I set six eggs that were due to hatch Monday night. Two hatched this morning and one tonight. I have broodies to give them to, but when can I take them out without hurting the other eggs or how long are they ok staying? I really can't move them until the morning. I'm pretty sure one hen will take them during the day even though she has only been sitting about a week. She has taken everything I've given her except a turkey chick, no matter how long she has been sitting. I hope the other two will also take to them because they need to stop sitting.
How long can they stay in the incubator?
A chick can go 3 days without food or water, but i usually try to get them out by 48 hours.
Ideally, you would wait until all the chicks are hatched, but often that's not possible, so i try to get the first hatches out when no (or few) other eggs are pipping. That is the dangerous time to have fluctuation in humidity, while they're pipped and trying to zip because the inner membrane kind of shrink wraps them, and they can't move. Then they'll require help getting out.
If at all possible though, wait out the late comers. If the first one hatched this morning, then i would give the rest until Wednesday morning or Tuesday night. They'll probably all be done by then.
It is fun and addictive to incubate them yourself. But you're also doing the thing that makes it absolutely the best: turning them over to good broodies after hatch. I got to do that this time, and it is Wonderful!
Enjoy your hatch!
You can leave them in there up to 72 hours, I usually pull them out around 48hrs also though. I also have a crummy quality black silkie hen that loves chicks. She does not have to be broody, she sees chicks then she steals chicks from other hens. I was gonna get rid of her but she has been nice to have around when I don't want to brood chicks myself.
Another hatched overnight and one early this morning. Only one more to go. I took the three oldest out (they were getting very active) and gave them to the two silkie hens. They went right under and the hens started to chatter to them. This is the first time for those two hens, but they seem to be doing good so far. I'll give the others to the experienced hen when they are ready.