A feathery interlude between Bristol-based blogs.

Ten days ago our first home-incubated chick hatched. I got a super incubator for Mother’s Day this year which I promptly began to fill with eggs. I read up about incubating eggs and a lot of the articles were rather doom-laden. It seemed it was a very complicated procedure. And there’s a lot of contradictory advice out there. Some sources say you should keep humidity at around 45% for the first 18 days, and then up it to 65% for the final three days, which are called the ‘lockdown time’ when you’re not meant to open the incubator at all. I’d been merrily stuffing eggs in whenever I found a likely candidate so I potentially had embryos at various stages of development. Not good, and now I know better, I shan’t do it again. And other sources say that you don’t need to worry about humidity in the first couple of weeks as there’s plenty of moisture in the egg.

So I was delighted and surprised when one bedtime Rors heard cheeping coming from the incubator and we noticed that one egg was pipping i.e. starting to be chipped open by its occupant. It was a slow process and I got up a couple of times in the night to check on progress. Nothing much had happened for about four hours, but by five next morning, there was our first little chick, floppy and damp, out of her egg. She’d neatly chopped it in two. We moved her (I don’t know if the chick is male or female but we’ll go with the latter for now) into the old incubator where she spent the next few hours drying and recovering from her major exertion.

growing tt

Twenty-four hours later she was full of beans and eating and drinking, so we relocated her to a box warmed by the incubator. But it seemed a shame to keep her in the gloom so we moved her into Caiti’s turtle tank. She seemed very happy with this arrangement, and took up residence on the incubator to keep her toes nicely toasted. Ruadhri gave her the name TweetleToes, TT for short.

She’s been a lot of fun and we let her out a few times of day – after clearing the cats out of the way, naturally – and she charges around, investigating everything by pecking it. You can practically see her growing so we’ve renamed her Chickzilla.

TT exploring

I’d resigned myself to just having the one chick out of this first experimental batch of eggs, but yesterday I spotted another egg was pipping. And this morning our second chick, looking very like TT, had hatched.


Chickzilla Junior is in the tank with his big sister, occasionally being trodden on, but generally they seem happy with each other’s company. I’d been worrying that TT was lonely and spending too long playing Clash of Clans, so it’s good there’s the pair of them.

TT clash of clans

Chris has now built a hygrometer for my incubator so from now on I’ll be able to be more scientific in my chick rearing. There are a few eggs still left in the incubator so perhaps there’ll be another new arrival later this week. If not, then all the eggs will be past their hatch-by date, so I’ll clean it out and start again, properly this time!

incubator hygrom