Hi all! First-time hatchers borrowing a friends hovabator to hatch small batches of chickens over the next few weeks. Our 4h club has a youth show coming up and includes a chick auction so it was a perfect timing to let us experience hatching! Our very first batch is EE/RIR/barred rock mix and are 3 days old now. I can see some feathers coming in all with fun barnyard mix markings! I was a nervous wreck the whole time. Read forum after forum, blogs, pins, and books. I set 15 eggs with moving embryos into the hatcher with no water to start as my air cells were very small from too high humidity. Day 19 check showed better lines, probably the "natural" draw down and I was just early? In the end it seemed to be just fine. Day 21 we had first pips and all were hatched within about 48 (long) hours. I didnt sleep well until that last wiggly baby was out. I was able to watch them and see the first breathes, the spasms and spinning that causes the zipping and think I can tell now by the chicks sounds when they are really at the finish line and ready to kick out. That first 24 hours were spent fluffing up and resting after some saveachick and some fussing by me counting toes and checking them over. There was a lot less gross mess with the leftovers and eggs then I thought there would be. I never knew there was so much dander-fluff mess however and found towels easiest to use. I also didnt know first poops were green. And yes they all try to taste it I think there are 14 girls and 1 roo in this batch going by feet size, coloring and wing checks on day 1. They are all showing personality now and acting like chicks. Scratching, sunning, eating/pooping, peckin, cheeping, falling asleep on thier faces.... bascially being most adorable and making it hard to not want to keep some boogers for myself. There will be cute chickie pictures here till they go to thier new homes Valentine's day! Until then we will enjoy NomNom, Charlie, Annabelle, Madeline, Martyn, Leelo, Xtreme, Quentin, Georgie, Riley, Ophelia, Violet, Kevin, Jenny, and Iggy (all named by the 4h teen) Stay tuned for more in our adventure!