Ok, I admit it, I am addicted to hatching chickens. They are so adorable and there is a thrill that comes with seeing these babies hatch out of their eggs before our eyes! This is my third round of hatching chickens. Each time has been like Christmas at our house. My kids are as excited as I am and are thrilled when we start seeing little pips in the shells as the chicks are on their journey to enter the world.
I obtained my Silkie chicken eggs from my Facebook friend Brenda Smith who has a slew of Silkies, Paints, and Showgirls. All of which are basically just different kinds of extra fancy chickens. Fancy chickens are my thing. Silkies are considered the lap dogs of chickens, which makes them even more fun. The silkies we previously hatched were like pets to us. They loved Brielle the most and she loved them too. They would follow her around and loved to be held. Not all silkies enjoy being held, but if like ours they are held from birth and socialized with people they will grow up liking this activity. Our previous batch of silkies ended up being 3 roosters and 1 hen, so they were rehomed all together to a nice family and home that was very happy to get the silkies.
Here are the eggs Brenda shipped. All seven arrived fully intact! She certainly knows how to package eggs for travel!
Chickens take 21 days to incubate. It is an exciting time. We had to leave town for a funeral during the incubation, but because we have an incubator that automatically turns the eggs, they were fine while we were away. Thankfully no power outages during this incubation! Here are our eggs in our Brinsea Mini, where they incubated for 21 days and then hatched.
We candled the eggs three times during incubation: at 7 days, 14 days, and 18 days (right before lockdown). If you go according to the days on the incubator screen (it’s a backwards countdown) we candled at days 14, 7, and 3. Day zero is hatching day. Here are some photos from candling. The dark spots are their eyes. You can also see blood vessels inside the eggs.
We were shocked to find at each phase of the candling that all 7 eggs had Chicks growing in them. That is pretty unreal! For most home incubations (not farm incubating) you can realistically expect a 50% hatch rate. This is exactly what we have had in the past, as we had 7 of our previous 14 eggs incubated hatch successfully (3 the first time, 4 the second time). This time all 7 eggs hatched! We had a 100% hatch rate!
Here is video of one of the chicks hatching and we were able to catch it on camera:
Unfortunalty one chick lived only about 24 hours. It was never quite right, so we think there was something congenital in nature that caused it to die. I tried to nurse it to health, but it did not help in the end.
We are happy to report that the other six are now 5 days old and doing great! They are full of energy and simply adorable to watch and hold.
So where do we keep our chickens? In my master bathroom. When chickens are born they need to be kept in a brooder under a heat lamp for four weeks or more. Our previous silkies were so small and fragile we kept them in the brooder 6-7 weeks. Here is the brooder in my master bathroom.
I will be sure to share more photos as they grow, so be sure to check back in on the blog!