Your chicks have hatched and you’re now left wondering, “how long should the chicks stay in the incubator before being moved to a brooder?”. This is one of the most common questions we get asked at The Incubator Shop.
The answer is quite straightforward. Chicks can typically stay in the incubator for 24 to 48 hours after the last chick has hatched.
The first 24 hours…
In the first 24 hours after the chicks have hatched, you will probably feel both excited and nervous. Once the first chick has hatched, the incubator will usually get a little foggy as the chick’s feathers act as an evaporation surface and moisture fills the air.
The hatched chicks will go through periods of high-activity followed by long periods of rest. This is an important process and does not mean they’re in any trouble. In their short burst of energy, you’ll hear them chirping and see them scrambling around inside the incubation chamber; knocking eggs from side to side as they go. The movement and sound of the hatched chicks will actually encourage the unhatched chicks to break through their shells, so let them do as they wish.
IMPORTANT - However tempting it may seem, do not lift the lid of the incubator whilst hatching is taking place. Lifting the lid during this crucial time will allow heat and moisture to escape, making it difficult for the chicks to hatch.
Once all the chicks have hatched, it may look very crowded inside the incubator. But do not let this worry you… they would look exactly the same under their natural mother hen.
When can I take them out?
After the first 24 hours have passed, you can begin to observe the chicks body language and overall health. By their second day they should be less damp and look decidedly more cute and fluffy. Once the chicks are dry and fluffy, you can then move them to a chick brooder. Chicks are clever, intuitive animals and a chick brooder will allow them to decide when to move in and out of the heat. If you don’t have one already, take a look at our full range of chick brooders.