Only ten days to hatch and the chick is getting more and more active!
Yesterday the embryo looked like an alien because the head and in particular the eyes were so much larger than the body and looked out of proportion.
If we were able to peep inside the egg now we'd see the start of the body growing larger and the chick looking more like - well, like a chick!
Development now is really starting to speed up. Externally, the legs are developing scales, the toes are growing and curling, and the tiny comb grows a serrated edge.
The incubated egg at day 11.
Internally, the blood supply is increasing and the main blood vessel - the aorta - can be seen along the neck.
Importantly, the chick's intestine now begins to push its way into the yolk sac. This will be a critical point when it comes to hatching : the embryo must re-absorb the yolk and its insides into itself before it hatches. If it doesn't, it will die.
Which is why, when the time comes, we will not be helping a chick out of its egg, even if we think it may be distressed, unless we are very sure indeed that this phase has been fully accomplished.
The blood vessels are now much denser than previously, and the embryo's growth added to that means there's little to see from now on apart from a growing shadow, an enlarging air cell, and for the next couple of days, part of the blood supply.
These rather lurid colours, made by altering saturation levels on the same photograph, show the embryo and the main blood vessel a little more clearly. The green area is the albumen which is growing smaller each day.
Today's not a day for doing anything except checking, as usual, that the temperature and humidity levels in the incubator remain constant and stable and that the eggs are still being turned several times a day.
The display on my Octagon 20 incubator reads the temperature and humidity levels.
If you have a 'still air' incubator without a fan the temperature should be between 38º and 39ºC (102ºF) and humidity should be the same at about 45%.
This period of incubation isn't generally characterised by things going wrong, although it has to be said that development can stop at any given point.
But as long as your eggs were developing normally at the point you last candled them, and if the temperature, humidity and turning needs are being met, there shouldn't be an issue at this point.
I have Welsummer chicken eggs and I've heard they should be incubated at a different temperature. Is that right?
No. All chicken eggs are incubated at the same temperature. Other types of poultry such as ducks and geese have different incubation needs.
Featuring a photo of one of my own chicks helps keep us focused ...
...On why we're doing all this - to produce - our own healthy, happy chickens.
If you've never incubated before, trust me - there's nothing more fulfilling than seeing an egg hatch and then grow to become an adult.
This is one of my Buff Wyandotte chicks at just four days old. The Wyandotte is a large breed chicken and mine are very friendly - but also very noisy!
If you want e-mails personally delivered every day of incubation with a link to my pages telling you exactly what's going on during each step of the incubation process, you need to sign up for my series called "Hatching Happy Chickens".
If it sounds interesting to you and you'd like to know more, the image to the left is a link to details about exactly what you'll get.
And the best thing? - It's free (at the moment)!
The easiest way to follow my hatching series is to sign up for the e-mails. However, if you'd rather not do that, these are links you need to work logically through the series.
I've included a link back to the very beginning of the incubation series, in case you missed it. There's also a link here for you to join in my hatching group and let me take you through the whole process, from egg to chick!
'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.
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