Saturday, April 30, 2016

2016 Chick Hatch

Justin and started keeping two hens at our old house in town. When we moved, we sent Ouiser and Clairee out to my sister- and brother-in-law’s house because we didn’t have a chicken coop. The coop was our big outdoor project from last year. The chicks we hatched out as well as the ones we got from the feed store have really hit their stride laying eggs. We have somewhere around 22 hens and 5 roosters. I love seeing the spectrum of eggs we get every day.
Unfortunately, life gets in the way and we forgot to gather eggs for a while. Nearly a week I would say. Justin decided to fix up the giant incubator we bought at an estate sale and try to hatch out some chicks. We set out around 100 eggs and waited the requisite 21 days for them to hatch.
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Now we really didn’t have high hopes for a high hatch rate. We hardly know what we were doing. Folks keep asking what we’re going to do if they all hatch out and I replied I was going to be like Oprah passing out party favors.
Realistically, we planned to let them hatch, grow them out in the brooder until we could fairly accurately guess their gender, keep what hens we felt we could manage, give the rest away, and sell the roosters.
Three days before we were supposed to have chicks, Justin told me he thought he heard cheeping from the incubator. Amazingly, we had THREE chicks hatch out early.
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It was fun every morning and evening seeing how many chicks had made their way out of the eggs. At one time, Justin opened the incubator and 16 had hatched out overnight.
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As the numbers grew, we upgraded from a galvanized tub to a kiddie pool. With three post-hatch mortalities, we ended up with 54 chicks. We were proud of our 50+% hatch rate for only our second incubator trial and the first time in the big old incubator.IMG_7108
Our former neighbors in town had a brooder they gave us that is perfect for the chicks. Justin got it loaded up and brought out to the house. We filled it with pine shavings, the heat lamp, feeders, and waterers.
We have been collecting the eggs again for Michael to hatch out some of his own in his incubator.

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