I think I need a little sanity check about now. I (We) are about one year into "Project Chicken" and have really come to love the new hobby. We currently have a mixed flock of 8 hens and 2 roosters (yeah, that's too many for 8 hens I hear, but so far it's working I think). The daughter and a friend wanted to hatch some eggs for the science fair, and as I was wanting to expand the operation, I agreed. We really like the variety in our flock so far and figured we would add even more variety. The initial plan was to add 12 chicks per year and cull the older ones at year 4 (or when production declined). The coop was sized for this.
Well I guess even the best laid plans need adjustment now and then, and maybe I went a little crazy at egg ordering time. We are now at day 20 of the incubation cycle and there are 39 little orbs waiting to surprise us. I justified 39 to myself figuring there must be a high mortality rate. After candling I figure we are at 35 viable on day 20. The girls have done a pretty good job with data and the needed "science stuff", so I figured I would let them stay home Monday to watch the "miracle".
Last night one of them started to hatch, by around noon it was out, dry and in the brooding box. There has been very little activity in the other eggs. One or two are showing some movement and there is one other that the chick has started to "unzip(?)". At what time do I start to worry? Is it normal to have one this far ahead of the rest? Is there a way to validate viability? How long should I expect this to last, or when will I know there will be no more hatching?
I think we did a good job with temperature and humidity. I do not think we had any significant spikes in temperature or humidity. We now increased humidity to 65%-70% for the last push. Here are some specifics that might prove helpful to those who have traveled this road before. The eggs we started with were quite the smorgasbord. Eggs 1-12 were two breeds from one hatchery, 13-18 were home grown, and 19-39 were from another hatchery, consisting of at least 6 different breeds. Egg sizes varied from 46 grams to 78 grams. The hatcheries insisted the eggs were fresh, but as they came from different sources, one batch was about 5 days longer into the incubator. Our home growns were only 1 or maybe 2 days to the incubator.
Does anybody have any idea what to expect next? Taking a single chick to the science fair might be a little embarrassing. Could one be that much further along than the rest in the hatching process? I have been using this website for information for several months now and am anxiously looking forward to hearing of others experiences.
The next step will be trying to determine sexes, but I'll do a little reading before appealing for help again.