What do chicks hatch from?

The chicks hatch - procedure, duration and help

While the hen takes care of the right environmental factors and the correct handling of the hatching eggs with natural brood, the chicken farmer ensures that the chicks hatch in artificial brood. In addition to regularly turning the eggs by the 18th day, this also includes increasing the humidity on the hatching day. In modern incubators, the regulation of temperature and humidity, as well as the turning of the hatching eggs, is usually fully automatic. It is only necessary to ensure that the eggs are moved from the turn to the hatching tray in good time before the hatching day. Ideally, they should be turned when the eggs shouldn't be turned anyway, i.e. on the 18th day.


Quail eggs and quail chicks can be seen in the following pictures. However, the process when chicks hatch is identical.

Hatching day - the first chicks hatch

Depending on the age of the hatching eggs when they were placed in the incubator, the breed of chicken and the incubation temperature and humidity selected, the eggs can be pecked on the 19th day or the hatching can be delayed until the 24th day.

As a rule, the hatching of the chicks is announced by the chicks making beeps in the eggs. Later you can see that some eggs start to quail. Then it usually doesn't take long for the first chick to hatch from the egg.

Totally exhausted and still damp, it then lies there motionless for a few minutes and recovers from the exertion. But just a few minutes later the chick is dry and is eagerly exploring its surroundings.

As a rule, it does not take long and numerous chicks hatch from the hatching eggs. Soon there is an eager scurrying around to spot breeders.

Help, the chick won't come out of the egg?

In some cases it happens that some hatching eggs are picked, but the chick cannot find its way out of the egg.

In many cases this “stuck” is related to incorrect humidity.


The cause is usually too high humidity during the entire brood. In this case, too little egg content evaporates and the air bubble in the egg, which is important for the hatching of the chicks, is too small.

Before the chick has made it out of the egg, the skin has dried on it and turning, let alone “peeling it out of the egg”, is impossible. Although the golden rule is always reported, not to help the chick out of the egg, since in most cases the action is taken too quickly and the yolk sac has not yet been pulled in by the chick, in many situations this little pellet aid is useful for many a chick already saved life.

Malformations and deformities of newly hatched chicken chicks are unfortunately part of the daily routine of a chicken farmer. In these cases, human intervention should of course be the top priority and should be straightforward in order to spare the chicks from any agony.

After the chicks hatch

The newly hatched chicks can remain in the breeder for up to two days with a clear conscience. As a rule, all chicks should have made it out of their eggs.


For nutrition during this time it is not necessary to put food and water in the breeder, the yolk sac provides the necessary food supply.

In order to give chicks that have not hatched the opportunity to hatch in peace and without disturbance, the chicks that have already hatched are ideally removed from the incubator and taken to a suitable nursery. If they all stay together in the breeder, the agility of the first hatched can sometimes disturb the other hatchers in their efforts.

Housing the chicks after hatching

The most important components for the chicks after hatching are warmth, suitable food and fresh water. The small fleece balls do not make any demands on the look of their nursery, they should just be warm, draft-free and comfortable and imitate nature as best as possible.

Special chick shelters are available in stores, a disused rodent cage or a large cardboard box is just as good, only the necessary warmth has to be provided. Red light or heat lamps are suitable as a heat source for rearing chicks, but so-called chick rearing warming plates provide more natural conditions.

It consists of a plate heating element that rests on four height-adjustable legs. In this way, the chicks can go under the heating plate, similar to natural rearing under the hen, and are optimally warmed. Depending on the size of the chicks, the height of the heating plate can then be adjusted so that larger chicks can also pull back underneath if necessary.

In the first few weeks, the chicks are offered special chick rearing food in a suitable container. The food, which is available in flour or pellet form, can be easily absorbed by the little beaks and provides the little ones with everything they need for healthy growth.

A bowl of sand, which is important for digestion, should also always be available. If possible, fresh, clean water is served in a drinking trough.

It is easily accessible for the little chicks, largely protected from contamination through involuntary bathing and can be kept clean in order to minimize possible germs. After about six weeks, when the fleece balls have already become small shuttlecocks, i.e. they are largely feathered, the chicks get by without a heat source and can move into the "real" chicken coop or the outdoor enclosure.

When do chicks hatch?

Chicken chicks usually hatch on the 20th day of brood. However, chicks can hatch on the 19th or on the 21st. This is related to both the incubation temperature and the breed of chicken from which the hatching eggs originate.

If the incubation temperature is 0.5 ° C too high, the chicks usually hatch one day earlier. If the incubation temperature is too low, it can take a day longer.

Chicken breeds such as Marans lay very dense-shell eggs. Here the chicks hatch a day later than in other breeds.

How long do chicks hatch?

If the first hole can be seen in the bowl, the chick will surely be there soon! However, this is not always the case. It usually takes 3-5 hours for the chick to hatch completely from the egg. But up to 24 hours are not uncommon.

Hatching is extremely exhausting for the chicks. That's why they take breaks in between to relax and gather new strength. So you shouldn't be surprised if the chick has not come out of the egg after an hour.