How late can I hatch eggs?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Spartan22, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. Spartan22

    Spartan22 Crowing

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    Is it advisable to hatch/incubate eggs up to July-August (summer days)? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Are eggs more fertile during spring time?
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    What are your goals? Why do you want to hatch chicks? A lot of us hatch chicks pretty much year around to meet our goals. Why you want chicks will have a lot of influence on the advantages/disadvantages.

    Some people experience fluctuations in fertility based on the time of the season. Supposedly when a rooster is molting he is not going to be very fertile or he may just not be mating as much, assuming hens or pullets are still laying. Fertility is supposed to drop in winter or maybe the heat of summer. There are people I trust on this forum that say they have experienced this, but others say they haven't. I've hatched eggs from a molting rooster and regularly hatch eggs laid in January and February. That was in Arkansas with temps often below freezing. I also hath in the heat of summer. I generally got decent hatch rates. I've never let "they might possibly not be highly fertile" stop me from trying. And I'm usually successful.

    It's hard to give advantages/disadvantages without knowing your goals. The reason I hatch throughout the year is that I raise them mostly for meat. I have limited freezer space, especially during berry/fruit/vegetable harvesting season, so I have to spread my butchering out.
     
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  3. Great advice! We are approaching our 1 year anniversary of raising chickens and our 2 year anniversary of raising ducks and I got an incubator a few months old and aside from when it's being cleaned, I haven't turned it off since I took it out of the box lol. It's currently on its third round of eggs, plus I've borrowed two more incubators from some friends and they are full too, and I encourage broodiness in my hens and ducks so we have LOTS of babies right now with the anticipation of lots more to come.

    I plan on hatching year round, with a possible exception of right around Christmas but who knows? Hatching is like Christmas morning every time!

    When we bought our farm last summer, we had planned on an egg business but so far, at least as far as Craigslist sales, we have received way more response from people wanting chicks/ducklings, laying hens, and meat roosters, and occasionally fertile hatching eggs. (Very shortly, we will be finishing up all the licensing to be able to sell eggs at farmers markets, so hopefully within a month or so we will have a booth and it will be interesting to see how egg sales go then.)

    Plus, we want to expand our laying flock and add to our Buff Orpingtons (show quality) breeding flock and my husband is looking forward to putting the excess cockerels in the freezer. I figure that any chicks that don't sell and are pullets will either get added to our laying flock, sold as point-of-lay hens or possibly sold next spring as established layers.

    I'm trying to switch our free range flock over to Barred/Cuckoo type hens because those can (supposedly) be used with our Buff/Lemon Orpington males to make sex-linked chicks for people who only want female chicks.

    So yeah, I'll be hatching year round and it is not at all because I'm a Hatchaholic. Not at all.
     
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  4. Spartan22

    Spartan22 Crowing

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    My hatching goals is pretty much to preserve the line of the premium Black Copper Marans that I have, didn’t want to pay another $24 per chick and turn out to have more pricey rooster while I have the one year old rooster and have multiple BCMs hens. I might get rid or lose him since am not sure I can keep him long. I’ve hatch a few eggs couple of months ago and most turned out to be roos and I gave them all away before they all started crowing, reluctantly sold a couple of pullet to the ones that wants the roos. So out of that batch I only have one 2.5 month old FBCMs pullet. I have a couple week olds that was hatched by broodies but just in case they’re all roos I have to get rid of them also but I want to have at least 6-10 more laying hens that lays the darkest eggs to have a total of 10-12 of that breed, in the past I have only added bought 1 day old chicks or hatched bought eggs in springtime.

    As of now I have a few fertile FBCMs eggs from my 4 Marans to hatch and a shared incubator from a friend. So am thinking I would be hatching few more times but needed a little guidance since I was an accidental breeder/Hatcher when I incubate 14 eggs of our own and 13 hatched, just like when I was an “accidental” chicken owner 5 years ago and with 30+ hens and 2 big coops.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    That combo should make black sex link chicks. I'd like to see photos of those chicks right after they hatch and again at about six months when they have their adult plumage.

    Buff can have a strange effect on black feathers. In theory that cross should produce solid black pullets and black barred cockerels but usually you get some or a lot of yellow or orange feathers with the black. Often they are quite striking. I don't know what effect the "lemon" might have on them but it should be an interesting cross.
     
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  6. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Ridgerunner makes all good points. as do many others. :thumbsup

    My incubator has been running and full with extra "hatcher" bators on the side since before Thanksgiving.

    I found the same thing... eating eggs I can sell a few but chicks I can sell as fast as I can hatch and for a much better price.
    I also have limited freezer/pasture space... but I'm not gonna lie, I'm getting exhausted!

    To me the reason to grow them out comes in much greater than just because they might be all roos. But because even females have faults, especially color related in the Marans IMHO. All POL go for at least $30 each.
    The difference between winter verses spring hatching... More customers looking for chicks in spring, generally. BUT no feed stores with chicks in winter.

    There ARE developmental differences with them maturing as daylight is shortening verses lengthening. I have read that hatching is winter equals less vigor... I really don't know about that. I also read that birds that come into lay as day light is lengthening can have more issues like binding and such or SOMETHING to that effect. For me birds reaching POL in fall/winter will do so a little behind what they would if they were receiving more daylight since light is a key factor in egg production more than temperature and I won't be supplementing light. But it is nice to have a fresh layer in Jan/Feb instead of waiting until June/July.

    Some people may not be able to get birds out on range and so avoid hatching in winter due to mud or snow. My broody's don't seem to think it really matters (for us it doesn't much) and I had several in the breaker last winter. In winter, MY house temp/humidity is more stable for incubating because I turn on my heater and keep my windows closed. But summer means windows are open about 24 hours a day and temp swings a good 7 degrees or so.

    I also breed Marans... seems they aren't nearly as "rare" as people like to think they are. BUT personally I would NOT ditch the grown rooster unless he had faults or attitude problems. Roosters are much more desirable to me than cockerels.

    There are some Welsumer and Pendesenca chickens that can lay JUST as dark as any Marans eggs I've seen... should you desire more than one breed. I personally like variety on the pasture but keep my breeds pure for breeding purposes. Orpington grew WAY to slow to be a desirable breed for my freezer.

    For me... eggs sell around $4-5 dozen but chicks sell for $9 EACH. Which still isn't gonna make me rich but does help to cover the feed cost. Mix chicks only go for $2-3 each.

    I personally don't think how much got paid for a bird is what makes them premium. It's how closely they fit the SOP or your goals.

    This year I have learned to spread out hatching for myself and others instead of hatching all for others and all for myself. My brooders have all been too crowded recently and my pastures aren't to far behind. It's still manageable BUT... Well, I was trying to meet a not less than 10 birds for my processor... but then attitudes and accidents, a random sell or predation happen and I get under 10 boys easily. Mind you to get 10 boys that's a big batch. Since I end up processing some myself anyways, maybe I will change my whole routine to just fit better for me instead of me and my processor... I have been considering this already this week... as some boys mature faster and become bigger jerks sooner and I keep thinking ugh I gotta wait another month before other are ready.

    My local feed stores will buy chicks from me... but they still wanna sell at hatchery price and offered me $3.75/ chick and they go for $.25 there. UH, maybe if I run out of buyers... BUT with good word of mouth and preserving your reputation by keeping and letting only good stock go out, I have sells through next year already at more than double that. :cool:

    But I wanna maintain hobby status... I don't need or want a job.

    Sorry if this wasn't organized and focused. :oops:

    Great conversation! :caf
     
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  7. Spartan22

    Spartan22 Crowing

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    Thanks all for enlightening feedbacks, needed some confirmation on my thought process before I keep on experimenting and make unnecessary mistakes that have already been experience by smart people.
    Then these incubators will be roaring again few more times.
     

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