I'm guessing this has been asked and answered before, but I just wanted to get a concise answer for my exact question. I recall reading before at some point to leave the incubator sealed until day 23. that is a full and relatively exact 48 period after the 21st day. Tonight will be a full 21 days. (That is, if we went until day 23, we have approx. 60 hours to go before opening) However, one hatched out completely in the night last night (day 20), one hatched a few hours ago (they're just hanging out in the incubator now...), and, that I can see, 9 others are working their way out. My biggest concern is for the one that hatched in the night. How long can he actually hang out in there before needing food? I'm very hesitant to open the incubator at all. I opened it a few times last time for various reasons (including pulling the early hatchers out to put in the brooder) and I feel as though that may be the reason that 3 didn't make it. Those three were late hatchers and most of the eggs that didn't hatch had fully developed chicks in them, so I really don't know what to attribute it to except opening the incubator too much in the final days (day 21+).
Please let me know how long I can keep the little guy in there before moving him to the brooder and without risking his health and vitality.
Thanks for your time and help!