How old should you start?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by NickyPick, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. NickyPick

    NickyPick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My sister is wanting me to hatch some eggs for her son to experience (got 2 neighbors who want the chicks, too!). I've never done this, only had chickens since February. So, my question is, how long since my chickens started laying should I wait before picking some to hatch? The EE's started in July and the Wyandottes & Orpingtons started end of July/early August. I have two roosters, who are defintely staying busy - it seems each hen gets bred twice as these two guys get jealous when one does the deed.
    Also, what would be a good beginner incubator?

    Thanks!
     
  2. djennings

    djennings Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If your roos have been busy, you should be getting fertilized eggs. You can start incubating anytime. I have a havobator and it works great.
     
  3. CrazyCatNChickenLady

    CrazyCatNChickenLady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've always read dont hatch pullet eggs. The eggs are smaller and sometimes odd shaped and might make it harder for the chicks to hatch. (unless you wanted smaller chicks!) I've also notice that there is more blood and meat spots in eggs from newer laying hens. this can make the eggs go bad when incubating and the chick wont make it.

    This isn't to say I haven't hatched pullet eggs, but I try and wait a couple months before hatching from a newly laying bird.
     
  4. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd wait until I thought the birds had settled down into a routine laying pattern. Like, no more tiny eggs, no more huge eggs, no more double yolkers, no more funny looking long pointy eggs, that sort of thing. When pullets start laying they usually produce some really weird eggs before their reproductive bits are properly firing on all cylinders. No point setting eggs when they're still at that stage. Some people also prefer to wait until the birds are laying full sized eggs, which can take a few more months. But I'd say if they're laying 'normal' looking eggs, that's probably good enough.

    A decent starter bator would be a Hovabator (40-ish eggs) or a Brinsea mini (7 eggs) depending on what exactly you want your bator to do...
     
  5. CelticOaksFarm

    CelticOaksFarm Family owned, family run

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    In agreement here, if the EE started in July I would wait for the end of Oct to middle Nov before incubating. Now remember the chicks will need a brooder and heat lamp once hatched. Depending on where you live hatching during cold months may not be a good choice since it would keep the chicks in the house longer for you. As far as bators go, I vote Brinsea, but I am biased since that is all we use currently.

    Shellie
     
  6. CrazyCatNChickenLady

    CrazyCatNChickenLady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good point about the heat lamps and brooder. Also the deeper into the bad weather months the harder it is. Power outages are hard to work with too. My goal this year is no hatching in the winter but you are just starting to get eggs from them when everyone else is getting new chicks- the only plus I think to hatching late in the year. Last december I had a hatch and ended up splitting the batch. 2 incubators and 2 250 watt bulbs.. My PGE went up like $100!! [​IMG]

    I have a couple still-air Little Giants. They work for me and they're only like $50 plus I finally got a $50 egg turner that holds 42 eggs. I've only filled it once!! [​IMG]
     
  7. NickyPick

    NickyPick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My first batch of chicks, I got in February and they brooded in the house until they were 7 weeks, so I do know we can deal with that. We had the brooder behind the couch in the TV room. I see I'm going to have to talk to the people who want the chicks and see what they're willing to do to assure winter survival. I'm willing to brood for them, but when it's time to move them to a coop.... Hmmm. It doesn't really get cold here until January & February, then it warms up again quickly. I bet we'll still be in the 90's come October.
     
  8. the new breed

    the new breed Out Of The Brooder

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    Let one of your hens broody
     

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