The last 2 times I got chicks, they were ordered from Cackle. I thought this year I might try and hatch some instead. I bought an incubator from TSC saturday, ( they had fuzzy butts there already!!) The couple I get my eggs from, are usually hit and miss. Sometimes I can get as many as 5 doz, if I wanted, other times weeks will go by before they have anything. I did get 2 doz from them friday, but those are sitting in my fridge. So, my questions are. Will the 2 dozen I have be ok to try and hatch? Can I add more eggs as I get them, if I mark them so I know which one are the older? Assuming I can add eggs weekly, how far apart can the chicks be in age, before I run into problems? Thanks in advance, for all info and advice.
I know that people have hatched eggs that were kept in a fridge temporarily.
The viability DOES GO DOWN with each successive day they are not under the hen.
However, I have no idea what the percentage of viability decline is.
I suspect you wouldn't want to use eggs that had been VERY cold, nor in for longer than two or three days, if you want good success.
There is often up to a week of adding eggs into a nest with broody hens.
She'll go off broody pretty much as soon as her chicks are wandering far, because it's her job to take them out and feed them.
If I had to make the choice, I'd not use eggs that had been chilled more than two days, and I'd not add more eggs to a broody clutch more than 3 to 5 days after the hen began to sit.
You can, of course, try anything, but I always think of the little suffering chicks. LOL
I've had one bad hatch and it was enough for me. Chicks were born alive, but.....
Some of them had innards hanging out and died almost right away, others within days and then weeks.
I had one survivor but she must have been deficient in many ways.
She was a reject from the chicken community, she acted a bit strangely, and when we culled her, we found that she never developed eggs.
Temperature and timing are very important for good hatches.
I would wait til you have enough eggs to fill the incubator all at once. Chicks require more humidity during the last few days before hatching so you want them all to be the same age so you don't spike humidity and temperature at the wrong time for some of the egg's development. That could really set things off for those chicks. Also, hatching is often a messy event and very smelly in my opinion. That mess could spell disaster for any eggs that still have a few days to go as it increases chances of disease or infections at hatching for them.
The longer you wait before putting them in the incubator, the lower the hatch rate is but you can collect eggs over a ten day period and still expect pretty good hatch rates, provided you take good care of the eggs.
Thanks for the replys. The deformity angle was one I was unaware of, so thanks for the heads up, Natalie. Definitly not something I'd want to experience much less share with my boys. And thanks to you Craig, that was the answer I had tried to search for, but wasn't finding. I had found and read your post, just this morning, before posting this topic, though. I can only hope to have as good a hatching rate. What ever did you do with 97 chicks? and how many of those ended up being roosters?
Ray Star wrote: Thanks for the replys. The deformity angle was one I was unaware of, so thanks for the heads up, Natalie. Definitly not something I'd want to experience much less share with my boys. And thanks to you Craig, that was the answer I had tried to search for, but wasn't finding. I had found and read your post, just this morning, before posting this topic, though. I can only hope to have as good a hatching rate. What ever did you do with 97 chicks? and how many of those ended up being roosters?
As you can imagine there was about a 50/50 split of males and females. A few of the birds that we hatched here were culled early for bad behavior and a few from the hatchery didn't really take to the pasture so well and failed to thrive. Those birds were so small that I cooked them whole and fed them to the pigs. Seemed like the best use of the resource as it would have been too much work for such a small meal for people.
Once they were mostly grown I separated the males out and butchered all but three of them. The three amigos (all australorps) were reintroduced to the hens in the fall where they took up their roles in the flock.
One of those males was killed fighting a falcon I think, so now I have two. (always good to have a back up plan)
So that left me with the 50 or so hens and the two roosters to keep over winter. Now that spring has sprung and the hens are laying again, I'm culling out any hens that are small or not laying. There's a few that are getting by just because they are really pretty and I'm hoping they start laying before it's time to make soup again. I'm going to get the flock down to about 30 birds this year and just let them do their own hatching work for a few years. That will allow me the time to put towards other things.
Okay, checked with couple I usually get eggs from. Carol said they were only getting 2 to 3 a day, try back in a week. PS they own the local liquior store, so thats were I get my fix, lol. Anyway, tried the lady who I bought hay for my goats from ( they are being boarded now). Nope, no rooster. Went driving threw town, into amish country, found a guy who said his son had some "up the road away". Drove up the "road" got a lot of "yeap, up at the house" replys. Had a young girl answer the door and finally bring me a dozen and a half eggs "yeap fresh, yeap got a rooster". Drove/ skitted down a hill, grabbed eggs to stop from falling and discovered they were freeezing. Didn't know amish had fridges?! Said F#@k it and took doz, from fridge and 18 from farm and putting them in battor. If one hatches it'll be a miracle. Plenty of time to buy fuzzy butts from TSC. lol . Thought I'd share, my day.
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