I had chickens on my grandparents farm when I was a kid. Commercial chicken farms, both layers and meat, were beside our farm. When the chickens were removed or added, a few would escape and I would be allowed to recapture them and take them home. My dad now has the farm and has a flock of free ranging chickens. My teenage son took an interest to chickens and is a member of his school's FFA. We purchased 6 Leghorn hybrid pullets (Ideal 236) and 7 Gold Sexlinks pullets from a local farm store on April 1st 2016. Something about the date made me feel a little foolish. In the process of building a coop and and a run now at my home in central Pa. Would love to free range them but not sure how the neighbors would react. I am easing them into the idea of a coop and run in the first place. I did "ask" if they minded a coop and a run. They said it is my yard, do what I want. I am also concerned about predators. I don't live "in the country" (yet) but fox, racoons, coyote and raptors are present. The predators seem to adapt to their surroundings and I am concerned that my chickens would serve as a new eatery opening up to them.
I also, in a momentary lapse of sanity, decided to incubate some eggs so my son could see the incubation and hopefully hatching of the eggs. I have an old round galvanized metal incubator that I successfully hatched eggs out of when I was young, carefree and uninformed. I set the temperature to what the thermometer was marked, added water to the pan, marked the eggs for turning twice a day. Sometimes only once a day if I forgot. And 21 +/- days later chicks appeared or didn't. The late or slow hatchers I helped along once they pipped the shell. Like I said, uninformed. Now, I borrowed a Farm Innovators 4200 Pro Series Incubator from a friend. I was expecting to come back 21 days later and have chicks everywhere. I told my soon to be ex friend, that I was almost ready to get my old incubator back out after reading the instructions and a few online horror stories. I followed a few tips from on BYC (
ChooksChick's incubation cheat sheet was very helpful) and felt confident enough to start hatching. I got donated eggs from my dad, my son's teacher and my ex friend. I have checked that incubator (temperature) more times than I did my own kids when they were newborns. Sunday the 24th I am going to candle and see what is happening. The temps when the eggs were layed are my main concern. (freezing and below) Not sure about exfriend's eggs fertility or son's teachers. I know the hens in my dad's flock are attended to regularly. The missing feathers on their backs is my evidence. Sorry for the long introduction and I apologize for the lack of technical knowledge of how to post on here. Would have liked to to give ChooksChick some better credit for the incubation cheat sheet. Walmart should thank her too. I bought every aquarium thermometer they had on the peg that day. Although the $1.63 and tax a piece isn't going to be noticed on any ROS spreadsheet at Walmart corporate. If they all hatch, I may repay my (ex)friend by giving him all 41 chicks.