Ok, so it wasn't quite a basket draped with a white blanket and a note saying " incubate us," but it was certainly a surprise when fertile eggs were brought to our back door about four weeks ago . We moved to the country a year and a half ago hoping to raise a little family on a little homestead. The plan was bees first , check, then a couple of chickens and some guineas this spring. Well I told this plan to our bird enthusiast neighbor kid ( he 's got a huge flock of every kind of fowl ) and sure enough a couple weeks after out conversation he shows up with 23 eggs . We had no plan , no incubator, no experience and just well no clue . After panicking for about 24 hours I tracked down an incubator from a friends sister and give right in. Trying to get the temperature correct was nothing short of nerve obliterating. We read the forums , followed advice from friend's sister and after temp fluctuations and god only knows what we put them through we came out of it with 9 chicks currently . We had a handful that never developed, 4 rotten eggs, two passed after pipping, two passed after assisted hatch, and two died today in the brooder. One had a bad splayed leg, the other kept rolling onto her back. I think they both overheated when the sun hit the box and they couldn't escape the heat. It has been such a devastatingly sad experience. I can't get the images out of my head - but I have 9 babies and I don't want to lose another so I'm trying to focus on the days ahead. Right now my fears are temperature fluctuations in the box, a large baby with bullying tendencies and one that's panting though the others aren't . We are pretty desperate for insight and advice as we struggle with loss, feelings of ineptitude and immense responsibility .