How to start a hatchery (Basic care, incubation, chicken breeds and more!)
Hello, if you’re new to backyard chickens welcome if you have been here for a while welcome back. Today we ask you to help us find all we need to know about this topic. Please share your knowledge, add pictures, and tell stories thank you! I would like to start a hatchery / mini hatching business and I have done my research but I don't understand a few things and I would love if you helped me and a few others. I will tell you what I’ve learned so far to prevent similar mistakes.
My hens get to free range but I was experiencing a problem with local life so I invested in a guardian dog mix because I don't want to feed a giant dog. Since then it's been great after the fact I was reading that geese can protect the flock as well. I also found that there were different systems to give your chickens water and feed. Though there are fancy feeder and waters, unless you somehow rid your place of mice they will take half the food your hens should be eating, not to menschen there ability to transfer diseases. I read that mice hate the potent smell of pine shavings but also that they were harmful to the hens too. I tried a cement pad under the coop so that they can’t burrow under it or can anything else. So I tried this and found that there were less mice but still too many my search began agen. It took me to special insulation mixed with steel wool but that was too expensive. I realized that as long as you have chickens you will have mice but to prevent their feed getting totally contaminated. I picked up some meatal garbage cans to store their feed in to feed them daily with and also chicken nipples. I found the mice population dropped dramatically and the hen’s heath got better. That's when the owls and hawks came; I invested in 200 square feet in run high enough that you could walk in. Though after the sky predators were gone I let them free range again. My collection grew and I thought why not start something. I continued researching and before I could get any bigger I invested in a little still air incubator. Every time I attempted to use it only 5% of the eggs hatched. It took me little to find out that others experience with them was not good ether, and how most suggested in a forced air incubator. I have not yet tried it but I have been currently building an incubator. I also found as that heritage breeds are wanted more than hatchery birds because unlike hatchery birds they are not bred for productivity but for other reasons. My feed bill was getting a little too high, I purchased a bit of grain and by hand I harrowed, planted, watered a crop of grain and mixed in with their feed which they loved. A local feed processing plant slowly collects grain and all I had to do was take it away and they were happy as well. Finding me having problems with roosters I searched up some breeds that where better on the hens and overall friendly these were Barred rock and Barneveld (Not everyone I’ve had is good). But if I was to have per breeds that wouldn’t work. I invested in chicken saddles just to keep the hens feathers there, and I also made a rooster shocker so if he was too aggressive it would shock him which did the trick. I was also having problems with spurs on the roosters getting so they couldn’t walk. I’d read in an article that if you heat up a potato and push it on a spur it would break off in the right spot, which worked. I found there were a few broody hens which I use to repopulate the breeding flock. But the breeds that were known to be broody I had a slit problem with. First I’ll try giving her a water bath then a cage so the air ventilates around her. When I sell chicks I try to sex them, I know that there are ways like wing sexing, after a week seeing who has a tail ect. But you can never go wrong with vent sexing. I cull birds after I give them an egg test. Then off they pop. I hope this helped and always improving.
More that was not included. I was able to get free sawdust but I quickly found that the chicks were eating it and so there was a high percent that were dying I did research and found that it expands so switch to shavings, I tried and it worked. I was reluctant to straw because it’s so dusty and dust affects the hen’s immunsystem. In the summer all they need is a shelter with roosts and nesting boxes but in the winter they need an insulated building. So if you want to keep the mice down then move them into the other building in the appropriate season. When I was pikin’ the Guardian dog mix I wanted a mix that doesn’t herd because that can end in a chase which ends in one less bird. I also didn’t want a retrieving type dog such as a lab, because they are meant to retrieve birds usually. Every year I would hose and bleach down the coop and powder it and the birds with mite powder, to clean / disinfect it / them. I tried ducks but they need full time water or they can clog up the nose, and they make a mess with it. (I had 4 ducks and they when through 3 gallons of water per day) I bought a trough heater and put it in their pond also a heated hose so it would keep it full all the time. In my search I found out that if you were planning on broilers that they need a special diet and they only lay 1 egg a week!
If you don't mind, I would like to ask a few questions because I found myself having problems with these.
1. What makes a heritage bird?
2. What dose NPIP mean?
3. Do you haven any suggestions for me?
Thank you so much!
Thank you for helping me edit to.
Edited by sgps - 12/30/15 at 1:13pm