Well here they are!
We had a good hatch for the test run of our Brinsea incubator. I set 19 eggs but removed 2 at day 11 as candling showed that they were not fertile at all. Of the remaining 17 eggs there were 15 that hatched out as beautifully healthy chicks. One chick had died early on… the embryo looked about size of my thumb.
There was also one chick that needed an assist to hatch; it had pipped but that was all and the opposite side of the egg was caved in. After I unzipped from the pip it did kick itself free but it was very dried out. The down was dried against the skin… you can see in the photo below. One day later the down had fluffed up but you can see a bald spot where a piece of shell was stuck.
It is very runty compared to the rest and I have not seen it eat… just drinks water once in a while. We are beginning to wonder if it is blind; it just kind of staggers about, bunches up to the others and cheeps a lot. We’ll wait another couple of days before any dire decisions are made. The down has puffed up and filled in now (3 days later).
The homemade brooder is working out perfectly. I based the design on a brooder that I saw online. Ours is bigger, taller and made off wood rather than metal with a detached heat source (lamp). To start them off we covered the right side with a piece of cardboard but as they grow and require less heat we’ll remove it; that side is hardware cloth like the front. There is a small door to reach inside where you can see the thermometer mounted on the left side too. The chicks have figured out how to eat from the feeder on the right and drink from the feeder on the front but I also have crumble and a waterer on the floor for them too. The floor is hardware cloth and their droppings fall through to a slide-out tray for easy cleaning.