How do I get started incubating my own chickens' fertile eggs?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by sarahandbray, Nov 17, 2014.

  1. sarahandbray

    sarahandbray Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm kind of trying to get a good list of do's/don'ts here to get myself started incubating my own chicks. Right now, I have 28 hens and 8 Roos. All the Roos and 18 hens are all 13-weeks-old.
    I have 6 Golden Comets who have been laying for maybe 6 weeks and 4 Leghorns who have been laying for the same.

    I would like to try my hand at the incubator a friend is giving me by incubating eggs from the 6 Golden Comets and their favorite Roo (a Beautiful, big Pioneer/Dixie Rainbow) who has been mating with them for the past 2-3 weeks. If he's crowing and mating them frequently, can I assume he's actually able to fertilize them this early on?

    I know these chicks would be a production red mutt (not sex-linked) but in the spring, I would like to get my breeding pens set up. I will try my hand at our Lavender Orpingtons, Black Copper Marans, Barred Rocks, Welsummers, and maybe Olive Eggers.

    I figured this could be a good test run!

    I have a smaller run/coop I've been keeping the Golden Comets in overnight and letting them out during the day. Should I just put the big red Roo in with them for a week or two and collect those eggs, keep them in our basement, and then put into the incubator after about a week? One hen lays scratchy, dry-shelled eggs, so I'll leave those out, but the other 5 lay the nicest brown, large, smooth eggs!

    Thanks for the suggestions in advance!!

    Sarah
     
  2. aidensmomma

    aidensmomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would say first and foremost, read everything you can in the learning forum. Then if you have any questions, search the incubating forum, because I promise you, the answer is there! Finally, learn as much as you can, but go with your gut. Good luck!
     
  3. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    Yes put the rooster with them for a couple weeks before you start collecting.

    When it comes to incubating-----I personally would say----Just ask someone that knows what they are doing---someone that hatches alot of eggs---Let that One person ONLY talk you through the first batch---saves many, many hours of reading and getting so many different answers and getting so confused. Incubating is so simple and easy---if you will follow simple instructions from a good teacher. Good Luck!!
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2014
  4. sarahandbray

    sarahandbray Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks!! I actually don't really know anyone (other than classroom teachers!) that hatch their own eggs, to be honest!! I have 3-4 friends that own little backyard flocks, but they just buy their own day-olds. I did too, and will again in the future, but I'm hoping to hatch some in an incubator, or better yet, have one of my hens go broody this spring!! :)
     
  5. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    There are alot of people on here like myself and many others that have alot of experience in hatching eggs. You can ask and see if someone will walk you through it as you are doing it---someone that will tell you what you need to do next and when. Get with this person on PM or through their e-mail. Hatch some eggs then share with pictures on the Forum.
     
  6. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

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    I disagree. One if you are passionate about something and really care how to do something you should be willing to put the time into learning all you can through reading and research. Second, never just take one person's opinion on how to do something. It may not work for you, or it could be GULP bad info, and yes it's out there. Not everyone that answers a question, even on here, knows what they are talking about. Listen to what people have to say. (I usually go with the highest recommended way of doing something first and if that doesn't work, I go with something else.) Sometimes, I use the knowledge I have picked up through reading and opinions from here and I go with my gut and common sense. If something someone says doesn't sound right, get a second opinion and go with your gut. Always ask questions if you have them, no matter how dumb or insignificant they seem.
     
  7. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

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  8. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    I agree that a person should look for good info---But how are you going to know its the right way or not, how are you going to use your own judgement when you do NOT KNOW anything about it. It confuses Newbie's. I have read so many times on here that a newbie says they are confused because this one or that one sad this and that--they read here it says this, read there that it says that. A good mentor can help a newbie So much to get a succesful hatch. A Good Mentor has already figured out what to do and what to not do. Alot of people learn and understand so much more by being told/shown what to do than trying to read 100 books on the subject.

    Examples---I personally have helped several newbies (in my area)to have real good hatches all using still air incubators except for one guy made his incubator----He called me several times in 3 weeks, did exactually what I told him and he had 100% Hatch. My mother---does not own a computer to read "ALL" this info---she hatched 27 out of 34 on her third hatch----her first 2 hatches she got one chick out of 47 eggs on one set and 0 on another set---trying to read the book that came with the incubator----she was ready to give up but she decided to called me for help on her 3rd hatch. Her 4th hatch she hatched 34 out of 37. I talked her step daughter through it and she hatched 43 out of 47. I am Sure there is alot more on here that Know alot more than I do and I KNOW if she will get just One Good proven Mentor to help her----her first time around----it will help her more than ALL the reading she can read. THEN after her first hatch---what she reads can be helpful because she can weed out all the --not so good info-- that she will read if she reads Alot. Just My Opinion.
     
  9. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

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    Having a mentor is great, I'm not knocking having someone to turn to. I'm just saying, it's better to have the experiences of more than one person plus personal research to base your decisions on. I knew next to nothing about any of this stuff when I started in September, had an awful first hatch because I relied on just one thermometer. I researched and read what other's on here said and took into consideration DIFFERENT ways the members here did things. Using common sense and asking questions when I was unsure I decided to do a second hatch. With no one holding my hand, because I researched and "listened" to many sources, I had a great second hatch.
     
  10. spotsplus

    spotsplus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like your in for some exciting times! 13 weeks is a bit young to expect good fertility although it can happen. I'd think more like 5-6 months for best maturity.

    You said, "Should I just put the big red Roo in with them for a week or two and collect those eggs, keep them in our basement, and then put into the incubator after about a week? One hen lays scratchy, dry-shelled eggs, so I'll leave those out, but the other 5 lay the nicest brown, large, smooth eggs!

    If the big red Roo is one of the 13 weeks olds you can give it a try but I expect fertility to be low. If you have a more mature roo that would be better. To put him in for two weeks and collect the eggs sounds like a good idea. You just don't want the eggs to be more than 7 days old when they go in the incubator for best results.

    Good luck!
     

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