I just wanted to share my story and then read your replies. Currently my chicks are 2 weeks old and doing fine in their brooder. I got 24 barnyard mix eggs from a stranger who told me they had some fertile chicken hatching eggs. She charged me $1.50 a dozen! I took them home right away and put them in my homemade incubator. (A styrofoam container that I had rigged up with a fan, heater wire and thermostat). I had ran it for several weeks prior so I could get the temperature set right. I was shooting for 100 degrees. I turned the eggs 3 times in a 24 hour period. And during that process I ended up breaking 3 eggs. And by candeling I threw away 5 eggs that weren't developing. So I was left with 16 viable eggs. I thought I had the temp. set pretty good. But the temperature varied from 95.4 to 102.8. So I bought a incubator at the feed store and once I had it set up and the temp. right, I transferred the eggs to it. The store bought incubator varied from 98 to 100.5. Plus it had a automatic egg turner that turned the eggs 6 times in a 24 hour period. So I counted down the days and at day 18, I removed the egg turner. The morning of the 21st day they started pipping. The 1st chick hatched at 7am. 3 more the 2nd hour. And they kept hatching through out the day. By my bedtime there were 14 chicks. At 3am the next day I got out of bed to see if the last 2 had hatched yet. They hadn't. Their pipping holes were a little bigger but they weren't hatching. So I figured they had died. So I took the incubator to the brooder and put the chicks in it. And since I didn't have anything to loose, I broke the last 2 eggs open to see what had happened. To my surprise they were alive! ( I've read that your not to help them out of their shells cause they will be weakly) So they dried in the brooder while I went back to bed. That morning I went to check on them. 15 chicks were running around but 1 just lay on it's back. I picked it up to put it on it's feet but it just sat there. Later when I checked it was on it's back again. So I picked it up and held it in my hands on it's feet. I kept it there in my hands for several minutes. Then put it back into the brooder. This time it took a few steps and stayed upright. Now when I go check on them I can't tell which chick I had to help to stand and I sure can't tell that any of them are weakened by not hatching out of their shells by themselves. I have 16 healthy chicks out of 24 eggs! Being a first timer I figure that's a pretty good hatch rate for all the problems they went through.