Hatch-A-Long: Day 18

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

Last Updated: 23 July 2020

an incubator is an easy and effective way of hatching fertile chicken eggs

Hatching week is a hairs breadth away and we are beyond egg-cited to meet our new baby chickens!

Today is the last day we candle the eggs before they hatch - to see whether any need to be removed, or whether they’re ok to cross the finish line and start hatching.

Candling the eggs

Like last time, it’s a bit tricky to decipher all the bits and pieces growing inside the egg, and at first it just looks like a big dark blob.

We candled ours in a dark room, and after a bit of searching we could make out the veins, the baby chicken, even the heart beating!

All of them showed signs of lengthy development, except for one poor egg that seems to have not developed as far along as the others. You might remember from our last hatch-a-long article that one of the eggs was quite speckled, which means it has a relatively slim chance of hatching. The same egg, 6 days on, does seem to have developed, but not as far along as the others. We’ve decided to leave it in the incubator to see what happens, but our hopes aren’t high for this poor little chicken.

Changing the incubator environment to prepare for the hatch!

During this hatch-a-long, we’ve had two incubators running. Since we are down to the final days, we’ve decided to combine the eggs into the same incubator - so we can keep an eye on the whole batch. Plus, when it comes to hatching, the first ones to hatch often encourage the remaining baby chickens to break free, so we want to have the cheer squad altogether!

Because we’re at day 18, this means the eggs no longer need to be turned (for the final three days). So, in preparation for their hatching, we took the yellow tray out, and lined the flat white bottom with some paper towel - the best thing for newborn baby chicks to find their feet on!

Once they hatch, time truly flies for your little flock and your family will want to make the most of those special weeks! You're also going to want to make sure that you've got the best knowledge to raise a happy, healthy flock. You wouldn't want to risk making tragic mistakes that could impact their development, growth or worse!

67% of chicken keepers surveyed experienced a chicken health or behaviour issue in the first 12 months that they didn’t know how to handle. This is why I highly recommend that you check out our friends at Chickenpedia. Their Raising Baby Chicks course provides lots of valuable information to help you avoid any life-threatening accident. You'll have all the confidence to give your feathered friends the best start in life.

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Sources and further reading