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Chicks about to hatch?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Brookeee2013, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. Brookeee2013

    Brookeee2013 In the Brooder

    Sep 21, 2012
    Ringgold, Ga
    My Coop
    Okay so my chicks are about to hatch and im really nervous. Some are due to hatch this weekend and some next week. When they hatch, what do i do? what if im not there? how long do i leave them in the incubator? Is it okay if i put them in a big storage box with shavings in it with a heat lamp? How warm does the lamp need to be? How long before i can put them in the coop?

  2. 3 NH reds

    3 NH reds Songster

    Dec 5, 2011
    Western Mass
    Chicks can stay in the incubator for 24 hours no problem. You want them in until they are dry. Your next move is into an area that is around 95*. take the chicks one by one and dip the beak into food then their water. Its a good idea to have an area big enough they can move away from the light if they are hot. crowded chicks are cold chicks far from the light are hot. Slowly lower the heat each week by 5*. The chicks know what temp is good. Read up here all you can but you will be fine.
  3. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Chicks live off the yolk they absorb just before hatching for up to 3 days. So they will be O.K. in the incubator if you are not there. You can take them out and place them in the brooder as soon as they've dried out and fluffed up.
    Aim for a brooder temp around 95* in the warmest spot and lower the temperature ± 5* each week, so they will get used to lower temps. It doesn't have to be exactly 5*, it's just a guide. The chicks will let you know what temperature they are comfortable at. By the time they are 6 weeks old they should be fully feathered and won't need the heat lamp anymore. You can then start moving them out, during the day at first and when they're o.k. leave them out during the nights as well.

    For the brooder: make sure you have a warm area and a cooler area where they can escape the heat if they feel too warm. Don't put the food and water too close to the heat lamp and place it on something so it's slightly off the floor. Otherwise the chicks will mess it up all the time. I give my new chicks some apple cider vinegar (ACV) in their drink water for the first week or 2. The ratio is ±4-5 tablespoons to a gallon water. This helps prevent pasty butt (poop clogging up their backsides, can be fatal). Organic ACV with the "mother" is the best.

    Good luck with your hatch!
  4. Becci

    Becci Chirping

    Apr 11, 2012
    When they hatch, what do i do?

    You sit on your hands and wait until everyone is hatched and dried! Don't open the incubator until there are no more pips, shrink wrapped chicks are not fun. Once the babies have dried, you can move them to the brooder.

    What if I'm not there?

    What if? You'll miss out on them hatching, but they'll be fine.

    How long do i leave them in the incubator?

    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Until everyone is hatched and dried. As sumi said, they'll live off of the nutrients in the yolk for the next three days. [/FONT]

    Is it okay if i put them in a big storage box with shavings in it with a heat lamp?

    Rubbermaid containers are my favorite. Easy to clean, easy to store. Aged/dried pine or aspen shavings are okay, cedar isn't recommended. Many people talk about how they've used it with no issues *yet*, but the fumes aren't good on anything's lungs, especially small chicks in a tight space like a brooder.

    How warm does the lamp need to be?

    In general, 95 F is ideal for the first week. Don't stress over it too much. When I hatched my first chicks I spent over two hours one morning trying to get the brooder to read 95* on the dot, but the more chicks I hatched, the more I realized that it really doesn't matter. If you position your lamp on *one* side of the brooder, the chicks will move where they need to be depending on how warm/cold they are. They know how to move to the side without the lamp if they're too hot, and closer to the lamp if they're cold. The only thing you need to do is watch for signs that they are too cold or hot.

    Panting, backing up in the corners away from the lamp = too hot.

    Piling on top of one another directly under the lamp = too cold.

    Lower the wattage of the bulb, or lift the lamp a little further from the brooder every week until you have them at whatever temperature you plan to put them in when they go to their permanent home.

    How long before i can put them in the coop?

    Once they have all of their feathers you can work on getting them outside. If it's colder out, you'll need to slowly get them used to the cooler temperatures. Even with feathers, it'd be a huge shock to go from a 70*+ degree house to 50*- degree coop. I'd recommend a temporary heat lamp in the coop, just continue to drop a few degrees every week until they're used to the weather.

    Don't stress too much, have fun and post lots of pictures when they hatch. Oh, and welcome to BYC. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2012
    2 people like this.
  5. ozexpat

    ozexpat CocoBeach Farm

    the biggest trick will be dealing with 2 different hatches in the same incubator - how far apart are the due dates? The humidity needed for the first batch may cause issues for the second,
  6. Dasp

    Dasp In the Brooder

    Nov 10, 2012
    Simi valley
    No worries, Those little chicks are strong little birds, They will last in an incubator with no water or food up to 72 hours!

    But recommended to take them out as soon as you see their hair fluffed.

    As for the second batch, you will find that the newly hatched chicks can contaminate other eggs due at a later date.

    Put them in a brooder and keep the temps no less than 95Degrees.

    Keep their water away from the warmth and very little water as newborn chicks will intentionally drown themselves

    attempting to wet their hair so they have that egg wet feeling.

    Hope this helps,
  7. Brookeee2013

    Brookeee2013 In the Brooder

    Sep 21, 2012
    Ringgold, Ga
    My Coop
    they are about 3-4 days apart i believe

  8. Brookeee2013

    Brookeee2013 In the Brooder

    Sep 21, 2012
    Ringgold, Ga
    My Coop
    Thanks guys. Btw my incubator is kinda dirty in the inside due to someone hatching quail in it. is that okay? or will it make the chicks sick
  9. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    It might, I don't know. I always make sure the incubator and equipment is clean. Which it should be before you put eggs in it [​IMG]
  10. arcy liger

    arcy liger Chirping

    Jul 6, 2012
    my chicks are going to hatch in two days .........One with me and the other in lock down
    the first batch only hatched one and is in lock down for a week.....Any advise

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