most active embryo since I first candled on day five of incubation. During several of my candling sessions I was listening to Bob Marley and this chick was totally rocking out in the shell. Since she seems to dig the music so much, I decided to name her Marley. She’s already the most unique chick in the bunch with red, brown, and yellow coloring.
I spent about an hour watching her roll and stumble around the floor of the incubator, knocking into the other eggs and trying to stand up. I talked to her a lot, and she looked up at me through the window with sleepy and confused eyes. She must have wondered why a giant face was hovering in the sky and yelling things at her that she couldn’t possibly understand.
When she fell asleep, I checked the other eggs and saw that two more had pipped but hadn’t made too much progress, so I decided to be productive instead of watching my chicken TV all day. I got some things done around the house and put away the laundry that I’d been letting pile up in the bedroom. While I was upstairs I heard a peeping storm coming from downstairs. Very loud and nonstop cries.
Being the worry-wort I am, I ran downstairs expecting a catastrophe, and lo and behold, what I found was not one, but two chicks peeping away in the incubator. The new chick was laying on the floor, wet and exhausted from her tiring entry into the world, and Marley was stepping on her face and pecking at her toes. Welcome to the world! Sometimes it sucks!
I had a good time imagining what the two were saying to each other.
‘Holy shit! Thank God you’re here! I thought I was doomed to live in this box forever, all alone, with a giant face looming over me every ten minutes!
‘What giant? I don’t see anything up th — AHH! AAAAHH!! What is that!? Why is it watching us!? Maybe if we scream and yell and run around like the sky is falling it will go away!’
These two were the best of friends for all of ten minutes, until their incessant peeping encouraged a third to join the party.
This poor thing was ganged up on by both older chicks. They kept pulling its feathers and following it every time it rolled away into a corner. I kept yelling, ‘Leave your sister alone! Stop pulling her hair! Don’t make me come in there!’ but it didn’t matter. They would just glare up at me and go right back to their antics. It’s like they knew I wasn’t allowed to open the incubator until they were dry.
I set up the brooder for the little trouble makers and as soon as they were dry, moved them into their new home, which they quickly pooped all over.
Nico and Moose spent the whole day looking into the incubator to see what was going on in there. I have to admit, I was doing the same thing, it just wasn’t as cute.
The next morning I sprang out of bed again to see what had happened in the night, and found two more chicks in the incubator. They were all wet and stumbling all over the place, like a couple of drunks. Within a few hours they were dry enough to move to the brooder with their friends. When I took them out I noticed another egg had a large hole in it and was looking reading to pop. I dragged Michael out of bed to come watch. You would think telling someone that the miracle of life was happening in their living room would be enough to make them bolt out of bed, but instead it took the threat of: You may never witness this again in your life! Except that he did, three more times that day.
We took another video during this hatching frenzy, and with my new spiffy editing skills, I added a dramatic musical score. It’s okay, you can admit it’s the best chicken-hatching-out-of-an-egg video you’ve ever seen.
The chicks hatched one right after another, all day long. Our house was filled with the musical peeping and cheeping. By the end of the day we had only two eggs left in the incubator. A friend of ours came in the evening to pick up the six chicks we had promised them, and off they went to a new land full of possibilities.
Chick number nine hatched overnight and joined her two sisters in the brooder. We’ve been cuddling them and trying to speak their language. They look at me like this whenever I try to speak chicken:
Probably because I’m saying something like, ‘Hairy monster truck umbrella war!’
I hope you’ve enjoyed our hatch story. Please stop by again soon for an abundance of fuzzy chick photos!