Mahonri's 2nd Annual New Year's Day Hatch

My first adventure in hatching eggs.
I asked for an incubator for Christmas. My husband ordered it early due to a sale they were having on the Brinsea website. I "had" to come up with a reason to try incubating because the itch to try it was there. I saw Mahonri's thread and talked my husband into letting me use my present early.

23 Eggs set on 11 Dec 10 at 12 PM.
I set seven shipped lavender Orpington eggs and 16 eggs from my own pullets. They make quite a colorful assortment. Now the waiting begins!


"Red neck" candler all set to check the eggs!

I knew with the dark eggs I was going to need a strong flashlight and some way to concentrate the beam. My husband suggested this idea. It is a spotlight with a plumber's helper bottom. We drilled out a hole in the top so the light could come through. It works pretty nifty!

Egg candling for my first time!
With the dark colored shells it was hard to see the veining but you could tell the ones that were not developing and the ones that were.

Calendar Pictures Contest Winner!
While we were all just staring at eggs in incubators, Mahonri and many other great BYC'ers decided to run different contests to keep the thread moving along and to keep our minds and hands occupied. The contest that ended first was for "calendar worthy" pictures. It was won with this adorable entry by CrystalCreek.

Funniest Pictures Contest Winner!
The next week's contest was to enter your funniest chicken picture. LareePQG won the contest with this entry. I don't know how the heck those chickens kept in one place long enough to get buried!

On the 19th of December (give or take a few hours) we went into lockdown. Now the excitement was really building. Out of the 23 eggs I set, I had 8 that went into lockdown. Four eggs were the lavender Orpingtons and four eggs were from my girls.

Rooster Crowing Contest Winner!
While trying to keep our noses off the incubators, we also had the Rooster Crowing contest. Murano farms won the contest with this handsome boy! The winner was announced on the 26th of December. Getting close to hatching day!
Another contest that we had going was to see who would have the first chick hatched after midnight New Year's Day. We used the Atomic clock to synchronize every one. Here is the time from the winner:
And here is the chick!
As you can probably tell, the winner was just a little excited about getting the pictures taken and uploaded. At a little more than six minutes after midnight, and out of all the people hatching on the thread, the winner wound up being Mahonri! It seemed so fitting that he was the one!
Now to win this contest, the rules were that you were to take a picture of the atomic clock and then a picture of the newly hatched chick. Since this was New Year's Eve going into New Year's Day, there were a few people out on the town. Since they were not home at midnight, some enlisted the help of family members to get that first chick picture. I guess there were a few misunderstandings since Sumatra's dad took this picture:
Not quite the atomic clock!
At this point there were pips, peeps, wiggling eggs and chicks all over the world and I had eight eggs sitting in the incubator looking like they had just been set. All New Year's Day I worried over my eggs and was starting to think that I had done something wrong and I wouldn't have any chicks hatch. But at about 7:30 PM that day my husband called me over to the incubator and this is what I saw:

A PIP!!!!!
I was so excited when I saw it. I couldn't believe that my eggs were starting to hatch. I tried to stay up to watch it hatch but I was so tired. One of our dog's woke me up at around 2:30 AM. This is what I found in the incubator:

My first chick I ever hatched!
It wasn't even the egg tha had pipped first. That egg hatched next:
I actually got to watch this one zip and hatch. Once it started zipping, this one went fast! It fluffed out to look like this:
Chick #3 needed some help getting out of the shell but here it is fluffing up in the incubator:
At this point the hatching seemed to stop. I still had the four Orpington eggs and one more of my girls eggs in the incubator. I had pulled all the hatched chicks out of the incubator and they were sleeping in the brooder looking like "puddles" of chicks:


I was starting to worry about the other five eggs but on the evening of the 2nd, I got my first pip on one of the Orpington eggs and woke up to this:
Since the chick was pretty much dry and I didn't want it to be all alone while we were at work that day, I moved him to the brooder and decided to candle the four remaining eggs. Two of them peeped at me when I picked them up so I put them right back in the incubator and candled the other two. My Ameraucana egg, I figured was a quitter but the last Orpington egg was really dark just not internally pipped yet. I left both of them in the incubator just in case.
I came home from work to this:
My second Orpington! The chick was mainly dry but I left it in because the other egg that had peeped at me in the morning was zipping. A few hours later it was hatching:
I wound up with six adorable chicks from my first attempt at hatching! I couldn't have been happier!





And here they all are a week later:
All in all it has been a wonderful experience. The people on the thread were always there to help you. If you ever think about hatching chicks for the first time, there is nothing like doing it with a bunch of really nice people who have done it before!
Thank you Mahonri for starting the thread!
Can't wait for the Easter hatch!