Lockdown is a common term when incubating and hatching baby chicks.
If you’ve read my other posts on incubating and candling eggs you’re ready to learn what happens after day 17 of incubation.
Now that you have made it to day 17 it is time to quit turning the eggs. The chicks need to position themselves for birth and if the egg is constantly moving they can’t do that.
The first step to getting these girls (I’m being optimistic) to hatch is to unplug the egg turner. Then raise the lid of the incubator and lift the egg turner out careful not to catch the motor on the incubator or let the weight of it cause you to drop the eggs.
Next you need to place the eggs back into the incubator. Learn from my mistakes and put down some paper towel, a tea towel or cheesecloth before placing the eggs. This makes clean up later a whole lot easier!
As you fill the incubator back up go ahead and move the egg turner back to its box. You will no longer need it. Don’t you love the look of all those beautiful eggs?!? Now we are hatching heritage birds to include Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rock, Leghorn and we will have some non-heritage Red Sexlink in the mix as well. All of these breeds are GREAT egg layers! Those of you hatching easter eggers, Americaunas or Araucanas you will likely have blue and green eggs in your mix!
You’re going to need to place a small bowl of warm water in the corner of the incubator and then place a warm sponge in there as well. Doing this increases the humidity so that the eggs stay moist long enough to complete the hatch. On average it takes 12-24 hours for a baby chick to hatch, so staying on lockdown means not even opening the lid to adjust humidity levels.
Close the incubator and watch the humidity rise. Ideally it should be between 65-75 degrees. Now-from here on out you are on LOCKDOWN! Days 18-21 are imperative to a chick’s survival.
The lid is on and the temperature and humidity are rising.
Do not open that incubator even if your life depended on it. It is essential to keep the lid shut and for the humidity and temperature to stay constant during the hatching process. If you lift the lid it can cause all kinds of problems (which I’ll share in a different post). Should your humidity get too high this particular incubator has two small circular red vent plugs on the lid. You can remove one of these to allow some circulation if needed, but I don’t recall needing to that (not before the hatch). This machine kept a pretty stable temp and humidity level.
…And now you wait…again.
Do you struggle with the urge to stay in lockdown once you’ve sealed up for hatching?