So I wrote Cavendish Chickens for my name. That's because we are doing this as a family. Hatching and raising chicks. We are new to raising chickens. We've incubated eggs before, but not with a real incubator. Tomorrow (4/29/2010) we will be using an LG incubator to hatch 6 eggs. I've heard it's not really the best, nor very much favored, but it's what I could get a hold of in a timely period.
In our family is myself and my husband. We have 2 kids; a 7 yr old son, and a 3 yr old daughter. We live with my parents in Summit County, Ohio. My mom is recently disabled and I am here to help care for her while everyone else is at work. I am a full time stay at home mom. Well... full time when I'm not running a Tupperware party or booth. I love Tupperware, and couldn't ask for a better career. Though... I could ask for more parties. lol
We currently have 3 dogs, 1 cat, 1 rabbit, and 1 betta (siamese fighting fish). Chickens is our new addition. It was originally for two reasons. One, for the eggs. And two, something my son can have a little responsibility over to help structure him more. He has a really hard time with taking responsibility and obedience. I am willing to try almost anything to help settle him. Now we have a third reason. My mom had chickens growing up, and loves the crowing of roosters. She wants more than anything to hear one crow, and to be able to see them. And I am trying as hard as I can to make this possible. Only thing is, we don't have a lot of money and need to get her a ramp so she can go out back to see them. I don't know how we'll manage to achieve this goal. But we are going to do everything we can.
I have already picked out a name for one of the females that we hope to hatch. For the sweetest, best tempered, and docile hen... I have chosen the name Precious. And I am probably the most excited to see our babies hatch.
Well, we ended up starting incubation on May 1st. Today, May 21st we have our first hatchling! A baby speckled sussex! SO CUTE!!! We are expecting 2 more eggs to hatch, two Orpington's. I hope they hatch soon, I feel bad the sussex is spending time alone. =( If they end up not hatching for some reason, we will have to go buy more chicks from our friend that are about the same age. And since it's a lone sussex, we'll get more of the same breed so it's not so alone. =) Here's hoping for more babies!
So as of today we have our two chicks. We hatched one, we were told is a hen. So we bought a rooster from the same guy. The hen hatched May 21st as previously noted, and the roo hatched April 2th. They are physically showing signs of differences, but verbally... we aren't sure. The roo (Shanticlair - we call him Shanti) has been crowing since he was 2 months old. The hen just recently started clucking and sometimes make sounds like she is trying to crow too. Do hens do that too? I am going to try and post pics as soon as I can figure it out again. Right now they are in cages, but on Friday will finally be in their coop and pen. (So exciting!) So right now we are just trying to be sure the genders are right.... well that of the hen that is. They both still make their chirping sounds. So Shanti has a shorter, kind of curly white tail, and Precious has a longer, straighter tail that is blackish with blue. Both of them have pretty large combs. Precious is more curious and outgoing, and Shanti is more shy yet aggressive.
Well, we had to give up one of our roo's. They weren't getting along as well as we thought they were. So we replaced with hens. Different breed, but very sweet. We kept Precious Boy (Speeckled Sussex), and our two hens we bought are leghorns. Light brown (Mable, and white (Gloria). I'd like to post a picture on here, but it won't let me for some reason. But if you look for my most recent forum post on raising chicks I have pictures.
I wrote a narrative essay for my english comp class. I hope any of you who read this will enjoy it. This is my story about beginning a new life raising chickens.
Becoming a Chicken Owner
February 10, 2011
One day, I sat and pondered to myself about how neat it would be to raise chickens. I wondered
if I should start with chicks, or adults. Deciding to start with chicks, I then had to determine whether I
should buy chicks, or hatch them. I figured if I hatched them they’d have more time to get used to me.
So, how would I get a hold of eggs? I wasn’t quite sure.
My husband and I were driving down the road to go to our local Walmart when I saw it. There
was a sign advertising fertile chicken eggs. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I made my husband stop by and
purchase three buff orpington eggs. I read that they were a gentle breed, and that is important when
you have kids.
Immediately, I began constructing a homemade incubator. I took a box, a light, a Tupperware
container, and some water and began to work. First I made a hole to stick the light through. Then I set
the Tupperware container in the bottom of the box with water in it. This container had many pieces, so
I chose to use a second piece that had small holes in the bottom and place it over the water in the other
part. I gently laid the eggs on top of that container.
Twenty-one days is a long wait. Each day that passes causes you to become more anxious for
the day the eggs will hatch. I turned the eggs multiple times every day, and waited. On day nineteen, I
stopped turning. From this point on you don’t touch the eggs, or open the incubator. We checked the
eggs for development, and found that babies were growing.
At this point, I am getting very anxious. Day twenty-one came and went. No babies. Days
twenty-two, twenty-three, and twenty-four go by - still no babies. On day twenty-five we gave up. We
looked in the eggs and found that two babies died in the second week, and one in the first week. It was
heart breaking. But I wasn’t going to give up that quickly.
We went back to the man that had the eggs and bought six more eggs. We got two buff
orpington eggs, two speckled Sussex eggs, and two mille fleur eggs. Then we headed to the local feed
store and purchased an incubator. When we got home, I set up the incubator and waited six hours like
the directions said. That way I could be sure the temperature and humidity were just right.
After making sure everything was just right, I placed the eggs in an old egg carton and put it
inside the incubator at a slight angle. Each day, for eighteen days, I switched the tilt of the egg carton
from left to right twice per day. Day nineteen came, and I was nervous we’d have the same outcome as
the last time. We didn’t check the eggs for development at any time. We just waited to see what would
I was so worried, and so anxious. What if they didn’t hatch? What if they did? What if only
some hatched? On day twenty I checked the incubator to make sure the temperature and humidity
were still holding good. And then… I heard it. “Peep. Peep. Peep.” I could hear a baby chick peeping
from inside its egg! I was so thrilled! I knew we were going to finally have chickens.
Day twenty-one came, and we had some quick errands to run. I didn’t think we’d be long, and I
was anxious to be home to watch babies hatch from their eggs. As soon as we got home, I headed for
the incubator. A speckled sussex baby hatched! I was so excited! Only five more eggs to go. I waited
and waited. No more peeping eggs, no more hatching. I gave these last eggs four more days before
giving up. We checked them, and they were all gone. They died in the first week. It was really sad, but
at least I had one baby!
Oh no! One baby? Chickens are flock birds, so you need to have more than one. I called the
man back up to see if he had any speckled sussex chicks available. The youngest he had were a month
old. We thought our baby was a boy, but had him check just to be sure. He told us our baby was a girl,
so we purchased a boy from him. And our baby wanted held nonstop. That didn’t bug me any. I
wanted to give it all the loving I could. Unfortunately, the one we bought didn’t want touched at all.
How could I give him any loving? I guess treats work.
We named our chick Precious, and the one we bought Shanticlaire. At two and a half months
old, Shanti was already starting to crow. Roosters don’t usually start crowing until three months of age,
but we were excited. And at two months of age, Precious… crowed. Uh-oh. Were we right about
Precious being a boy, or did our girl decide that she needed to crow too? At three months of age, we
got the answer. Two roosters. Wow. We didn’t expect that one.
Shanti and Precious didn’t do too good together. Shanti kept Precious pinned in a corner, and
wouldn’t let him eat or drink. So, we took Shanti back and bought two beautiful hens. One was a light
brown leghorn, who we named Mable, and the other was a white rock that we named Gloria. And
Precious… well, we couldn’t have a rooster with a girly name now could we? We thought long and hard
about how to rename him. Then one day our little girl told us to call him Precious Boy. Perfect!
Winter started getting closer, and I worried about my chickens freezing to death. I did some
research online, and learned that chickens can get frostbite. To avoid this, we were to put vasoline on
their combs and wattles. No problem, but what about keeping them warm? We then decided to put
plastic up around the run, and heating pads inside the coops where they sleep. We had to cut an area in
the plastic for ventilation though. That way moisture could escape, and they could have continual fresh
We’re getting ready to head into spring now. Our girls are great egg layers, and Precious Boy
takes really good care of them. We spoil them all with treats almost every day. We ordered a new coop
for them, and will be building them a bigger run so we can expand their little flock. We not only ordered
one new coop… but two. Two new coops, two larger runs. Why? Well, we are now expectant parents
again! We ordered 12 chicks from a reliable hatchery, and they will be here in May. We are so excited!
It is pretty hard to wait so long for the new babies. The feelings we have are exactly like those
of an expectant parent. Nervous, anxious, happy, and we’re getting a little impatient. We have
everything just about ready for the new babies. We just need to place the new coops, and get the runs
up. Then we have to get a brooder ready for the babies.
A brooder is the box, or enclosure, that you keep the chicks in until they are big enough, and
strong enough, to be outside. This brooder also stays heated to help keep them warm since they are so
small. And you can bet that I will spend every possible minute I can with these babies. And when I can’t
be with them, I will worry nonstop about their well being. It’s just like having a newborn baby, and I can
Boy, I'm not sure how to update from that last post. We've had many chicks this year. None from those original birds. I bought chicks, bought eggs... went a little chick crazy, which is hard NOT to do! LOL As of right now... here's my current update. I have Precious Boy still. Sold Mable and Gloria. I also have a trio of EE's, a trio of RIR's, 8 silkies, 5 bantams, 3 bantam chicks (mixed breeds), and 1 buff orp chick. I need to sell the majority of them. My mom passed away just before Halloween. We started helping my dad financially to help keep the house going. We've been living here for quite some time, and my mom always did everything to keep this house going. We don't want to lose it. The day before Thanksgiving my husband was sent home from work because of his spinal stenosis. He was told not to go back until he is 100% better, which will never happen. I'm currently looking for a job, but now having much luck. I'm extrememly low on supplies to keep these chickens going, and any money I can make selling them will go to my dad to help with the mortgage. Sad thing is... I haven't been having much luck selling them. =/ I want my babies to go to good homes. We do have 8 picked out we'd like to keep. But that depends on what happens in the next few weeks... like whether I find a job or not. We've really hit the hardest times we've ever had to face. I don't know what we're going to do... and no idea what's going to happen next.....