It is official, we have had a successful hatch! We are so excited, after the frustrations of the past two hatches, to have this one go so well.
We have had 23 chicks hatch so far. Even the 3 mal-positioned chicks, which pipped the wrong end, made it out fine! There are still some eggs in the incubator that we will give another day or two to see if we have any late bloomers. There are no more pips currently. At this point we are at exactly 50% of fertile eggs having hatched. We had one chick die within the first 24 hours of life for an unknown reason. So we have 22 chicks right now!
The hatch started Wednesday and our last chick hatched at 6 am this morning, Saturday. Like I said, we might not be done yet, but with no new pips for 18 hours I am starting wonder.
We left the chicks in the incubator for 12-24 hours after they hatched to dry off, stabilize, and strengthen. We moved them when they seemed stronger and dry, and depending on how much trouble they were causing bouncing around and knocking the eggs around and picking on chicks who were trying to hatch. At one point one of the older chicks grabbed a chick that was on its way out of its egg by the foot and dragged it a few inches across the incubator by its toe. I guess that is part of life as a chick, but :-(.
They went from the incubator to a big plastic bin lined with newspaper. It had a jar lid with water and one with food in it. In there they grew stronger and better at walking and learned to eat and drink.
Once they were seen confidently eating and drinking they graduated to the big brooder which has shavings as bedding and has a full-sized chick water and food container.
We currently have 12 in the big brooder, 9 in the little brooder, and 2 still in the incubator.
We have had a little bit lower hatch rate on our own eggs, versus the high altitude eggs, but not a big enough difference to indicate that our birds can’t succeed at altitude. I think the biggest problem with the last two hatches was definitely the humidity. But we are excited to add these “high altitude” genetics into our flock since the breeder has been breeder for similar qualities as us for several years now, so these birds should be a great addition to our breeding program.
We have some variety in the colors. Many are dark with yellow or white belly, wing tips, and dot on head (like a barred bird starts out). We have some solid blacks, and we have several that are a silver/grey with yellow highlights. The breeder we bought eggs from said that the silvers would likely turn into lavender adults. That would be great!
We have been attempting to feather-sex the chicks. We watched several videos and looked at pictures. We currently are finding that it seems we have quite a bit more females than males. That would be really great! But maybe we are doing it wrong. Time will tell!
I was able to get some pictures of the hatching process and will post those in a few days, but for now I figured you all wanted to see some of the adorable chicks!
So without further ado….the cuteness:
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