Chicken sustainability

Last year was year two owning chickens. The first year Scott built a great chicken condo for me and the girls. I got 6 adult laying hens. One went broody, but the rooster was a dud. The second time a gal went broody we had an issue with weak shelled eggs cracking and coating the eggs causing non of them to hatch. Last spring we bought meat chicks and laying chicks. The very end of last year I had one of those hens go broody but only hatched out two chicks and we lost one the first couple of days. This year we got an incubator. Here is where I'll keep track of hatch rates and how the little buggers turn out.

So far we're off to a dismal start. I set 28 or eggs. The 8 banty eggs were duds. I think she's just too small for the roo's to get the deed done with her. One egg hatched on it's own on day 20. One more pipped on day 21 but after 24 hours of mo progress I peeled back the shell slowly and the little mite was pretty much shrink wrapped in there. It died two days later. I'm pretty sure I did two things wrong with that hatch. I let the humidity get too high which causes the chicks to get too big in the shell and they can't pip out. The second mistake was trying something I read on the internet. A guy was putting his eggs in an egg carton with the large end up for the last three days. I had a lot of upside down chicks when I cracked open eggs to see what went wrong. I also think I candled them way too often/ handled them too much. In my zeal to see what was going on inside the eggs, I candled them like every other day. This time I'm waiting till day 7 and leaving the buggers alone.

4/10 and we're on the third round of trying eggs in the incubator. We had the grand daughter down with her mom for spring break. I went in and found the incubator cranked up to 110. I'm pretty sure they cook at 103. Surprisingly that didn't matter as the eggs were only yolks inside. We go an egg turner and I thought my woes were over. No more having to have the incubator open too long to turn too many eggs. No more bumping them too hard as I put them back down. No more forgetting if I turned them three or four times already that day. Well I have a still air incubator and I left the thermometer on the bottom screen. The Egg turner raises the eggs up a few more inches closer to the heating element. I placed a third thermometer on top of the eggs and read 104. Bah!!! So I fiddled with the temp gauge, got it to hold steady at 99.5 and we're off again. This coming tues we'll see if I got things right or not. I have candled a few eggs and can see veining, YAY!

July '14
The last batch I got a decent hatch. 32 eggs set, 19 hatched. I think I lost two right at the start. One had it's insides on it's outsides when it hatched. One just up and died. I had one chick with spraddle leg that didn't thrive and died. 16 chicks made it over to Heather's once they were feathered enough to leave the brooder. A skunk wiped them all out when they were about half grown.

I started another set of 37 on July 6th. I just candled them tonight. Two banty eggs I knew weren't going to give me anything were duds. I threw out nine more on top of those two. Three had a red blood ring in them, so they had started to grow something. Six more were complete duds. Nothing but yolk in them. One week and two days till I get any results.

The first couple times I set only green eggs, white or cream eggs, and just a few browns. The chicks that ended up barred were almost twice the size of the EE cross chicks that hatched from the green eggs. This time I set everything I could get my hands on. The brown eggs are going to be either Australorp/White Rock crosses or Sagitta/White Rock cross, and should be pretty decent sized birds for roasting or breasts. The rest will be just big enough to make a good pot of chicken soup, but they will all probably be freezer birds unless something hatches with a super neat feather coloring that I just have to keep. 

No comments:

Post a Comment


Try these other posts