We started incubating our eggs on April 22 after letting the incubator come to 99.5 oC and 60% humidity. 19 days later the first eggs started to hatch and on the 21st day the entire hatch was complete.
The first of our Bard Rock Rhode Island Red chicks to hatch
We started with 40 eggs and 23 of them have hatched. This is a slightly better than 50% hatch rate. Some of the eggs were stored for more than two weeks which is a long time to store eggs for hatching. We might have gotten a better hatch rate if the eggs were stored for a week or less.
We were surprised that the eggs started hatching on the 19th day. The books I have read about chickens and artificail incubation say that chicks hatch early if the temperature is slightlytoo high and that these chicks usually have problems with their leggs and never walk correctly. We monitored the temperature closely and while it did rise to temperatures over 100 oC on occasion, for the most part the temperature hovered around 99.5 oC throughought the incubation process. Since our chicks appear to be doing fine I wunder if the hens started the development process on some of the eggs before I collected them for storage.
In any case we now have 23 chicks from a Bard Rock rooster and Rhode Island Red hens. Most of them are black. some have small patches of white on their heads like Bard Rock chicks and some are yellow/orange (lighter orange than Rhode Island Red chicks).
Some of the newly hatched chicks after they have dried off
It will be interesting to see what their feathers are like when they develope.