Day 19 Question


5 Years
Jun 4, 2014
Victoria, Australia.
Hi all, we are late on day 19 here, and I feel that things are starting to gear up a notch.

I was in the coop today and as Broody stood up to stretch her legs for a moment I had a chance to have a quick peek at her eggs.

First thing I noticed was there is no 'rotten egg' smell like we had last time - the previous hen hatched a miserable 1 out of 11 eggs, with the rest being rotten and two actually exploding.

Second thing I noticed was that there are no pips or zips yet to be seen.

Third thing - and this is the one I find interesting - I can't hear chirping at all, but I can hear a 'scratch, scratch, scratch' sound, like there is a mouse crawling around the nest. It was very quiet but became louder once broody got back on the eggs.

What is this? Are things happening inside the egg in preparation for hatching? Is this normal?

Thanks in advance. So excited right now!

On the 18th or 19th day the chick positions its self for hatching. This is the most critical time in a baby chickens' life because on the 18th through the 19th day the chick MUST move its head under its right wing so that its bill is in the proper place to pierce the air cell for its first breath of air. Next the chick must slowly cut its way out of the shell with the only tooth that a chicken will ever have, its egg tooth. It does this by turning in the shell while scoring the eggshell from the inside. Any handling, candling, gawking at, of fooling around with an egg at this stage can result in a chick being mal positioned in the egg and dying as a result.

The absolute worst thing that incubator manufactures ever did was put windows in the top or doors of their incubators. Windows on an incubator are as useful as a screen door on a submarine and they result in about as many tragedies. At least by the start of the 19th day keep your meat hooks out of the incubator, even if you have to paint or paper over that little window to save yourself from the urge to open it up and look inside it or help a chick then paint it over. Have faith and believe in the power of Gaia and in her helper Maw Nature to hatch healthy and strong biddies for you. And if you forget to lay your eggs down, do not mess around with your eggs just turn off the egg turner (if so equipped) and let nature take its course. You'll kill fewer chicks that way.
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Probably just as well that I don't have my eggs in an incubator then.

I have a broody hen sitting on top of them, so the opportunity to 'see what's going on' is limited to when she voluntarily steps off the nest to eat and drink, which is not very often.

Aside from candling at Day 8, these eggs have not been touched by anyone, and I intend to go through to day 21 along the same vein. I was just curious as to what the noise was that I was hearing - I guess it must just be chicks moving the eggs around, or moving within the shells.


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