How long will a hatched chick survive in the incubator?


In the Brooder
8 Years
Aug 28, 2011
Feltwell, UK
This is my first time incubating and tonight (day 20) I have two out of six which have externally pipped. One is very active and I can see his little beak poking through the hole. The other is still but has broken through the membrane. Anyway, I am leaving well alone but what do I do when the active chick hatches (hopefully overnight) yet the others haven't? I thought I'm not supposed to open the incubator whilst the eggs are hatching, but how long will a hatched chick survive in the incubator without food or water? We have a box and heat lamp set up all ready and were planning on feeding chick crumb. Also I have another batch on day 15, will these be able to go in with the chicks that (hopefully) hatch out tonight/tomorrow and will be 1 weekish old?

Any other advice would be very welcome. It is so exciting but very tense here tonight!!!
A chick can live 12 hours or so in the incubator ( although i get them out as soon as safely possible)
you must wait until no other eggs have pipped, then take the chick out quickly and get the humidity back up to 65 %
I have left mine for 24 hours without a problem and heard they can stay even longer if necessary. Welcome to BYC!!
A chick can live in the bator up to 3 days. The yolk absorbed just before hatching will nourish the chick for over 48 hours. I remove my chicks from the bator when they are active and dried, usually 6-8 hours.
I leave them alone for a day, then transfer them together if possible. I agree with the last poster though, they can last more than 48 hours from yolk absorbtion. I have read in many places, the longer you leave them the better up to a day or so. Congrats!
Thank you all for your replies. So I shouldn't find myself with pipped eggs and hatched chicks for more that 24 hours then, cos if so then I'm in trouble? I am beginning to appreciate the humble hen for the truly magnificent creature it is!

Is chick crumb/water enough for them to start off with?
Yupper, up to 3 days. When all eggs that piped are hatched and chicks dry. Might have a few wobbling eggs without pips so then you can grab out the dry ones.
The first chick hatched just now!!!! It's peeping and cheeping away and the egg looks cleanish, but there is a bit of mucousy gunk, is this normal?

There are 4 other pipped eggs but it is so hard just watching the little guy cheeping away all lonely.
Nah, they can live up to 72 hours in there. How else would day old chicks surviv the shipping process? I like to leave them a day to get fluffed up and find their feet before I transfer them to the brooder. If I have some that are up and running and some that are still lying snoozing, I'll transfer the boisterous ones and leave the weaker ones in the bator a bit longer to give them some peace and quiet and to make asure they don't get kicked about and trampled on while they're just trying to doze quietly...

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