On December 11th, 2013, 141 BYC friends set eggs for the 5th Annual BYC New Year's Day Hatch-A-Long.
When I first found the page for the hatch, I was ESTATIC! I didn't even own an incubator!!! That night, I began asking MANY questions....the nest day after coming home I found an incubator waiting for me! an early birthday present! that night I set it up.....it ran for 2 days straight into set day. This was my FIRST ever incubator hatch!
A day before set day, I went over to my breeders. He had given me a total of 21 eggs. that day he collected 9, and had given us those, along with 1 dozen from the fridge. once I got home, I took out all eggs with cracks (just so I didn't have any explode in my incubator) there were 4 cracked, which was most likely from the bird laying it. I was very impressed with the small amount broken. that left me with 16 eggs to incubate. SO, I checked all the air cells and realized there were 3 slanted over to the side...they were from the refrigerated eggs. I drew all air cells on the outside of the egg just to keep track of the growth.
Over that week I had collected 1 egg every day from my own hens. 7 OE Americuana crosses, and 1 Japanese Silkie cross.
On set day, we had 25 eggs. oh! the joy of the next coming days!
Of the 16 eggs, at day 18, (lockdown) I realized I had 12 clears....those clears were from the refrigerated batch. I wasn't expecting the fridge eggs to hatch, for the length and period of time they were most likely there. 6 of the fresh eggs went to lockdown, along with 6 of mine. (A Jap Silkie cross, and 5 Americuana cross.)
About 3 days before the chicks hatched, I began making a coop for them. It is SUPER nice! its a chicken....sort of an free ranging idea? I'm building it off on another BYCer's coop on their coop page. here is their coop so you could have an idea of what ours will look like: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/birdsinbethels-chicken-coop-tractor
If all works out fine, we made our coop a tad bigger so it could fit about 7....or 8? we are STILL not done.....and probably wont be for another few weeks. so much snow and catch up work to do!
A day after lockdown, all eggs began wiggling and waggling all over the incubator floor! around noon I heard cheeping! At 3 o'clock I heard cheeping! I thought I was CRAZY then video taped it and heard it again! Suddenly there was a crack....and there was a PIP! On day 19, all eggs except for 5 had pipped! all night I could hear them peeping in their shells....I probably got 4 hours of sleep....literarily I got up to check on them every 30 minutes!
so on new years eve, I had my best friend come over......she came at 4 o'clock. already 4 chicks had hatched.....on day 20. so, 9 chicks hatched that day, 12/31/13......one was 5 minutes shy of being a new years baby! so, 2 chicks hatched on new years, and one hatched the second....day 22. almost all of our chicks were early birds....FOR REAL!
Once all chicks had hatched, I sexed them using the head hanging method. it proved all chicks tested CORERECT! 4 of the other chicks were not tested.
we ended up hatching 12 chicks of the 25 eggs set.....good? its ok. here's what I got:
3 BTW Japanese Bantams, 1 hen, 1 roo, 1 questionable
5 OE cross X Japanese BTW Bantam, 3 roos, 2 hens
1 calico silkie, hen
2 sizzles (silkie frizzles), 1 partridge hen, 1 white roo
1 BTW Japanese Bantam splash silkie cross, roo
Here were my adorable chicks on day 1!
Calico Silkie, hen
Partridge Silkie, hen
White sizzle, roo
Japanese Bantam, hen
Japanese Bantam Silklie cross, roo
Here, 10 chicks are shown.
So, I named all of my hens....6 of them!
here they were at 3 weeks old.
Woodstock (Ti), OE cross
Mari, OE cross
Timothy, Partridge Silkie sizzle
Bemmie, Calico Silkie
Button, BTW Japanese Bantam
Tokyo, BTW Japanese Bantam
We ended up with 6 roos as well. here were their pictures at 3 weeks:
Leven, OE cross
Squidgy, White Sizzle
Milkshake, BTW Japanese Bantam Splash Silkie Cross
Wiggles, BTW Japanese Bantam
Ivy (who turned into a roo), OE Cross
Right now, I am planning to keep my 6 hens, along with my roo Leven. I don't know if I will keep any other roos.....My breeder is receiving all unwanted roos of mine! CONVINIENCE! LOL
Marshe, my silkie hen turned broody once the chicks hatched. she would not take the babies, but I may end up having her hatch eggs!