My Tiny Brood of Backyard Chooks

chooks, hens or chickens?

Incubator hatch disappointment


We had the incubator humming quietly away in our kitchen for 23 days with no sign of hatching. The eggs were due to hatch on day 21. On the morning of day 24 I gave up and turned the incubator off.

I had candled the eggs at day 19 and thought that at least one egg (a cream coloured Plymouth Barred Rock) had a fully formed chick inside and potentially one of the Barnevelder eggs but it was difficult to see inside their brown speckled eggs.  This was also my first time candling eggs so I wasn’t really sure what I was looking for.

That evening I broke open the eggs to see how many were fertile and at what stage had any chicks died inside the shells.

Six of the seven eggs were either infertile or hadn’t started to develop for some reason, possibly because they were too old at the time of setting the eggs. The seventh egg had a fully formed chick inside that had absorbed most of the yolk so must have died just before it was due to hatch. I have since learnt that I shouldn’t have candled the eggs after day 18 when the incubator goes into lockdown, so I am guessing that may have harmed the chick.

I was of course disappointed with the outcome but then I did know there was only a slight chance that the eggs were still fertile after losing both our roosters a few weeks before setting the eggs.

So what next?

I now have six Speckled Sussex eggs that I bought off Trademe (New Zealand’s equivalent to eBay) in the incubator. They are a reasonably rare breed in New Zealand so I hope they hatch. They are due on December 6th.

7 thoughts on “Incubator hatch disappointment

  1. Sorry to hear about the chick hatching petering out. I haven’t been game enough to try this for myself yet! Thank you for sharing your experience, it’s so valuable to know what other people have tried, and it gives me confidence to (one day!) have a go. 🙂

    • Hi Jessica,
      Thanks for your lovely comment. It has taken me three years from when I first got chickens to getting my incubator. It is quite a big decision, mainly due to the cost and the commitment to be home for hatch times and baby chicks.
      But I’m hoping my next batch will be more successfull.

  2. So sorry. 😦 But it would have been sad for that one chick to be all alone. I hope your next hatch goes well. Will you hand-raise them? Or try to pass them off to your hens?

  3. Sorry to hear. Good luck with the next hatch!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s