So the magical day of hatching has arrived! In wonder, you saw these fluffy little beings hatch from the mere tiny eggs you placed in the incubator, or from your duck, a matter of days ago! But now the little ones are almost gone, and you are beginning to worry — what are you going to do on earth?
Hatching baby chicken
Keep calm – perhaps the baby chickens are tired!
Many people worry about poor little babies – hatching is a very egg-hausting business, and sometimes after a hard day of hatching, the little chicks are just plain old wrecked! So if you see your baby chickens slumping and panting over and just looking a little lanky, don’t panic – they’re probably just wrecked by the process of hard hatching.
They’ll look pretty damp as well, and you may be tempted to try and dry them out. Don’t worry – in a couple of hours, they’ll fluff up on their own. It’s important not to move the baby chicks from their mother or the incubator until they have fluffed up completely, otherwise they could catch a chill!
Encourage them to drink water with some
They actually eat the yolk and the membrane of their egg shell when baby chickens hatch, which provides them with loads of very useful nutrients! Since the baby chickens have already consumed their nutrients from the egg, they really do not have to feed again until 1-2 days after hatching.
However, within the first 24 hours of their lives, it is very important that the baby chickens have some water. The baby chickens do not know how to really drink because they are just hours old! The mother hen can teach her little babies how to drink fresh water if they’ve been naturally hatched, so make sure there’s some nearby.
If the chickens have been hatched in an incubator, a baby chicken waterer should be popped into the incubator. If they have not cottoned on to drinking within a few hours, you might need to encourage them by gently dipping their beak into the water. As an adult waterer can spell disaster for your precious baby chickens, it is vital that the water is in a specially built baby chicken waterer (they can fall in). Be careful to treat them well, as they are likely to be distressed – but drinking is very important! Just be persistent and patient if they don’t get it at first – but still gentle.
Hatching baby chicken
Don’t take them out before all the baby chickens have been hatched for sure.
When it comes to hatching, at the same time, you might find some hatching. It may be tempting to take the baby chickens out of the incubator after a couple of hours and bring them into the brooder. The hatching is certainly all over, right? Incorrect! There’s no real way to predict when the chickens are going to hatch – you might think it’s all over when another one pops out of the shell unexpectedly 10 hours later! This is why holding your baby chickens in the incubator for 24-48 hours is necessary, as their cheaping actually allows any other baby chickens to hatch out in the egg! Keep the other fertilised eggs in the incubator for only one more day, even after taking the baby chickens out after 24-48 hours, just to be sure.
The day of hatching can be really exciting, generally followed by waves of ‘what am I doing now?’ ‘Be informed, but do not worry – that way, in no time at all, your baby chickens will be on their way to safe adulthood.
We all know how fast these little ones grow up, so you’ll want to make sure you have the knowledge you need to raise a happy, safe flock. You wouldn’t want to risk making catastrophic errors that could affect their growth, development or worse!