Incubation - Day 2 : Things are warming up!

It's forty-eight hours since the start of incubation. 

What's happening with the eggs today, can anything go wrong and is there anything we need to look out for?

What's going on in the egg today?

Chicken eggs in an incubator.One of my hatches in my Brinsea Octagon 20 incubator.

When the fertile egg was laid, cells were already starting to develop which were then 'paused' when the hen moved away from it. 

The cells remain dormant until such time as warmth is applied at a very specific temperature. 

An incubator mimics the hen's body heat and ranges from 37.5ºC (99ºF) in a fan assisted incubator to 39ºC (102ºF) in a still air incubator (without a fan).

Setting our egglets in the incubator at the right temperature kick-started that cell development again yesterday, and we'll see it continuing today.

What's happening to the chick?

The incubated egg at day 2.

the hatching egg two days into incubation.

The embryo's blood vessels are now forming and within two or three more days will become visible in candling.   By just before the end of the second day of incubation they have joined up with the heart which now actually begins to beat, although it's undetectable unless you have a specialist device.

Also today, the chick's ear is beginning to form as are two separate circulatory systems, one to provide the embryo with nutrition and the other to take away waste.


What can we see if we candle the egg at day 2?

In this picture, because the egg's shell is very light coloured, it's just possible to see a slightly darker ring (inside the white circle here) where the cells are developing - but this is very unusual.  It can happen with Polish (UK Poland) eggs in particular because they're white - but it's still not advisable to candle them this early in the process.

A chicken egg candled at day 2.

Usually, though, there's still really nothing much to see.  The yolk is visible and may seem a little larger than it did yesterday, and the air cell may just be visible at the blunt end of the egg but generally speaking is still very small.  It's here the chick will eventually hatch.

I candled at day 2 for the purposes of demonstration.  It's not advisable for you to do the same - the less the eggs are handled, particularly in these fragile early stages of incubation, the better.

I know it's tempting, but honestly - it's better to wait for a couple of days.


What should we be doing at this point of incubation?

Exactly the same as yesterday - not much.  If you need to turn the eggs by hand then you must remember to do that, but there's really nothing else to be done today.

The first few days of incubation can be a little frustrating - we don't know whether the embryo is developing or not, we won't know for two or three more days - and there's nothing we can do to help it apart from keeping the temperature and humidity levels stable and remembering to turn if it's not done automatically.

Another of my hatches.  My Brinsea Octagon 20 incubator turns the eggs automatically because I don't trust myself to remember!

One of my hatches in the Octagon 20 incubator.


Can anything go wrong at this stage?

As long as you're making sure the temperature, humidity and turning are all happening, and providing of course that the eggs are fertile, there's no reason why anything should go wrong at this point.

If the temperature in the incubator is too high there's a danger that the eggs will cook and the embryos will be killed.  The ideal temperature in a still air incubator is 39.2ºC (101.5ºF) and in a forced air (with a fan) 37.5ºC (99.5ºF).


Question of the day.

If the temperature drops today, will the embryo die?

Temperature is important, but the developing cells can cope reasonably well with a temperature drop as long as it's not too extreme - a drop below 32ºC (90ºF) will be problematic - and doesn't last for longer than around 20 hours.

If, for example, your electricity fails at any time during incubation, don't give up hope.  If you don't have a back-up generator, wrap the incubator in a blanket or duvet but make sure you leave a place where air can get through - otherwise you run the risk of suffocating the embryos.

7 baby chickens


Chick of the day!

On each day of my hatching series I feature a pic of one of my own chicks.

This is Bumpy, a Black Copper Marans chick, when she was just two days old.  Cute or what?

A Black Copper Marans chick at 4 days old.

If you have a chick you'd like to see have fame at last, tell me!

Click on one of these links to come on over to my Facebook or Google+ pages and tell me all about her - and share a pic.  I will then feature your chick either here on my website or on my Facebook or G+ pages.



Would you like a reminder e-mail at each day of the incubation process?

Click for more details about how to join my hatching group!

Have you joined my incubating and hatching group yet?

If you're having a go at hatching your own eggs and it's new to you, you might want to consider joining my free 28-day series called "Hatching Happy Chickens".

You'll have e-mails personally delivered every day describing that day's developments in the incubation process, and pointing out as this page does exactly what you need to be doing.

It's free, and it's fun!  Don't miss out - click on the pic to have a look at more information about exactly what you'll get.


Want to move on already?

What happens on day 3 of incubation? Find out by clicking this link!

The best way to follow along with the incubation and hatching process is to sign up for my e-mail series, when you'll get a reminder delivered directly to your inbox.

However, if you don't want to do that or can't wait that long, clicking on the picture to your left will take you to tomorrow's information.




Other incubation pages you may find helpful.

How to choose the best eggs for a successful hatch.
Incubating eggs : day 1 in the incubator.
Want to make your own incubator?  Here's how - click on the pic!


Copyright notice.

'The Incubated Egg' image is a commissioned artist's impression and, like all images on this site, is subject to copyright under the Copyright Law of the United States of America 1976.  Under no circumstances is permission granted to copy or otherwise use this image.

All other images of candling on this and other pages are my own and are not to be used without permission.

If you wish to use these or any other images on this site for educational purposes you are required to contact me by using the form to be found on this page.  For my full copyright policy see this page.

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Link to Raising Happy Chickens home page.