Don’t Count Your Chickens (or Monkeys) Before They Hatch


If you have been within a 20 metre radius of me over the last month, you will no doubt have been bored to tears about my hatching eggs.


I have had 30 eggs in two incubators and I have waited.

Hen eggs take 21 days to hatch but day 21 came and went with no chicks. Not even one small pip in any of the eggs.

I was beyond obsessed with the eggs. I even dreamt a monkey came out of one of them. The poor parents at the school gates must have been bored to tears by my incessant cheeping about the lack of chicks.

On day 22 I don’t think I even looked in the incubator, so crest fallen was I at the lack of chicks. It was a warm day and I had taken the children out, walking around the farm.

At about 3pm, Hubster came out of the house having made his snack and asked if I had looked in the incubator. I ram back to the house and, sure enough, there was a fluffy little chick.


They look wet when they are first hatched but this one was dry so it must have hatched much earlier.


I was delighted. I was just pleased that one had hatched. I did hope for just one more so that Monkey (named after my dream), the first chick was not alone.

The next day one more chick was born. We were now on day 25 and I had little hope of any more but I kept the incubators on. On the morning of day 26, I eagerly looked in the incubator and I could not see eggs because there were so many fluffy faces looking out at me. I now had eight.


I had to go to the country feed store directly after the school run for chick crumb and layers pellets for my older girls and, unfortunately, when I returned one had died. I think I probably took it out of the incubator too early but Rosie, our Jack Russell was going wild in the kitchen at the cheeping chicks.

These things happen.


Each day since, I have thought to turn the incubator off. While a 26 per cent hatch rate isn’t brilliant, it was much better than none.


On day 27, Rosie was pacing the kitchen again so I looked in the incubator and, sure enough, there was the tell-tale hole of a pipping chick. It took a while to hatch and it is very small but I am back up to eight and a 30 per cent hatch rate.


Hatching eggs is all trial and error. I know where I went wrong and I can only try and improve next time.*

The only problem is, I got some Marsh Daisy and Cream Legbar eggs from Graham who I met at Burscough Community Farm and then a friend filled up the rest of my incubator with what she calls a rainbow mix-literally anything.


The eggs were all different colours and while I tried to keep tabs on which chick hatched out of which egg, by the time the night of seven had happened, I had totally lost count.

I know the black chicks are Easter eggers. The females of which will lay lovely olive coloured eggs. The rest? It’s just a waiting game.

It is still early days. Chicks are fragile little creatures who can go down hill rapidly but, for now, could not be happier. I feel as though I have sat on the nest myself.

I have made a video. The buzzing in it is the incubator. The stupid dog whining is Rosie who basically wants to eat chicks for her dinner.

*Hubster is not aware of ‘next time’. He is thoroughly fed up with the humming incubator in our kitchen but I have plans my friends. I have plans.


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