Does anyone hatch large quanities of chicks?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by MIKE555444, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. MIKE555444

    MIKE555444 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 8, 2009
    Pliny, West Virgina
    I'm am not new to hatching however hatching larger quantities of chicks will be a new experience.

    Last year I bought an old GQF 1202(?) Incubator and an old GQF Hatcher.

    This 1202 hold 60 eggs per shelf and has 3 shelves. 3 x 60 = 180 eggs. My experience with it last year was about a 60% hatch rate of which I was not happy with but so much better than the "little giant" experience.

    About a week ago I bought a new GQF 1500 Professional Incubator. I let it run for a few days and then started adding eggs. This incubator will hole 90 eggs per shelf and has 3 auto turning shelves. 3 x 90 = 270 eggs. I read that many people get a 90% hatch rate from these and that what I'm hoping for.

    I plan to pull my first tray out of the incubator and move them to the hatcher on March 1st for the first tray to hatch on March 3rd. Then every 3 - 4 days there after I will have a new tray hatching. The hatcher has 5 trays so I shouldn't run out of room even if some are a little late hatching.

    If I keep the incubators set through spring I should be able to hatch:

    3 trays old incubator yielding 3 x 40 = 120 chicks

    Followed the next week by the new incubator 3 x 75 = 225 chicks

    Followed by one week with no chicks then the whole cycle repeats


    I know I'm kinda "counting my chickens before they hatch" but I very hopeful for a decent amount to hatch regardless. I have the first cycle sold already with people on my waiting list but I'm wondering how others work out handling so many chicks? The large order I already have has agreed to pick up chicks at my house once every week until he has enough chicks. Right now I have bought some very large tubs that I can use, clean, and reuse. Any hints or suggestions? What about selling techniques?

    Thanks for any input
     
  2. Impress

    Impress Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Make a Facebook page, use Craigslist and keep your advertisements refreshed, discover every local flea market you can possibly get to, ask your local Feed Stores if they do any animal swaps, and ask your local feed stores if, after their season is over, will they keep your information on hand for people who are looking to buy chicks when they don't have them. I have a deal with four feed stores, I paid the $15 it cost me for 500 business cards, and they all have a pile of them for after their season. They get asked all year round, so making friends with your feed store will help you out tremendously. They usually only sells chicks from February to the end of March, so they rest of the time they will be sending people to you.

    Be prepared to really work at it to keep from being overloaded if someone backs out of a deal, make sure you are ready to house every chick that pops out of there! I wasn't prepared last year and had to rush to make 2 huge brooders after working at the flea market from four in the morning until four in the afternoon.
     
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  3. nova022

    nova022 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My local feed store is great for selling baby chicks and they will even take extra roos. They also have a bulletin board where people place adds. Good luck with you enterprise. It sounds like fun.
     
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  4. MIKE555444

    MIKE555444 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 8, 2009
    Pliny, West Virgina
    I always loved to gather double-yoke eggs.... until I started gathering for incubation LOL

    Still I won't complain my egg harvesting has not been bad at all:


    Out of 30 Rhode Island Reds hens (W/RIR Rooster) I gathered 26 eggs yesterday
    Out of 16 Rhode Island Whites hens (W/RIR Rooster) I gather 14 eggs yesterday


    Praise the Lord!
     
  5. mtnviewfarms

    mtnviewfarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi Mike -

    I am doing what you plan to do but have started on a MUCH smaller scale but have done extremely well so far so will share what has and hasn't worked for me.

    Started out last year hatching out my Barred Plymouth Rock chicks using an LG with fan and turner ( not great hatches ) - still used it but added a new
    Hovabator 1588 with the digital temp and humidity displays - had good 90 percent hatches with that one - in fact just yesterday afternoon set 42 eggs in it so they will hatch two days before my double Rainbow Pullet orders arrive from Meyer. ( I LOVE Meyer birds - Heritage Breeds and EEs - when order their all pullet deals I don't have all the excess Roos that nobody wants and they vac them for Mareks so don't have to worry about that as many of my buyers ask about it ).

    I have found that sales - at least for me - have depended on my LAYING THE GROUND WORK - USING ONLY FREE ADVERTISING ( AND THERE IS LOTS OF IT AVAILABLE OUT THERE IN CYBERWORLD! ) - LEARN YOUR LOCAL AND 200 MILE RADIUS CHICKEN NEEDS AND PREFERENCES AS THEY WILL MAKE UP MOST OF OUR SALES BASE - DEPENDING ON WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED ABOUT WHAT 'BREEDS ARE HOT THIS YEAR' IN YOUR ARE OF THE COUNTRY - FOCUS ON MEETING THAT NEED - MAKE A 'NICHE' MARKET FOR YOURSELF AND BECOME THE
    'GO TO' BREEDER FOR THAT TYPE OF BIRD.

    Since I'm an old retiree who just LOVES everything about chickens from A to Z I've probably left out some important points - if I CAN REMEMBER THEM - I'll add them! lol

    DO'S AND DON'TS ACCORDING TO MY OWN EXPERIENCE - JMHO HERE

    As 'Impress' has already pointed out - AND THIS IS RULE NUMBER ONE - Don't hatch out any chick that you don't have room to grow out until and if it sells. I was a mental health professional - masters degreed - practiced for 25 years - was extremely shocked to find out after I retired that the most 'disturbed' and 'personality disordered' people were out there in the world at large and - some will no doubt be your 'customers' so cover all your 'bases' as all sales will not 'go through as planned' and you must plan ahead for that reality.

    MAKE YOURSELF VISIBLE TO YOUR 'CHICKEN PUBLIC' - begin attending your local farmers markets as a vendor - get to know 'your chicken loving public' - I couldn't believe how many of us are out there. I also formulate, make, sell my own lines of totally natural handmade face and body care products which I've sold at farmers mkts and local shops for a decade - before I got 'into' chickens - so was already an established vendor but added my 'chicken' table to my booth several years ago -sell my 'multicolored' 'Rainbow Eggs' for $5 per dozen and my large brown eggs for $4 per dozen - also have promotional info, business cards, signs at that table advertising and promoting my 'started, POL and laying pullets'. This mkt season I will also market myself as 'the ' Ellijay Chicken Lady' ( my small town ) and OFFER FREE POULTRY Q & A during the mkt hours ( we all LOVE TO TALK CHICKEN ) In other words, CLAIM and BECOME THE GO TO PERSON IN YOUR NECK OF THE WOODS WHEN IT COMES TO ALL THINGS CHICKEN. ( i.e,. YOU, YOUR EXPERIENCE, YOUR PASSION & PERSONALITY PLUS YOUR CHICKEN KNOWLEDGE IS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT SELLING AND MARKETING TOOL - USE THEM WELL )

    Since I am retired and this is just a 'hobby at home thing' for me I remain 'small' but if I had the physical energy AND space to sell 5 times the amount of started Heritage Breed and EE chickens that I sell now - I have so many more calls and inquiries desiring birds - AND I GET PREMIUM PRICES FOR THEM WHICH ARE CLEARLY STATED IN ALL MY ADS - than I have birds to meet the demand.

    Another great sales and marketing tool is to refer your customers who want something you do not have available to other breeders in your area that you know of first hand ( i.e., I have several breeders in my area who do birds I do not and I always send business their way if possible - and I ALWAYS
    request that the person tell them that Elaine from Mountain View Farms in Ellijay referred them - this builds good will between breeders and usually it ends up building your business in many more subtle ways - i.e, 'that's the breeder who helps me to locate the bird I want - even if he/she dosen't have it - that's going above and beyond and I'll remember them for that!'

    LARGE PRE-ORDERS AND ORDERS - Put everything agreed upon, number of birds, dates, prices, down payment - disclaimer about you not being responsible for health of birds once they leave your premisies, etc. Even if they can't sign it physically e-mail to them and keep their reply e-mail in which they 'agree' to all the terms and conditions of the sale.

    GET A 50 PERCENT OF TOTAL ORDER DOWN PAYMENT AT TIME ORDER IS PLACED - THIS IS NON-REFUNDABLE IF ORDER IS CANCELLED BY CUSTOMER ( MAKE SURE THIS IS IN YOUR WRITTEN AGREEMENT AS WELL )

    SET MINIMUM BIRD ORDER AND SPECIFY THIS CLEARLY IN YOUR ADS - REALIZE THAT MAJORITY OF FOLKS WHO DO CONTACT YOU WILL NOT HAVE READ OR RETAINED ALL THE DETAILS IN YOUR AD - BE PREPARED TO BE VERY PATIENT AND GO OVER IT ALL AGAIN.

    BE PREPARED TO EDUCATE 'NEWBIES TO CHICKENDOM' BECAUSE THERE WILL BE MANY AND YOU WANT THEM TO BE SUCCESSFUL BECAUSE YOU WANT YOUR CHICKENS TO HAVE A HEALTHY SAFE LIFE AND TO PROMOTE FUTURE SALES WITH CUSTOMER WHO WILL RECALL YOU TKAING TIME TO 'HELP THEM GET STARTE WELL'

    As previously said, get to know your area and what they want then provide it - get the word out - use all possible venues to do so that are available to you - this will also take some research. For instance, I advertise many 'FREE' places such as my Mountain View Farm pages on the national Local Harvest's website, My MVF pages on the national Real Time Farm website, Ebay Local, my local TV station also has a website where local people can list things for sale and post lots of photos so I have several ads there too, Craig's List and my state's bi-monthly Farm and Market Bulletin.

    I also learned from my experience that most people in my part of the country ( I'm very fortunate to be located within 90 miles of many major metro areas LOADED with backyard poultry buffs just waiting to buy my birds! ) DO NOT WANT CHICKS they want either started, POL or Laying Pullets.
    This year seems to be the YEAR OF THE EE in my area of the country. Several years ago it was Black Copper Marans, used to be Welsummers,\
    you just never know from one year to the next but trust me - it changes so - know your market!

    I now usually only sell the started, POL and Laying Pullets because, for me, that is the only way I can make any profit at all and that is what I get the majority of calls requesting. I begin selling started pullets at 8 weeks then price goes up as the weeks I grow them out progresses up to the laying pullet ( up to one year of age and over the tiny pullet egg phase ) for which I get $ 30 each and have no problem at all getting that price.

    Due to family health issues I did not get to separate out my four breeds to breed them this season ( Black Australorps, Welsummers, Barred Rocks and EEs ) but I wanted to hatch out some eggs so will grow out and sell the crosses of these breeds which I will advertise and market as the 'FLOCKMASTER'S SPECIAL' and sell the chicks 'straight run ONLY' WHICH IS THE ONLY WAY TO SELL CHICKS - IMHO - and sell them as they grow out if all don't sell as chicks. Since chicks don't bring much $$ - I normally don't do it but since they are going to be crosses I'm going to give it a go this Spring. Should be some great egg laying and beautiful birds as I have them all housed together and have multiple Roosters of each breed over
    lots of laying pullets of all four breeds. As you know, sometimes we chickeners just do things for the sheer fun of it and to see what we 'get'.

    I hope some of this information and my experiences can be of help to you and I wish you the greatest success in your new business venture!
     
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