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Farmette 1769

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Tag Archives: hatch

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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I promised to record the best time to start egg candling. At least for me and my homemade candler, it is at 5 days of incubation.

Faint Spot of Life – Middle

It is still hard to tell what is going on in a lot of the eggs, but the ones that are not growing are fairly obvious at this point. Mistakes can happen, so I will keep the “bad” eggs in until the 10 day mark. This is about half way through the process, since with your average chicken egg, it takes 21 days to make a chick.

We received 9 more new hatching eggs in the mail. They sat overnight at room temperature in order to acclimate to the warmth and settle down from all the movement of transport. Not rushing to the incubator seems to be a key factor in a better hatch rate for mail order eggs.

Fertile eggs cannot survive a freeze. But, it is OK for eggs to sit cold-ish while fertile. A hen normally lays an egg a day in a designated spot until she gets a nice group. Then, she actually sits down on the group to heat them up – staying on the nest around the clock from this point on. Egg embryos are designed to patiently wait in a holding pattern until their mother says “GROW!”.

The first set of eggs will be chicks at the end of the week. I am in the process of making a “Hatcher”. It needs to be much like an incubator. To the best of my knowledge it does not need a fan and certainly does not need an egg turner. But, it does need temperature control and lots of humidity. I will have more on this later after it is finished. I doubt that it will be ready for this week’s hatch.

Once the eggs start peeping (YES, you can hear them from inside the egg as they ready for their transformation) and/or 3 days before their due date, they can be transferred from the incubator to the hatcher. The humidity needs to be increased, so that they can break out of their shells. Up until now, we have just left them in the incubator until they break free, but this makes a mess. The hatcher will, hopefully, be a good addition to our setup.

A few great links:

Incubating Your Eggs From The Easy Chicken for beginners

Hatching and Brooding Small Numbers of Chicks

How To Hatch Eggs – Baby Chicks – Back Yard Chickens

Later in the Incubation Cycle

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Beautiful Buff Orpington Pair for Sale

Buff Orpingtons are fairly common Standard-sized chickens. They weigh a hearty 8-10 lbs. All of our chickens are on strike now with the extreme heat (we took advantage of this opportunity to de-worm everybody), but the Buff hen normally produces medium-brown, faintly speckled, large eggs.

Buff Rooster - Head Shot

First up is the 1- year old, golden, Buff Orpington rooster. He is not aggressive. That is a good thing, since he is a very big.

Big Buff Rooster

He gets along great with everyone. There is another rooster in with him now. Although he makes it known that he is the boss, he does not beat up on the younger boy.

Second, but not least, is our lovely Buff Orpington hen. She is 2 years old.

Buff Hen Head Shot

This hen is not broody, so we hatched her chicks from an incubator this Spring. There were no surprises. They all had gold/buff-colored feathers with cream-colored beaks and legs.

Shy Hen

This hen was raised from a chick here and is also very calm. However, she is not very fond of getting her picture taken.

I hate to send these two off to another home, but we are expanding our Bantam flock. We’ll be keeping fewer of the Standard-sized chicken breeds now.

Today’s blog is available for extra information regarding the Sale Advertisement for this pair of Buff Orpington chickens. Questions can be directed through the blog or can be emailed directly to farmette@goldencollie.com.

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We run a small operation here hatching chicks. Therefore, multiple breeds and types of young fowl are sometimes housed together. We have found out that you have to pay close attention to the type, age, size, etc. that are kept in these groups.

It is recommended to keep birds of similar ages together. Chickens and other fowl are territorial and can be aggressive towards one another. Our first experience was putting month+ old chicks in with our adult guinea fowl hen and chicken hen. One chick was dead and one injured before we realized our mistake.

Another thing to watch out for is brand new wet chicks right out of the shell. The chicks that are already in the brooder may mistake them for food or may take advantage of this vulnerable stage. You must let a chick dry out and be happily on its feet toddling about before introducing them to the other babies. We found this out recently (the hard way again) when a brand new one was put in with the rest.

Chicks Share 1

Chicks Share 2

Size is important. If you house a range of sizes together, make sure there are places for them to get out of the way of the bigger chicks. I have heard that turkeys should not be housed with chickens (for the turkeys health benefit), but we know a lot of people who keep them together.

Use your common sense and information you find on the subject to base your decisions on. No matter how you choose to do this, it is likely that there will be losses here and there. There are parts of running the Farmette that are difficult, but overall it is a great lifestyle.

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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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Some of you may be tiring of the egg blogs, but hopefully enough enjoy them to continue. I don’t know that I’ll ever run out of enthusiasm on this subject.

Yesterday, our first turkey egg was bestowed upon us. It was such a beautiful piece of art, that when we received another today, I had to break for a moment from typing to take a photograph of both.

Turkey Eggs

Our girl does not have a mate, so we are looking forward to one of our big breakfast days to try these out. They are quite a bit larger than chicken eggs, so we won’t need many.

The turkey hen that we have is a Broad-Breasted White. This is the most common commercial turkey. When we find her a Tom turkey (male), it will be a different breed.

BB White males cannot breed naturally and insemination must be used due to their unnaturally large chest (great for Thanksgiving participants who enjoy white meat, but not for impressing the girls). We are not interested in “juicing” a turkey and also prefer to use a baster for its originally intended task.

Therefore, we will be avoiding the BB White and the BB Bronze type Toms, which are both unable to mate. We are hoping to find “Gertrude” a boyfriend soon in order to hatch some hybrid poults.

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