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Help me with logistics, please

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by TwinWillowAcres, Mar 3, 2015.

  1. TwinWillowAcres

    TwinWillowAcres In the Brooder

    Oct 8, 2012
    I want to have 10-20 hens laying eggs for hatching. My plan was to hatch chicks February through June (22 weeks), setting eggs every week.

    I have been wanting to raise Rhode Island Red hens and cross them with a White Leghorn rooster. According to a publication titled "Crossbred Poultry" published in 1930, this is a superior cross, similar in production to a White Leghorn (study showed pullets laid 3 more eggs than White Leghorn), but lays large light brown eggs and starts laying 2 months earlier than Rhode Island Reds. Another advantage is they can be feather sexed.

    Now, here is where I need help. Let's say the RIR hen lays 4 eggs a week. On average, 75% of the eggs are viable for hatching. So 3 eggs a week x 15 hens = 45 hatching eggs. Is there an incubator that can hatch 45 eggs and is relatively cheap? Let's say that I get a 80% hatch rate. That means only 36 of those 45 eggs will hatch. Total, that's 60% of the eggs laid are hatched. Is that accurate?

    This means I will end up with 792 chicks, around 400 males and 400 females. Obviously I won't be able to sell all of the males. What would one suggest doing with the extra males not sold? We have a small animal auction every Thursday. Could I schedule my hatches for Wednesday and take the male chicks to auction on Thursday? Or would it be better to hatch on the same day?

    And the 400 females. Do you think it is more profitable to sell day old chicks, or raise them up and sell them as started pullets? I mix my own feed for my chickens, so I only spend around $19/100 lbs chick feed. Layer feed costs about $18/100 lbs.

    Thank you for any input. I would like to probably keep back some pullets out of the cross for commercial egg production (sales to restaurants, co-workers, family, etc) as they seem superior to their dams in terms of efficiency.

    Yes I could just raise red sex links, but it's not as fun (or as much work!) as hatching and raising your own babies.

  2. farnorth

    farnorth Songster

    Jul 6, 2013
    Upper Michigan
    How are you planning to know which 45 eggs are viable out of the 60 (and more likely 70 eggs you will get a week?)

    If you plan to hatch weekly you will need at least 3 incubators...but yes there are incubators that can hold 45 eggs but the cheaper ones are usually also more problematic and tend to need more tweeking and watching.

    If male chicks will sell at the auction I would plan for them to be at least 2 days old at auction time. Newly hatched chicks are a bit fragile and being taken somewhere where they won't be under lights for any amount of time will be hard on them. Might be better to auction them off a bit older even.

    I don't have a lot of experience but I sell my chicks straight run and at a day old from my home and they all go. I find raising them to pullets is a lot of work and feed and you really don't make much profit by raising them and I didn't want to have to figure out a plan for the males....so they go cheap and fast but they all go.
    1 person likes this.
  3. TwinWillowAcres

    TwinWillowAcres In the Brooder

    Oct 8, 2012
    I will be selecting desirable eggs -- good brown color, good weight, and candled to see if they're fertile.

    I was thinking about using the Styrofoam incubators -- how do you feel about those?

    Right now I am raising started pullets, I make about $9/head off of each one. So I was thinking I could hold out on them and I would make more money, but I'd need more space and I'm not sure what the demand would be vs day old chicks. It only costs me $2 to feed a chick for 17 weeks to laying age (like I said, I mix my own feed specific to the age of the bird so I make sure I'm not over or underfeeding nutrients -- most feed costs $14.30 - $16.10/cwt). And it costs me $20 to feed a chicken from 17-90 weeks.

    So if each hen laid 290 eggs, that's a cost of $0.07/egg for feed costs. And if I bought my chicks for $2.67 each (including shipping), then that is $0.009/egg for chick costs. Plus equipment and feeders/waterers, though of course those costs can be spread over the course of a couple of years/egg laying flocks.

    Sorry, just sort of thinking out loud here!

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