How Long to Hatch an Easter Chick

Or in other words how long does it take for a chicken to hatch after you hear it peeping. And believe me a peeping egg is really weird. But they do.  Peep that is. There is a little reservoir of air in sharp end of their egg and once they bust through into that air they are – peeping. For hours. So,  How long does it take for a watched Kettle to boil? (Preferably without an egg in it.) That is how long it takes an egg to hatch.

girls in field

It was 5am when John first noticed a wee hole appearing in one of the eggs in the incubator. They have been in there for almost 21 days. (Another time we need to discuss this 21 day thing. When breeding (or hatching) animals –  21 days comes up again and again. And there are 28 days in a lunar cycle so .. ?)

Anyway we saw the wee chick pecking at this hole. The girls got up.  looked politely  then kitted up and out to work in the field they went. Spreading straw and seed into the areas that the pigs have dug up. We do this every year  – it is an easy way to introduce new growth.  And the pigs only dig up the pasture at the end of the growing year when the grass loses its protein so it is a little job really. hatching-chicks-012

They were not hooked into egg watching yet. Not like me anyway.  But I knew that soon they would be. So when the hole in the egg got bigger I called them in.


It took six hours to get to this stage (above) and the girls were in and out checking up on their chick who was peeping at them through the hole in her egg.  We have re-named Miss Hong Kong: Chicken girl. She took over the chicken announcing with unabashed delight.


When this little foot flailed out into our view we all cheered.

No-one was getting any work done at this point.

Though one way or the other the whole field was fixed and the chickens were still hatching


In fact, though I hate to admit it, there was a little Jostling for a good view.


Then out she came. Seven hours from 5am.

We were so excited. She had to stay in the incubator until she was dry and interestingly but maybe not surprisingly she lurched like the proverbial drunken sailer  across the incubator at a dead run to knock on the next egg that was already peeping. This one popped out much faster. Three hours. Then another. Another couple of hours.  By then all the chores were done and it was time to start dinner. I served NZ roast chicken with crunchy Misky roast potatoes and Hong Kong pan fried vegetables.  They discussed the English word Irony as they ate with relish. (When they first came I asked them if there were any foods they would prefer not to eat or were allergic to. They just looked at me – slightly shocked and a little confused then said they were grateful to eat anything I served,  how rude not to and asked if we were going to Squeeze the cow.  No, I said sadly we are still buying the milk. No squeezing of the cow today).

As we were doing the dishes after dinner  John came in and said when are you going to put those two chicks in the brooder. They are wreaking havoc in there, he said. TWO! We all shrieked in unison dropping dishes with splashes back into the sink and bolting for the dog free snug to welcome the next one.hatching-chicks-081

When I went to bed last night the three girls (one from Japan, one from Korea and one from Hong Kong) were all lined up on the couch with their phones and video cameras:  watching – and moaning “I don’t want to go back to the university.  Five are cracking! Miss C.” they said,  without taking their eyes off the incubator. The incubator was peeping.  The brooder was silent. (Once the chicks get under their Mother Heater in the brooder they go quite quiet, all you see are their little beaks – all lined up.  Warm. Safe.)

I have to say here that these girls are in their mid twenties and finishing up some pretty high powered doctorates and degrees.  But the break between food and home is even more terrible in their home lands. Yet they carry a delightful ability to love the little stuff – something that rings with me.  This time has been a treasure for them and their phones are full of pictures of animals. hatching-chicks-046Good morning. No sign of the girls yet this morning. And even more chicks under the Mama Heater – though I cannot see how many at this point. I hope I can get these young women up in time to pour them into the car in time to get them to their train on time.  They are going to sleep all the way to Milwaukee.

I will send in the dogs – that should do it.

I hope you have a lovely day.

Your friend on the farm,


59 Comments on “How Long to Hatch an Easter Chick

  1. Congratulations Mumma C and Daddy John..and Aunties from Hong Long , Japan and Korea…and welcome to the International Chicks

  2. Ha ha – you’ll never get any work done if you step up egg hatching! Though I suppose the excitement will wear off eventually 😉

  3. eeeeep!!! Little chicks are here!! 😀
    Sounds to me like your 3 girls were brought up right ❤
    Nanny Boo and his wet tongue should get them moving for their train heehee … Perhaps they are planning to over sleep so they miss their train and get to stay longer? {Thats what I would be doing 😉 }

  4. Yes. the dogs make a great alarm clock! I can feel and hear the buzz of excitement as you watch the peeping and pecking. New life is wonderful to watch.

    As an aside, You are mentioned and linked to in my blog post today… I am talking cake!

  5. Perfect timing, the hatching! 7 hours would have severely tested my patience. So pleased the others were quicker. Happy journeys back to Uni to the girls. Laura

  6. It’s so nice that the girls got to see the chicks hatch before they have to leave! Good luck to them – we’ll miss them!

  7. Send in the dogs! My parents used to do that to get us out of bed. Good luck to the girls and to the chickies!

  8. What’s hard sometimes is to not jump in and help the chicks as they are hatching from their shells, especially when they have been trying for 7 hours, as your first one. I know, of course, that they must hatch on their own, but sometimes, when they are struggling so, I do help to remove a tiny piece of shell that is stuck. And then they pop out just fine!

  9. Set up your laptop opposite the hatching chicks and turn on Skype or FaceTime. That way, they can watch live feed on FarmyCom on the train. To be honest, I’d love to get feed on FarmyCom myself: Sheila snoring gently, the Dutchies chewing the cud, Tima and Tana wreaking havoc somewhere, Boo playing nanny to something small and fluffy. How very well organised of you to arrange for tiny fluffy chicks for Easter, Miss C… I think your
    three girls will be dying to come back one day.

  10. How perfect that they should hatch on Easter. I hatched a tortoise yesterday, too. Such excitement, but it is truly like watching grass grow. Such a slow process.

    Baby crocodilians call to their mothers before they hatch, as well. Our late director used to call to them in the egg, and they would call back. Baby crocodilians ask their moms (or the nearest nesting female) to help them out of their eggs.

  11. What wonderful memories they will have of their farmy visit. I have never seen a chick hatch in real life and I would love to. Yes send the dogs in, they are really good at waking people up! We know that in this house, a certain little dog just loves pushing her face into yours. Ugg!

  12. Chicks hatching on Easter surely is a good sign. Happy Monday everyone!

  13. It’s been a long time since I saw a chick hatch,it is so rewarding watching animals being born, you and the girls had so much fun, sorry they have to go home,have a safe trip

  14. Goodmorning!! We hatch our chicks late in the summer so that their peak laying occurs in the summer; when we are at our busiest.

  15. Loved the new chicks. I think there is something so primal about the connection we have with animals, the land, and people. It’s the web of life. We have gotten so technological and into our solutions about keeping safe and warm, well fed and sheltered, with high rises, freeways, machines, computers and cell phones that we have put too much distance between us and that web. Your blog puts that connection back in. Lovely and thanks! The Garden Lady of Ga. Diann

  16. Good morning Miss C. I wonder how many new arrivals will be pictured by tomorrow mornings post? I’m sure you gave the three girls memories that will last a life time.

  17. “The ability to love the little stuff”… I think I will ponder that now as I head out to plant garden today! 🙂

  18. Chicks and Easter, great timing! Last year, I crocheted eggs with a very large hook and bright, cotton colors that created an open weave in an egg shape, soaked them in liquid starch, then blew up a balloon inside the wet egg and hung them to dry. After popping the balloon, we hung them (about 20) on ribbon over the circulation area of the school library. They are like lacey ostrich eggs. The students like them and they are very festive. I have never seen a real egg hatch tho. Someday. Safe travels to the international scholars who are now certified chicken egg watchers. Lick ’em, Boo! 🙂 I, too, thought “Squeezing the cow” was very sweet. That is of course, literally, what happens. Language is so interesting. What would we do without the moon? Reproduction might be very, very different, time-wise. Have a wonderful, peepy day!

  19. The gift you have given these three young women cannot be measured against doctorate degrees or anything earned from a university. You have given them so much that can never be taught inside four walls. You have connected them to life, to the wind, the sky, the earth… They will be forever changed in a positive way for having met you and Our John and your animals and having walked the soil of your land.

  20. What a lovely experience for these lovely women. I too appreciate the little things. Perhaps we need an egg Webcam so we can all keep a weather eye on the hatching activity!

  21. Yes this was a unique experience for these lovely and generous young women. Even more touching for us the knowledge that we are SO VERY LUCKY to live in this country where it is possible to refuse food, at least for a large percentage of us.
    On seeing the chicks, the foot appearing is just delightful. And learning chicks peep before they appear is so amazing to learn. What a delight it must be to hear them, and maybe call to them like the croc-raisers do.(becomingcliche.)

  22. What a glorious way to spend the day! I love your exact description of having an incubator full of peeping—watching, watching, wishing, watching……

  23. Such a happy post – you made my day. Given the time difference here, I imagine the girls are either up and gone, or have given in and decideed to stay for life! That’s what I would do.
    ViV xox and an extra x for the chicks.

  24. Loved this post so much – bought back so many happy memories of egg hatching for me. The thrill of it has never worn off for me!

  25. You will laugh out loud with excitement when you see what i have to show you tomorrow.. can’t stop.. today just got wildly busy!

  26. Whether you are 5, 25 ,55 or older even, watching those chicks hatch had to be a fun. An Easter chick moment to remember always.

  27. What a wonderful Easter on all counts . . . looking forwards to tomorrow’s send! How lovely for you to have all these new connections also . . .

  28. I’ll keep this short. I enjoyed this as much as the girls. How serendipitous the timing. The dog was how I got people out of bed too. 🙂

  29. What delight you have brought into the lives of these young women. I could feel their brains coming back into balance. (and I never knew that eggs could peep). Watching new life coming into being is the best thing.

  30. It sounds like the girls wanted to enjoy every minute of their time spent with you and the animals.

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