Chick Hatched Too Early (Why + What To Do)

Waiting for your chickens to hatch can be a very long process. The anticipation to meet your baby chicks can keep your mind occupied for the whole 21 days.

But what happens if your bird hatches too early. Is this a bad thing? This article looks into it 

If an egg hatches too early, and the bird seems healthy and fine, then you can leave the bird in the incubator for a little while before moving it to the brooder. 

Chick hatched too early:

It is common for chicks to hatch at 21 days. Eggs need time to develop in the egg, hatching too soon can spell disaster. Some eggs may hatch very early and will have no problems but others may develop serious issues.

Your premature birds will likely look different than the rest. Because these birds haven’t lived in the incubator for long enough, they may be smaller and weaker than your other birds.

However, if your bird is fully formed, even though it’s premature, then you shouldn’t be worried. The bird will likely grow into a fully grown and fully functional member of the flock 

Why this happens: 

If your bird hatches way too soon, this likely means that the temperature in your incubator is too high. If the temperature settings on your incubator are too high, this can cause chicks to hatch out of their eggs sooner than usual.

The optimum temperature for chickens to hatch in is 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit (37.5 degrees Celsius), (lower temperatures aren’t too great for eggs either)

What to do:

Leaving your premature birds in the incubator will be best for them. The bird will start to walk and become active during this time, knocking into shells and other birds in the incubator. It will also dry off in the incubator.

If you take the birds out of the incubator too early then they will get too chilled, this will happen even if the birds are under a heat lamp.

Chicks are at their most vulnerable during their first days out of the shell. They are very susceptible to the cold, they can die from it. Thus, keeping them warm is best for them

You don’t have to worry about taking them out and feeding them just yet. Chicks absorb the yolk of the egg just before they make their way out of the egg.

The yolk supplies nutrition to the chick while inside the egg and also provides nutrition to the chick once it hatches. This yolk, which the bird absorbs before hatching, will supply the bird with the nutrients it needs for several days, thus, they don’t need to be fed while in the incubator

Just keep an eye on your bird over a couple of days to make sure that everything is ok. 

How long can a hatched chick stay in an incubator? 

There isn’t much of a rush to move your newly hatched chickens to a brooder from an incubator after they’ve hatched. These birds can stay in the incubator for about 12-24 and even 48 hours after being hatched.

Because hatching is a tough process, these animals may need to stay in the incubator for a while to nap and recover from this strenuous activity. Allow the birds to nap while they’re in there 

Baby chicks will become dry and fluffy after being in the incubator for a while, they will also move around more and become more active. You’ll likely only want to take them out of the incubator when it starts to become crowded 

How early can a chick hatch: 

Chicks will hatch when they’ve had enough of being in the egg. Some chicks will hatch on day 20, some chicks may even hatch on day 17 and have no issues.

How late can a chicken hatch? 

Chicks will usually hatch on or around the 21-day mark. Some will hatch on day 22, 23, 24 and, if push comes to shove, they will even hatch on day 25.

Day 25 is usually the latest that a chicken will hatch. If there is nothing going on with the bird after day 24 and on day 25 then there may be an issue.  This article explains why this happens and what to do.



In conclusion, if your chick hatches too early, and if there is nothing wrong with the bird, then you don’t have to be worried.

There have been cases of eggs hatching on day 17, if your chick hatches too early, but looks fine, you don’t have to be worried. You can simply leave the bird in the incubator for a little while to recover from this strenuous activity. 

If you enjoyed this article then you may also be interested in other chicken related articles. Here are some articles that you may be interested in: Chick Hatched With Yolk Sac Attached, Chick Hatched With Something Attached, Egg Pipped But No Movement

Chick Hatched Too Early (Why + What To Do)
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