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Farmette 1769

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Tag Archives: egg

Especially on Bantam chickens (mini size), HUMIDITY is the key to hatching eggs. It has to be really high (70%+) or the chick will get trapped in its dry shell and die.

This is mainly a pictorial blog. I will make a few comments with the pics.

First Chick of the 2011 Hatching Season

After the humidity was raised, this chick hatched just fine. I took the shallow plastic tray that the incubator came with out, and added water straight to the bottom. I also had a foil tray and a few small steel cups filled half way with water. This did the trick, bringing the moisture level way up.

First and Second of the New Chicks

Number two came quickly after. If one hatches, the others hear it and seem to “wake up” quicker for their own hatching process.

Eight Chicks at 10 Days Old

They grow very quickly once they break out of their shells. Water and chick starter feed need to be available at all times. CLEAN, WARM and DRY conditions are also very important for new chicks.

2 week difference - same parents

I am guessing that the older one is about 3 times the size of the one that just hatched this morning. They are together for the pic only. Different ages must be separated so that they don’t pick and maim each other.

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We just love our little Bantams. They are easier to handle than Standard-sized chickens and take up much less room. They are also less likely to wander far, so they have been let out of their pen for a few hours.

Surprisingly, their eggs are not that much smaller than your average chicken egg. We have ducks and turkeys and a group of Standard Ameraucanas for large eggs. That is plenty.

Although gives you and “add video” option, it seems to be limited as to the file types, so I have included a quick link to this clip:

As you can hear loudly in the background audio, the ducks were trying to steal the show. Actually, they just wanted more food for their bottomless-pit appetites.

The Bantams in this video are all Hens and Pullets with the exception of the Top Hat Rooster (Black body with a white plume of feathers on his head). The other roosters and in another pen so they won’t fight over the hens. The Top Hat rooster is a good predator deterrent since he is a mean little bastard.

We just purchased a new miter saw. This is a much needed tool for pen building. Hopefully, by the Spring, there will be a big, long pen or two with separators for breeding pairs. Until then, the Bantams can be kept in two groups.

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RE: Tuesday’s Post (May 25, 2010)

I was about to gather eggs from the duck pen when along crawled a Black Racer snake. He was around last year. It was the same snake that liked to curl up on top of the duck nest last year. I thought he liked the warm spot, or the eggs, but it seems now that he must have been patiently waiting for ducklings.

A snake has to eat. But, one duckling is enough of a sacrifice to nature this year, so off to the conservatory he went. Luckily, there is open protected land right down the road. He got out of his bag in the truck, which was great fun. Luckily, they are mild mannered. I ended up just holding him with one hand and driving with the other.

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The first two ducklings are out of the brooding bin and into the lot with our duck hen (the one who lost her drake). We will be adding two more when they are ready. Hopefully they will all get along OK.

New Duck Trio

The one adult that we have is fairly accepting of her new room mates. The introduction of fowl can be tricky, but is a bit safer with ducks. They can’t really use their feet as weapons and their beaks are curved. But they are capable of killing other birds. We will have to watch carefully when the 2nd two are added to make sure they don’t get attacked by the newly formed trio.

This should be enough to ensure a breeding pair or two. We are not sure if we will keep them all. It depends on the mix of sexes and how well they all get along.

The next set of hatch-able eggs will be either Khaki/Pekin X (cross) or 3/4 Khaki and 1/4 Pekin. The latter should be the best of the egg layers, although the 50% X come in at a close 2nd. In either case they make a great breakfast burrito (the eggs, not the ducks) or french toast.

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This technique works great on most eggs. Candling is the way to see inside an egg without disturbing the growing embryo.

Candling - Duck Egg

The easiest egg of ours to view so far is that of a duck. The shells are a bit transparent and the white color helps too.

The egg in the Pic is about to hatch. This duckling has already made an initial crack in the egg. It looks a lot like the damage from a pebble hitting the windshield of a car.

Ducks take their time breaking out of the shell. It is better to let them get all the way out themselves. Once in a while it takes too long and the egg starts to dry out. We have helped them out on occasion, but they do not always survive this way. There is something about the natural process that gets them moving and breathing correctly. Leaving them in the incubator longer to stay extra warm can produce better results.

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Please look at yesterday’s post Pic and you’ll see quite a variety of baby birds. There are Chinese Painted quail, Japanese quail, Pekin/Khaki Campbell X ducklings, Buff Orpington chicks, Americana, Americana/RIR X and Bantam X.

Half of our interest in particular breeds is how the eggs look. We purchased some fertile Japanese quail eggs since the eggs were so attractive. They are small and white dappled with brown. Hopefully the chicks will make it to adulthood and produce more of these tiny morsels.

Americana chickens lay light blue or green eggs. Two of our hens lay light blue and the third lays an aqua colored egg. The hens are all gray and the chicks seem to follow this coloration. The rooster is so multicolored that we hope to get a bit more feather color here and there as we hatch more eggs.

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Chick Mix - Quick Pic then back to the Brooder

Once the hatching begins, it seems to gain momentum. The sound of the new chicks motivates the others to hatch. Last year (Spring 2009) was our first one in hatching eggs.

I remember my husband, Jamie and I pulling eggs out of the incubator and wondering how much longer it would take or if they were duds. A sound came from one of the eggs, but I was the only one that heard it. I said “Did you hear that peep?”. Jamie looked at me as if I had three heads.

But, apparently, I had not gone off the deep end. It was just that neither of us knew that you can hear a chick right before it begins to break out of the shell. And it seems that not a lot of people know this. So, when we have guests in the Spring our new hobby is to have them hold an egg to their head and watch the amazement.

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