Hi there. I decided a couple years ago to try having chickens so I purchased some multiple breeds from our local country store. I live in Simpsonville, KY on a couple acres and we're very much involved in animal rescue. We have 8 dogs, 10 cats and now 38 hens and 3 roosters. I started with 8 chicks from the store, various breeds, black bar, dominques, RIR, I slowly added, purchasing white leghorns from a hatchery in Missouri. I was so enamored with raising them to egg laying age that I just added until I have what I have now with a few accidental roosters thrown in my mix of supposed pullets. It's good though, they all get along. Since I know for certain a lot of my eggs are fertile (for I see the roosters doing their thing) I decided to try my hand this year at incubating my own hens' eggs and sure enough out of 22 eggs I gathered 17 hatched. I had a hard time seeing in the candeling process which were actually fertile, so I left all the eggs in the incubator and exactly 21 days later, they all started hatching. I'm so very surprised how emotionally attached I became. This is my 3rd day- I have lost three chicks. 1, I think the other chicks kinda helped hatch her too early, the egg we bloody and gooey and the little chick was very pink and gooey still. She made it through last night in the incubator, but this morning was laying there lifeless, with a new hatchling that hatched late last night and seems to be ok. One dead chick this morning in the brooder with the other 13 that were well and dry and seemingly doing fine-now I worry. Don't know why that little girl died, but am closely monitoring them, scared to lose any. Its strange, hatching the eggs myself I feel attached to them more so than with my other chickens. Not that I don't love my other chickens, but it's a bittersweet sense of pride to see them hatch and an intense sense of loss when one doesn't make it. There is still one egg that hasn't pipped, but I can hear chirping and the egg wobbles, so she's going to be a late hatch and is the only egg left that I can tell that has any motion in it. The remaining four eggs I believe were infertile and I'll toss out later I guess. Anyways, I know I've been very unconventional in my methods for chicken producing and this is my first hatching so I'll learn. I wonder though, does anyone know-is the infrared heat lamp bulb better to use than the clear bulbs? I am using a 250 watt brooding bulb, but I'm thinking it could be too hot. I'm taking off work early today to spend with the chicks and watch them to be sure they don't get too hot and plan to replace the bulb with a 125 watt bulb, but all I can find are clear, not infra red in 125 watts. Do you think that's ok? I don't have a conventional brooder, I'm using the cage I've always used with my 1 day old chicks purchased previously, I just lined it with foil insulation (on the outside so the chicks can't peck it and topped the cage with a heat lamp (which I think may be too hot). I love the chicks, I love the chickens, I love life in general and with pointers I'm reading on this site I hope to be a better chicken mamma. Some of my farm friends tell me it's not that difficult, that chicken production isn't as precarious as everyone makes it out to be. Well, I beg to differ. I love them and probably want to swaddle them too much!!! Anyways, I'm glad to be on here, anxious to read all the posts and experiences with chickens as my chicken adventures continue!