My children talked me into raising chickens. What was I thinking?!
So far, the process has been pretty painless and I hate to admit – fun!
We started with eggs and an incubator. After three weeks of tending our eggs, the chicks finally arrived! It was a pretty great day – even I have to admit.
Since they’ve left their shell and started wandering around our yard (and pooping everywhere!), the excitement has waned a bit.
If you are thinking of doing the same crazy thing, there are a few things you should know. Perhaps the most interesting is the chicken hatching calendar. Here is an outline of the most significant days in your chicks’ development. There are also a few technicalities to note as well.
Day 1: The eyes, head and nervous system start to develop. Set the incubator temperature at 99 degrees and the humidity at 45%.
Day 2: The heart develops and starts beating.
Day 3: The legs and wings begin to form.
Day 4: The tongue develops.
Day 5: The reproductive organs develop – today, your baby either becomes a hen or a rooster!
Day 6: The beak starts to take shape.
Day 8: The feathers begin to sprout.
Day 10: The beak hardens.
Day 13: The claws develop (with scales).
Day 14: The chick gets into position to start pecking the shell.
Day 16: The beak is fully developed and ready to break the shell.
Day 18: Stop turning the eggs. Set the humidity at 60%.
Day 19: The chicks begin to absorb the yolk sac.
Day 20: The yolk is fully absorbed.
Day 21: The eggs hatch!
After patiently waiting for three weeks, it was so fun to watch those little guys pop out of their shell! I’d love raising chickens if they would just stay cute, fluffy chicks for their entire lives!