Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Hatching: Day 18

It is now day 18.  The eggs have a few more days in the incubator before we can expect or hope to expect the tiny sounds of peeping from the central room.  Early this morning the eggs were all candled one more time, then removed from the egg turner and carefully laid onto the floor of the incubator. 

During the next few days, the unhatched chicks will wiggle around inside their shells, positioning themselves so that their heads are close to the air pocket.  What's left of the yolk will be enclosed inside their bodies and their belly button (yes, chickens have belly buttons) will close.  The yolk will provide the chick with the food and water it will need during and after hatching.

During most of the incubation, the humidity has been kept at a steady 50 - 60%.  This was done by filling the wells located in the bottom of the incubator with warm water.  The last few days however, it's helpful to the chick to increase the humidity.  This will lessen the likelihood of the shell sticking to the chick, making hatching more difficult.  To do this, the wells were filled again and clean damp sponges have been added. 

The nursery is now closed.  Now we wait...

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