How long a baby chick can survive in incubator?

TheGoldMAN

Chirping
Jul 7, 2021
44
92
66
Hi dear friends and co-workers.
There is a baby chicken which came out in day 20 and some others which would come out today and maybe in the following days.
I wanted to ask you that how long a baby chicken can survive without food or water in the incubator?
I have to wait for other chicks to hatch the eggs and get dry. And it makes a little bit longer for all to come out, and synchronize the starter program for all of them.

Thanks. ❤️❤️
 

Huntmaster

Crowing
May 2, 2021
1,199
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North West Ohio
I like to get hatched chicks out as soon as I can and get them in warm brooder with food and water. But they can go without food and water for about 48 hours but I never go that long. Even if not fully dried I have put them in brooder at 95 degrees. I remove them from incubator fast and not leaving it open but for a quick removal to not loose all your humidity. I haven't had any trouble doing this. It also keeps hatchlings from playing pinball with other eggs.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
13 Years
Feb 2, 2009
29,513
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Southeast Louisiana
Baby chicks absorb the yolks before they hatch. They can live off of that yolk for 72 hours or more. That's what the post office shipping regulations are based on. A former postmaster was kind enough to come on the forum and explain that. The chicks have to be shipped within 24 hours of hatch and the route has to give a reasonable expectation that they will be delivered with the next 48 hours. Occasionally a shipment can be delayed and they run into trouble, but usually if they are delivered on time there aren't any issues, at least from them dying of starvation or thirst. If they get too cold or too hot that's a different situation.

I once had a hen where her first chick was hatched late Monday and she did not bring her chicks off of the nest until early Friday morning. That may sound like a lot longer but if you count the hours it's not a lot more than 72 hours, more like 80 hours.

There is nothing wrong with them eating and drinking sooner, I consider it good if they do, but it is not an absolute need.
 

K0k0shka

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
Jul 24, 2019
4,052
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Boston Area, MA
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There are two things going on with a chick being left in the incubator. Not having food and water is only one. And yes they can survive a few days without. The bigger problem with leaving chicks in the incubator for extended periods of time is temperature. While the incubator is just right for chickens still in the egg or in the process of hatching, it's too hot for chicks already hatched. They'll be okay for a day or so, but anything longer and they run the risk of overheating and getting dehydrated (and here the lack of access to water becomes an actual problem). They can also get pasty butt from the dehydration, and, if not caught and resolved early, it can kill them. It's okay for chicks to hatch over the course of several days - in fact, that's normal. Doesn't mean you should wait until all of them are hatched to start taking them out though. If they're looking mostly dry (even if not 100%), it's safe to take them out and put them in a brooder under/near a heat source. If you open and close the incubator quickly, it will be fine. It's best to wait until you have at least two hatched chicks, and move them out together. That's because a single chick alone in a brooder will scream its lungs out :lol: Two will keep each other company. Likewise, as more keep hatching, if you have a single new one, wait until a buddy hatches and dries and then move them together. For the same reason - if there's a single one hatched and alone in the incubator, it will cry more. So work in pairs or groups. Good luck!
 

TheGoldMAN

Chirping
Jul 7, 2021
44
92
66

I like to get hatched chicks out as soon as I can and get them in warm brooder with food and water. But they can go without food and water for about 48 hours but I never go that long. Even if not fully dried I have put them in brooder at 95 degrees. I remove them from incubator fast and not leaving it open but for a quick removal to not loose all your humidity. I haven't had any trouble doing this. It also keeps hatchlings from playing pinball with other eggs.
Yes we can do this with brooder but my main point is the synchronization of the chickens for food and light programing, and the time that they get mature and start laying eggs. Because if they start to lay eggs sooner than 21 or 22 weeks of age, their eggs get smaller in size and starting for over that time is a waste of money.
 

K0k0shka

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
Jul 24, 2019
4,052
11,191
547
Boston Area, MA
My Coop
My Coop
Yes we can do this with brooder but my main point is the synchronization of the chickens for food and light programing, and the time that they get mature and start laying eggs. Because if they start to lay eggs sooner than 21 or 22 weeks of age, their eggs get smaller in size and starting for over that time is a waste of money.
Huh? I'm not sure I understand this. Chickens aren't an exact science. You don't know when exactly they'll start laying, down to the single week or days. They'll start when they start. Might be months apart from each other even if they all hatched on the same day. So when exactly you take them out of the incubator as hatchlings has absolutely nothing to do with that.
 

TheGoldMAN

Chirping
Jul 7, 2021
44
92
66
Baby chicks absorb the yolks before they hatch. They can live off of that yolk for 72 hours or more. That's what the post office shipping regulations are based on. A former postmaster was kind enough to come on the forum and explain that. The chicks have to be shipped within 24 hours of hatch and the route has to give a reasonable expectation that they will be delivered with the next 48 hours. Occasionally a shipment can be delayed and they run into trouble, but usually if they are delivered on time there aren't any issues, at least from them dying of starvation or thirst. If they get too cold or too hot that's a different situation.

I once had a hen where her first chick was hatched late Monday and she did not bring her chicks off of the nest until early Friday morning. That may sound like a lot longer but if you count the hours it's not a lot more than 72 hours, more like 80 hours.

There is nothing wrong with them eating and drinking sooner, I consider it good if they do, but it is not an absolute need.
Thanks for your complete explanations.
I want to make a closed system layer chickens. For this, I have to control the situations as much as I can. And what you said is very comforting for my mind. ❤️❤️
 

TheGoldMAN

Chirping
Jul 7, 2021
44
92
66
There are two things going on with a chick being left in the incubator. Not having food and water is only one. And yes they can survive a few days without. The bigger problem with leaving chicks in the incubator for extended periods of time is temperature. While the incubator is just right for chickens still in the egg or in the process of hatching, it's too hot for chicks already hatched. They'll be okay for a day or so, but anything longer and they run the risk of overheating and getting dehydrated (and here the lack of access to water becomes an actual problem). They can also get pasty butt from the dehydration, and, if not caught and resolved early, it can kill them. It's okay for chicks to hatch over the course of several days - in fact, that's normal. Doesn't mean you should wait until all of them are hatched to start taking them out though. If they're looking mostly dry (even if not 100%), it's safe to take them out and put them in a brooder under/near a heat source. If you open and close the incubator quickly, it will be fine. It's best to wait until you have at least two hatched chicks, and move them out together. That's because a single chick alone in a brooder will scream its lungs out :lol: Two will keep each other company. Likewise, as more keep hatching, if you have a single new one, wait until a buddy hatches and dries and then move them together. For the same reason - if there's a single one hatched and alone in the incubator, it will cry more. So work in pairs or groups. Good luc
Yeah, you're right. But the body temperature of a chicken is about that high. 37 to 41 degrees.

And we usually take chickens out of hatcher when 95 percent of them is dry. I think this means that every egg has to be hatched.

Thank you. 💜
 
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