As the Egg Turns


It’s the first thing I do every morning. The last thing I do at night. And, oh yeah, in between. Turn the eggs. A hen on her nest turns her eggs as much as 18 times a day. You can get away with turning them three times a day by hand. If the egg isn’t turned, the embryo will float up through the white of the egg, touch the shell membrane, get stuck there and die. The final three days of incubation, the eggs shouldn’t be turned, though–the chick is preparing to bust out of its shell. Do not disturb. But do I have any chicks?

See that spot? I think we have a chicken!

This is one of the eggs from the second batch, at nine days incubation.

I’ve re-candled the eggs from the first batch, now at 13 days incubation, and they look the same to me. But, I’m still not sure. I don’t want to make a mistake. If they are alive, I’ll know in another week, as they should hatch in 21 days. I can wait a week.

Wait with me?

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on April 15, 2008  

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44 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 4-15

    :chicken: Hey Suzanne, I can’t wait…..I’m so excited for you! I collect chicken stuff and rooster stuff for my kitchen. But you have the real thing! Maybe when they are hatched, you could take some really good pictures of them , so I can copy then and hang them up in my kitchen? I want to come visit.

  2. 4-15

    Of course we’re waiting with you! I hope you have chickens this time, Suzanne. I’m looking forward to cute chick pics. :smile:


  3. 4-15

    OH MY! Thats a baby!!! Its so much fun to watch those little suckers. When they get older, somtimes they squirm around while your candleing them!! Like a chicken ultrasound…. :)

  4. 4-15

    Got my fingers crossed! :yes:
    Impatiently waiting the new arrival(s)! :snoopy:

  5. 4-15

    Hey, a shorter gestation and no morning sickness… I think you’ve got the right idea for expanding your family. I await eagerly with you for your new family members.

  6. 4-15

    :sheepjump: I’m so excited! I can hardly wait to see pics of fluffy chicks peeping. The NOISE they will make!

  7. 4-15

    I have wanted to do this since I was three years old. My parents thought I would outgrow it, but no — I still wish I had an incubator and could keep chickens. Or ducks. Probably ducks.

    You’re living the dream, woman.

  8. 4-15

    I love the anticipation and the pictures you are taking. Like Robin G. I have always wanted to do this and now I can enjoy through your website. Thanks a bunch!

  9. 4-15

    :elephant: Me too! I want to raise something. My grandfather would set and raise quail. He had converted the cellar into his incubator house. The local farmers would buy the quail from him to replenish their land before hunting season. After he got tired of quail, he turned the cellar into a fish hatchery. I think he poured the cellar as a fish hatchery in the first place since I remember the floor being divided into sections about 3 feet deep. He raised minnows. I loved going to visit to see what kind of critters he was raising.

  10. 4-15

    I absolutely can’t wait for your baby chicks to hatch. I know you are soooo excited. And of course, we’ll get pictures–right?

    Once they hatch, where will you put them? Do you have a brooder house for them? They’ll be too little to put out in the main chicken house won’t they? :snoopy:

  11. 4-15

    That sure looks like a baby chick to me.

    Of course I’ll wait… you have to have some chickens in the road! :yes:

  12. 4-15

    :elephant: Yippee! I remember my grandmother raising chickens and that certainly looks like one to me! Check out the left side of the egg, those look like legs!!!

  13. 4-15

    Wait? I have to wait? Oh fine, as long as you don’t make me turn them. :sheepjump:

  14. 4-15

    How exciting. Will you name them?

    We’ll be waiting here with you. Tick…Tock…Tick…Tock.


  15. 4-15

    Wait with you? Anxiously. This is so neat. I’ve never been in on the process of growing a chicken.

  16. 4-15

    :clap: Yeah! A chicken. We wimped out and got our chicks already hatched, but next time I want to hatch the eggs. I think it would be funner and a better education for the kids. I would be just like you though and not dare throw out the ones I didn’t think had worked. I can’t wait to see them all hatched.

  17. 4-15

    I love baby chickens. I know, they are chicks, but I always say baby chickens. I had some awhile back. One decided it was a dog and came in the house at night when the dogs came in. She was a Rhode Island Red we called Roady. She slept on the couch. Her sister chickens stayed outside and the damned racoons got two out of the four that were there. Then Roady decided to sleep outside with her remaining two sisters and the racoons got all of them. I should have made her come in with the dogs, I miss that chicken!
    I am so excited that you are growing your own from seeds. That seems like so much fun. We got ours when they were a couple of weeks old and just had to keep them under heat lamps for a while. Chickens are so cool.

  18. 4-15

    Oooh, this is so exciting!

  19. 4-15

    Suzanne, I’m looking forward to seeing your chicks once they hatch. :bananadance: :chicken:

    Hi there 52! :wave:

  20. 4-15

    I agree with 52….name them and you won’t be able to eat them……

    Oh! I am as happy as an expectant mother for you.

  21. 4-15

    I think baby chicks are so cute.

  22. 4-15

    I wish human babies only took 12 days to incubate. I am 5 months into a 9 month incubation and I am already fed up with the turning. I turn 18 times each night. 30 minutes on this side, turn 30 minutes on that side, turn 30 minutes on this side, turn… I wonder what would happen if I didn’t turn all through the night? Would my baby get stuck to the membranes inside my body? As if the turning all night isn’t enough, I shift all day in my desk seat, I might as well be turning that egg every 30 minutes.

    oh and the anticipation- it’s just as bad as the turning.

    Best wishes with your incubation period!

  23. 4-15

    oops, I meant 21 days!

  24. 4-15

    Oh I’m afraid I could never eat them :( Just don’t let me know when you plan Sunday’s roast chicken :no:

  25. 4-15

    Definitely looks like something is growing in there! Is that the only egg showing signs of life?

  26. 4-15

    Cathy, I don’t know because I didn’t want to disturb a lot of the eggs by taking them out of the incubator, so I’m hoping this is what is happening with the rest of them!

  27. 4-15

    Hey Suzanne,
    On a totally different track, how’s the book coming?

  28. 4-15

    Lora, must you ask that? LOL. I put the deadline off six weeks so I can recover from moving in!

  29. 4-15

    What do you give to a woman who is expecting baby chicks? Is anyone giving you a shower? I have been thinking about your baby chicks since you first wrote about getting the eggs. I will be so excited when they get here!

  30. 4-15

    Got my fingers crossed and prayers on my lips that you will have little chicks soon.
    Carolyn xxoo

  31. 4-15

    I have emerged from my goat weekend to check in on the egg situation . . . glad to hear things are going well! You’ve definitely “got chick” there! I hope to one day do that myself, so I will watch and learn.

  32. 4-16

    :chicken: This is exciting!

  33. 4-16

    :mrgreen: Ok, I am convinced. My DH is preparing an area in our yard for our chickens. But I want rarest of the rare breeds so I will be ordering eggs from a catalogue :chicken: :chicken: :chicken: and I too will be turning those eggs 3xs a day too. Fresh chicken eggs only 15 minutes from downtown San Diego!

  34. 4-22

    I’ve been incubating goose eggs since April 3. I have candled them with a very strong flashlight and watched them waddle all over their little egg home. It’s very fascinating for my family.

  35. 4-23

    Are we there yet? Are we there YET?!?! Is it time, any signs of life, any cracks?

  36. 5-17

    Well my parents and 2 brother’s and
    sister have been raising chicken’s
    for about 2 years now. We have always
    hatched them through an incubator
    and the other day we went out
    there and there was a little baby
    chick :mrgreen: .
    Sometimes we sale the eggs and sometimes
    we eat them :hungry:

  37. 9-6

    I am going to incubate my first lot of eggs soon, my question is do you lay the eggs on there side like they are in the nest or up right like they are in an egg carton

  38. 9-6

    Hi, Merilyn! You put them on their sides. You can see my eggs in the incubator in this post:

    Good luck with yours!

  39. 3-6

    hiya i have got three goose egg in my incubator and they are at day nine but i can jts see the yolk but i think its darker than usally its lik ared coulor and i cheaked them at twelve today and i had a look at them when i was woveing the egg at the bottom of the fat end not it the yolk i saw a thin shadwo and when i went to turn the egg it shaked but it not the embryo HELP ??

  40. 3-6

    If I were you, I would keep them and keep going just in case. I didn’t give up on mine until it was a few days past time. I was about to throw them out when one hatched! So I was glad I waited.

  41. 5-4

    hi i have a realy urgant question to ask, i am incubating some chicken and duck eggs and iv noticed my last 4 eggs have died during the hatcher period (last 3 days) i have broken the eggs one by one and they aLL HAD CHICKS inside them none were fully grown they all looked like they are either dead as of day 18 or im not sure, all i want to know is do the chicks still move around in the eggs at day 19 to 21 like they did on day 18, the only reason iv been cracking them open is because they dont move in the eggs plus they have passed the 21 day period by a day or two and once cracked they still have not absorbed the yolk sack, what to do, what to do !!!!! i wish i knew, please help

  42. 5-4

    They don’t move around as much toward the end because they don’t have as much room. I’m not sure what to tell you–could you go ask on the forum? You would get more answers there. I have had some babies die in the shell, but not many. Go to the Chickens in the Road forum and see if anyone there has any ideas:

  43. 4-17

    well i have an egg and i candled it and it has three of those little dots what does that mean!??! -worried :heart:

  44. 4-17

    delaney, candling is VERY inexact. Just hold on and see. I’ve hatched eggs that I didn’t think would hatch.

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