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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Egg Hatching 101: Day 3

We are on Day 3 of our Egg Hatching 101 series, which means Day 3 of development for chicken eggs. As I have mentioned before, we use a Brinsea Octagon Advance incubator, which has a great digital display showing the temperature and humidity levels (shown above). You can manually alter the levels if needed, but it comes preset for chicken egg hatching and I've rarely had to mess with it.

One handy thing about this display is that in the lower right corner of the digital area (where there is just a blank space), a "P" will flash if the power has gone out at some point. We talked yesterday about things you can do during a power outage to keep your eggs warm, but what if you aren't at home when it happens and you have no idea? The flashing "P" on the screen gives you a heads up that something interrupted the power, and though you can't do anything much about it, you will know to candle your eggs carefully in the following days to make sure that the embryos inside show continued growth.

And, as a side note in this, if the power DOES go out, as soon as the power is back on this particular incubator goes right back to cookin'. It will work to get the preset temperature and humidity back as quickly as possible.

So on to Day 3... what is happening in the eggs:

  • Head begins to turn

  • Tongue, tail, wing buds and leg buds begin to form

If we were to crack open one of the developing eggs today, this is what it would look like inside:

Egg Yolk Photo

The red blob area in the center of the yolk surface is the developing chick. Remember yesterday when I mentioned that you can try candling for the first time on day 3? This, above, is the veining you will be looking for. It is still early, and some people don't candle until Day 5, but sometimes you can detect veining earlier (especially if you are working with white or very light colored eggs).

Annotated close up image

This is a pretty cool photo of a chick embryo on Day 3. Although it still looks like a tadpole, you can start picking out a few recognizable parts. (Photo credits: University of Illinois)

This post is part of a series about hatching eggs on The Farm at Beaman’s Fork blog.
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