I am on day 20 of my first batch of chick. They are old English game bantams and two have hatched already. They are crawling all over the other eggs and rolling them around. How soon can I move them out of the incubator into a brooder?
Hello. You should remove them from the incubator and into the brooder as soon as they have hatched but be extremely careful not to let them get cool. Some people take the eggs out at day 20 so the rest of the hatching takes place in the brooder. Make sure the brooder is at the correct temperature (32 °C-38 °C or 90 °F-100 °F) and that it's been running for a day or so before placing the eggs in to guarantee a steady heat source. You don't want the hatching chickens to crawl over the other eggs because they can infect the unhatched eggs with blood and such through the porous egg shells. The shell is made up of 17,000 tiny pores and air and any moisture can pass through.
And, don't make the mistake of helping the chicks out of the eggs (although I have done this because I couldn't resist...) because a chick that gets help to hatch will always have problems either caused by infection or physical damage. But in saying this I have had chicks that I've helped survive but die later on. Young chicks are the most susceptible to disease, illness or stress and make sure you clean and disinfect the incubator and all its parts, floor, water pan, trays etc after hatching and again before you use it next.
How exciting for you. Hatching is so much fun! I'd love to hear how you and the chicks are now.
I would not take them out. Every time you open the incubator, you release humidity. If a chick is pipped you can shrink wrap it. If you can cover the windows without, covering the vent holes. The darkness will keep them quiet and asleep. I have my bators in a closet for that reason. Good luck and I hope you have a great hatch.
Very cute. I do not remove mine from the incubator until all have hatched. they are fine for 3 days without food and water. If you open the incubator early you risk killing the others who are not hatched yet. Plus the rolling and moving encourages the others to hatch.
Old English are one of my favorite breeds! How exciting for you!
As far as taking them out, I agree with Apyl. I (generally) leave mine in until they all hatch out. On the off occasion that I don't, I always make sure to leave them in for at least 24 hours, so that you don't send them into shock when you take them out of the 'bator.