First hatch

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Black wallnut, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. Black wallnut

    Black wallnut Chillin' With My Peeps

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    23 days ago I allowed one of my buff orpingtons to sit on a clutch of eggs since she kept acting broody. I stopped collecting eggs for two days. She had been sitting on each days eggs for a while at that point and each late afternoon I would gather all the eggs from under her. I made the decision to let chicken math work for me this time. I think about a week and half ago, I'm not sure because I did not note the date on a calendar another buff started to share the duty.

    Most but not all of my other hens started laying their eggs in an alternate location. I still daily would get one or more fresh eggs from the nesting box. My egg production by the way has really slowed down to as low as 5 a day during this time. I have 11 hens total plus Broken Foot, my cocky rooster.

    Yesterday no hatching was happening. It dawned on me yesterday that it was three weeks since I started this. Late last night I went out and checked again, no hatching. This morning I went out, moved a hen out of the way and saw our first chick. After breakfast I went back out with the camera to try to get some good pics but the hens were real protective and kept moving back onto the chicks and eggs faster than I could take the pics. In this process I bumped a setting on my camera so the few pics I did take were way out of focus. Sorry no pics. I'll try to add some later.

    Now for the questions:
    1) how soon should I move the chicks into the chick room? (part of my coop that is a chicken wire barrier from the rest.)
    2) is there a downside to using a medicated chick starter?
    3) should I put the two hens with them for a day or two?

    This will be my third batch of chicks. I started last Easter with 39 chicks from our local ranch supply store chick day. Last fall I ordered 24 chicks for meat and raised to harvest. This batch will mostly be for food but I may keep 2-3 as layers. I will see how they turn out. I have a mixed flock and it seems that the number of layers I currently have is just enough to keep me in supply of fresh eggs when production is slow. Most of the time I have a surplus. I do not have any regular egg customers so I think I am at the happy medium.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I have no idea of your set-up or conditions or why you want to separate the broodies and chicks. There are a lot of different ways to do these things. It’s not that one is right and everything else is wrong, just that a lot of different ways work.

    Personally I leave my broodies alone. When the hatch is finished, they bring them off the nest and raise them with the flock. I put out food and water at a level the chicks can get to it and I do not feed Layer at all. I feed all the chickens Starter or Grower with oyster shell in the side.

    You can take them from the hens at any time and put them in the brooder, though it’s probably best to wait until the chicks dry off. You can leave the broodies with the chicks as long as you want, though I suggest just putting one broody with them and not both. A lot of the time multiple broodies will work together to raise the chicks really well, but sometimes they will fight over the chicks. The chicks might get harmed in those fights.

    I don’t know of any downside to using a medicated chick starter. There is some debate over whether or not you should eat the eggs of a hen that is eating medicated starter, but Purina says that is not a problem. That’s a personal decision. That is only if the “medicine” in medicated starter is Amprolium. You can check the label to confirm that.

    Amprolium is not an antibiotic. It targets the protozoa that caused Coccidiosis. It doesn’t kill them, just disrupts their reproductive cycle so the numbers are kept below the threshold that can cause problems. It still allows enough to reproduce so the chick can develop immunity and it does not disrupt the probiotics in the chick’s system. It certainly will not hurt a broody hen that is not laying eggs.

    I don’t use medicated feed. I find that by feeding the chicks dirt from the run starting at day 2 or 3 in the brooder and feeding them some more dirt every 4 to 5 days, they get grit, they get any probiotics the adults have, and they can start working on their immunities. By keeping the brooder pretty dry I disrupt the life cycle of those coccidiosis bugs enough that they don’t get sick. Also keep the water pretty clean.

    The older a hen gets the less likely she is to lay really well. I use a strategy of replacing half the laying flock every year and eating any that are older than 2-1/2. Say you want 10 laying hens. Keep 5 pullets every year. Many of those will probably lay on through the winter and skip the molt. Keep the five you raised the previous year and let them molt. When they finish the molt and start laying again, you should get a lot of nice eggs. In the fall when the older group has finished laying for the season and gone into a molt, eat them. That way in the late fall, you should have 15 hens laying, three different age groups of 5 each. But you only have to feed 10 through the winter. That keeps you flock young and fresh and should provide at least some eggs all year.
     
  3. Black wallnut

    Black wallnut Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pics as promised. Thanks for the reply Ridgerunner.
     

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