Cats Cradle....did the vet ever tell you what exactly is wrong with Smudgie?
I know that is is like to nurse them...trust me, you will get if you have not already gotten more attached to them. I had a little Naked Neck that ended up with a head injury that caused her to have seizures...I nursed her for days and when it became apparent she was never going to be able to be in the flock with the others and the seizures were happening every 10 minutes or so we had to do the humane thing and put her down. It was very saddening.
Well I just looked at my incubator, and got all excited because I saw a pip, got the flashlight to take a better look and it turns out it is just a little extra build up of shell/calcium on the egg. BOOOO I know better than to just sit there watch now because I think my mind starts playing tricks on my and I think I see the eggs move, then I think I hear them. One day a few hatches ago on day 19 I kept hearing this chirp, so I would go sit in front of the incubator and wait and listen. After several hours of doing this on and off the whole day I finally realized the chirp was from a wild bird sitting on the fence post outside the house. lol
I also run my incubator at 99.4, so somewhat cooler than what other people run, this does change the incubation period. I did have on my first hatch have some pip on the night of day 20 and hatch in the early morning hours of day 21, the others were into day 22 before they hatched. 99.4 is what my Brinsea directions say. I also have a cooling off feature that mimics the momma hen getting off the nest to go eat and what not. This feature actually drops the humidity and heat for 2 hours every 24 hours. The directions say to start this feature on day 7 and end it on day 18. I usually try to candle during those times as well.
So last night when I went in my larger coop to count heads and tuck them in for the night, I started panic because my white rock hen was not in her crate with her babies...I was looking everywhere for the three of them...finally found her in a nesting box, so guess what she has left that crate on her own. Now I have it open for one of my broodies. I think I might move her there tonight with a few eggs and lock her in...then maybe tomorrow night I can slip one of my incubator chicks in there with her and she will thing she hatched it. One less to go to the brooder and one more automatically integrated into the flock. I think I will do this with my Naked Neck hen, Nancy....she has been broody the longest of the two and has not had a baby yet...the other one Onxy already had 4 this spring.
Okay...well three cheers for more hatches today!