Hatching eggs is one of the most exciting (and nervous) things I’ve ever experienced. If you’re going through this right now and you’re hearing little chirping noises, all is going well!
When do chickens start chirping in the egg? The incubation period is around 21 days for chicks to hatch. They will typically start chirping from inside the egg around day 19-20, indicating hatching is close.
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When Do Chicken Eggs Start Moving?
Seeing an egg moving is also an indication that everything is going well and the chick is developing.
In my experience, some eggs will start to move, which is more of a rocking motion, around 4-5 days before hatching. So, around day 17 or so.
I have to say though, some eggs will not move. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong with the chick, so don’t panic if your eggs haven’t moved at all.
When they start to pip the egg you’ll obviously see some kind of movement. The shell is really tough for a tiny chick and they have to use some considerable force to break out.
How Does a Chick Get out of the Egg?
It’s hard to believe that such a small and weak chick can break out of an egg all by themselves, but they can.
Around day 20 you should notice one or more small cracks in the shell. These are called “pips” and are created by the chick to let some air into the egg.
To do this, they use something called an egg tooth. This is a hard, pointy, horn-like tool at the end of their beaks.
That’s right, chicks actually come equipped with a tool to help them break out of their shell!
After making a few pips, the next stage is for a chick to make a long crack across their shell. This is called a “zip” because it resembles a zipper being pulled from one side to the other.
They are then able to push the top of the shell off with their feet. Pretty amazing really when you think about it.
Oh, and their egg tooth falls off a few days later.
How Long Does It Take for a Chicken to Come out of the Egg?
The time from “pip to zip” is usually around 24 hours.
Assuming the humidity levels are right in their incubator the chick will be able to successfully hatch within a day or so.
There are exceptions to the rule, however. Don’t be alarmed if it takes a day longer.
Any longer than 48 hours after the first pip and you should seek some advice from a vet or someone experienced with hatching eggs though. It’s better to err on the side of caution at this stage of the process.
If you want to see what this looks like so you know what to expect, here’s a video showing a chick hatching:
What to Expect When a Chick Hatches
When a chick bursts out of their shell, don’t be alarmed if they look exhausted.
It takes just about all the energy they have to break out. Most chicks that have just hatched will slump over and rest for a while.
They’ll also be a bit soggy from absorbing the yolk in the egg. Keep them in the incubator and within a few hours, they’ll fluff up and look a lot more lively.
Newborn chicks don’t need to eat for the first 24-48 hours as they’ve eaten the yolk and membrane while inside the shell.
You should put out some water though as it’s important they keep hydrated. They might need a little help if they don’t have a mother to learn from, just gently dip their beak in the water.
Related content - How much water do chicks need?
In Summary - When Do Chickens Start Chirping in the Egg?
Some chicks will start chirping in the egg from around day 19 onwards. This is one of the most exciting indications that you have a healthy chick almost ready to start pecking its way out of the egg.
You can even start talking to them at this point. Most owners are convinced that their chicks chirp more when they hear their voice, and it’s an excellent way to start the bonding process.
Don’t be alarmed if your chicks don’t chirp though. Not all chicks make noise while they’re in their eggs.