So far 5 Welsummer bantam chicks, 2 Light Sussex bantams and 1 Ixworth have hatched. The bantams were earlier as we had a broody hen who started them off then walked off the job. Luckily we managed to get them into the incubator the same day (though the eggs had gone cold) so the fact they have hatched is pretty impressive. The Ixworth eggs were added a couple of days later when we decided we had better put a decent amount in. So far, I’ve helped out two despite saying I wouldn’t. However, I do have a theory that it’s not the fact that the chicks that need help are weak but the fact they have struggled for so long that leaves them weak and dehydrated. I’ve started giving them sugar and water solution dribbled into their beaks soon after getting them out the shell and the results have been great. One chick yesterday constantly rolled onto it’s back and could not get up. I gave it water by syringe and today you can’t tell which one it is. It seems to me a bit of a giveaway when you see how keen they are to drink what you do offer them and how quickly they revive. Incidentally I do think that the humdity of the incubator is important. We plan to get a new incubator and have heard that the Octagon 40 gives great results, with humidity up to 80 % in the final days of hatching. From what I’ve seen lack of humidity seems to allow the membrane inside the egg to dry out once the shell has broken and once the membrane gets tough the chicks have trouble breaking through. We’ve heard that with the Octagon, two pips and the egg cracks open.


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