There is not much to do on hatch day. Mostly just wait. The first thing you may observe is an egg wobbling around. While this is proof of life, don’t count it as gain just yet. On lock down I had an egg wobbling all over the place, I had never seen an egg move so much, but it never pipped and did not hatch.
An egg is pipped when there is a small v-shaped crack in the egg. From this point the bird is learning to breathe and absorbing the yoke. It can take a while for this to happen or it can happen quickly. For example, the egg pictured below was the first to pip but the second bird out. It took him 24 hours from pip to unzip.
Unzipping is what you call it when the bird begins to break out of its shell. They begin at the pip sight. They break a bit of the shell. Rotate inside the shell and break a little bit more, and repeat until they can push out. This is why humidity is so important. If the membrane gets dry the chick can stick to it making it impossible for them to turn in their shells, and not likely to get out.
Once the bird is out they are wet and exhausted. They will flop out of their egg and just lie there, this is normal. They just did the hardest work of their lives, and need a minute to compose themselves.
But soon they will be adorable little bundles of fluff.
So this is how I did on my first turkey hatch. I started with 14 eggs, one was infertile, another was cracked, probably in shipping, which left 12 eggs. Of the twelve, six hatched. But two died. So my friend will have four turkeys. I was hoping for more but as my friend said, that’s four more turkeys than he had before.
I had mentioned in my last post the poult that had gotten injured by the incubator fan. He is fine, by the way. If you didn’t read it, the first turkey out of the egg hit his head on the incubator fan and was cut. The injury was not as bad as I initially thought, there was a lot of blood, I thought he had lost an eye but once we got him cleaned up it was just a cut of his head, but it could have been so much worse. The pictures below are of him after he was cleaned up they are a bit blurry and not straight on because he wouldn’t stand still. He is probably the feistiest bird in the bunch…
To prevent injury to the other birds coming out, I had to open the incubator up and cover the fan. This may have affected the hatch but it had to be done. So I first gathered what I was going to use, which was basically what I had on hand at 10 o’clock at night… Window screen (nylon, I think) and a rubber band. I cut a square of window screen, bigger than I would need it. I removed the lid and covered the fan with the screen and secured it with the rubber band, as you see below. And trimmed the excess. It took all of a few minutes. I will come up with a more permanent solution for my next hatch but this worked in a pinch.