16 paws you are so very kind to say that. I am truly humbled. Those two little chicks broke every rule in hatching and their determination to live played a big roll in their survival. Their humidity was bouncing all over the place, their temp was down. I had no ideal which way to position one of the eggs in the bator because the eggs was so dark (Welsummer) that I couldn't candle anything even in a dark closet. The egg I thought was a goner at least gave me a clue which direction to turn the egg thanks to the little beak being through the air chamber against the shell. The big problem was that we got up at 5:30 to check them and the bator was tipped over. OMG! I hit the panic button. Both eggs were laying on the counter, both were zipping, both chicks were screaming their little brains out. I got them back in the bator got the temp and humidity up for them and within a half an hour they were both out of their eggs and doing well. I have no idea how they tipped the little incubator unless 7 got things rocking as it zipped and tipped it over. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong yet we somehow muddled through and have two darling little chicks to show that determination to be born along with a little divine intervention paid off in the end.
Tonight we went out to hook up a brooder light for them (cold night )and DH took pictures that I'll get posted ASAP. 7 is making me wonder if it's mommy isn't our lone Speckled Sussex hen as it is marked differently than the Welsummer/Buff O crosses and little Rocky as I have named the smallest looks to be a pure Buff O. I named it Rocky as he or she got off to a Rocky start. They are all active, eating well and momma Aggie is being just the perfect mother.
The three big things that I have learned from this experience is:
Do not trust the other hens not to lay eggs in the boody's nest box. They are evil little sneaks when it comes to foisting their eggs off on some poor maternally possessed flock mate.
There is so much good advice in this thread, one sage suggestion being to make sure your broodies have a private area where there is no chance of any other hens laying eggs in the broody's nest. That's already been corrected. We now have a nursery. When the next broody pops up, she will immediately be moved to the nursery coop with her allotment of eggs
Get a better incubator for emergencies. Actually we are going to make an incubator to keep on hand for emergencies. We do not plan to brood chicks again unless a momma hen is doing the work nor do we plan to incubator our own. So having a turner, monitors, alarms bells and whistles isn't a priority. But having a safe place for late hatchers to be born in is imperative. My husband is very good at building such things so hopefully that will become his assignment.
The whole experience reminds me of the first time another nurse and I delivered a baby that decided it just HAD to get itself born before the doctor got there. Neither of us had ever delivered a baby before but hey, we gotterdun.
Thanks again for the wonderful post and compliments.