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When to start counting???

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by LilMissChz, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. LilMissChz

    LilMissChz Songster

    Feb 16, 2012
    North East, Maryland
    Do you count the day you set the eggs as day 1? Or is day 1 the next day?

    I think I started counting my days 1 day too early. Hence causing me to stress out over nothing!!

  2. dreamer5577

    dreamer5577 Songster

    May 16, 2011
    Depends on when you set the eggs. Before noon? Count it as day one...any time after noon...count the next day as day one.
  3. blkwdw

    blkwdw Songster

    May 29, 2011
    Day one is 24 hours from when you set the eggs.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    In theory, it takes 21 days of development for a chicken egg to hatch. I’ll get to that theory part later.

    An egg does not have a day’s worth of development 2 seconds or two hours after it I put in the incubator. It takes 24 hours for an egg to have a day’s worth of development. If you put it in the incubator at 11:00 a.m., it does not have a day’s worth of development by 1:00 p.m. that afternoon.

    An easy way to look at it is that they should hatch on the day of the week you set them. If you set the eggs on a Tuesday, they should hatch on a Tuesday.

    But that is all theory. Many different things affect when an egg will actually hatch. A very common one is average incubating temperature. If the incubator runs a little warm, the eggs can pip as much as three days early. If the incubator runs a little cool, they can be equally late. But heredity, humidity, size of the egg, how you store them before incubation, and who knows what else can have an effect on when they actually hatch.

    Hatching itself is not an instantaneous process. You get internal pip, external pip, and finally zip and hatch. Along with all this, the chick has to learn how to breathe air instead of live in a liquid environment, has to absorb the yolk, dries up certain blood vessels it no longer needs, and I’m sure does several other things. Some chicks do a lot of this extra stuff between internal and external pip. These normally zip pretty soon after external pip. Some do a lot between external pip and zip. Occasionally you get one that hasn’t quite finished by the time it zips. Even after external pip, it is hard to determine exactly what stage they are in.

    There are other things involved in lockdown, like stopping turning and development inside the egg due to that, but to me the really big one is that they should go into lockdown before external pip. That’s because you should raise the humidity to help prevent shrink-wrapping the chick. Your risk for shrink-wrapping is biggest after external pip. I’ve had external pips when I went into lockdown and those chicks usually did not shrink-wrap, but I have shrink-wrapped a couple. For me it does not happen that much, but it can.

    Exactly when you go into lockdown is not real critical, in my opinion. You don’t want to go too early because of the turning thing, plus you want the egg to lose a certain amount of moisture and you don’t want to wait until after they start to pip. Hitting 18 days exactly is really not that absolutely critical. But I think it is good practice to try to get it right until you learn your incubator and learn how to adjust your hatching techniques. And I think you should generally understand the hatching process, especially that it is not exact. There was a fairly recent post form someone that threw out their eggs after they counted 21 days. Those eggs had live chicks in them.
    1 person likes this.
  5. LilMissChz

    LilMissChz Songster

    Feb 16, 2012
    North East, Maryland
    Wow, that was so entirely helpful. Clearly I was off by one day. Today, 3 chicks hatched, 2 have pips and one is zipped and breathing hard and pushing to come out very soon. Thank you so much for the help and the reassurance I needed. I am a country girl from the start but have never hatched my own. My father always took care of that. I don't ever remember him discarding eggs. His hatched. Unless he was uber clever and dispatched without us knowing... quite possible.

    I have three more with nothing, that will simply sit there til day 25 if I have to.... before taking any further action.

    Thank you all again.

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