How to start a hatchery (Basic care, incubation, chicken breeds and more!)


In the Brooder
Dec 3, 2015
How to start a hatchery (Basic care, incubation, chicken breeds and more!)
Hello, if you’re new to backyard chickens welcome if you have been here for a while welcome back. Today we ask you to help us find all we need to know about this topic. Please share your knowledge, add pictures, and tell stories thank you! I would like to start a hatchery / mini hatching business and I have done my research but I don't understand a few things and I would love if you helped me and a few others. I will tell you what I’ve learned so far to prevent similar mistakes.

My hens get to free range but I was experiencing a problem with local life so I invested in a guardian dog mix because I don't want to feed a giant dog. Since then it's been great after the fact I was reading that geese can protect the flock as well. I also found that there were different systems to give your chickens water and feed. Though there are fancy feeder and waters, unless you somehow rid your place of mice they will take half the food your hens should be eating, not to menschen there ability to transfer diseases. I read that mice hate the potent smell of pine shavings but also that they were harmful to the hens too. I tried a cement pad under the coop so that they can’t burrow under it or can anything else. So I tried this and found that there were less mice but still too many my search began agen. It took me to special insulation mixed with steel wool but that was too expensive. I realized that as long as you have chickens you will have mice but to prevent their feed getting totally contaminated. I picked up some meatal garbage cans to store their feed in to feed them daily with and also chicken nipples. I found the mice population dropped dramatically and the hen’s heath got better. That's when the owls and hawks came; I invested in 200 square feet in run high enough that you could walk in. Though after the sky predators were gone I let them free range again. My collection grew and I thought why not start something. I continued researching and before I could get any bigger I invested in a little still air incubator. Every time I attempted to use it only 5% of the eggs hatched. It took me little to find out that others experience with them was not good ether, and how most suggested in a forced air incubator. I have not yet tried it but I have been currently building an incubator. I also found as that heritage breeds are wanted more than hatchery birds because unlike hatchery birds they are not bred for productivity but for other reasons. My feed bill was getting a little too high, I purchased a bit of grain and by hand I harrowed, planted, watered a crop of grain and mixed in with their feed which they loved. A local feed processing plant slowly collects grain and all I had to do was take it away and they were happy as well. Finding me having problems with roosters I searched up some breeds that where better on the hens and overall friendly these were Barred rock and Barneveld (Not everyone I’ve had is good). But if I was to have per breeds that wouldn’t work. I invested in chicken saddles just to keep the hens feathers there, and I also made a rooster shocker so if he was too aggressive it would shock him which did the trick. I was also having problems with spurs on the roosters getting so they couldn’t walk. I’d read in an article that if you heat up a potato and push it on a spur it would break off in the right spot, which worked. I found there were a few broody hens which I use to repopulate the breeding flock. But the breeds that were known to be broody I had a slit problem with. First I’ll try giving her a water bath then a cage so the air ventilates around her. When I sell chicks I try to sex them, I know that there are ways like wing sexing, after a week seeing who has a tail ect. But you can never go wrong with vent sexing. I cull birds after I give them an egg test. Then off they pop. I hope this helped and always improving.

More that was not included. I was able to get free sawdust but I quickly found that the chicks were eating it and so there was a high percent that were dying I did research and found that it expands so switch to shavings, I tried and it worked. I was reluctant to straw because it’s so dusty and dust affects the hen’s immunsystem. In the summer all they need is a shelter with roosts and nesting boxes but in the winter they need an insulated building. So if you want to keep the mice down then move them into the other building in the appropriate season. When I was pikin’ the Guardian dog mix I wanted a mix that doesn’t herd because that can end in a chase which ends in one less bird. I also didn’t want a retrieving type dog such as a lab, because they are meant to retrieve birds usually. Every year I would hose and bleach down the coop and powder it and the birds with mite powder, to clean / disinfect it / them. I tried ducks but they need full time water or they can clog up the nose, and they make a mess with it. (I had 4 ducks and they when through 3 gallons of water per day) I bought a trough heater and put it in their pond also a heated hose so it would keep it full all the time. In my search I found out that if you were planning on broilers that they need a special diet and they only lay 1 egg a week!
If you don't mind, I would like to ask a few questions because I found myself having problems with these.

1. What makes a heritage bird?
2. What dose NPIP mean?
3. Do you haven any suggestions for me?
Thank you so much!

Thank you for helping me edit to.
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1. What makes a heritage bird?
Heritage breeds are traditional livestock from before commercial agriculture. Carefully bred and selected for specific traits that fare well in their indigenous climate and they thrived under the farming conditions of a bygone era. Perhaps more importantly, they retain attributes for survival and self-sufficiency – fertility, foraging ability, longevity, maternal instincts, ability to mate naturally, and resistance to diseases and parasites which exist where they originated.
In a nutshell, they are specific breeds that would have been found on your great, great grandparent's farm and they are unchanged from that standard.
They should have a long and productive outdoor lifespan, reproduce naturally and have a slow to medium rate of growth.
2. What dose NPIP mean?
National Poultry Improvement Program. It is a national program administered by individual states established in the 1930s to fight Pullorum-Typhoid.
You will need to be certified NPIP to ship across state lines. For some states, you'll also need to be certified AI and MG clean at the least.

If you are going to have a hatchery, you need many pen and housing units so you can separate breeds to prevent crosses. Even if you only raise a single breed, you still need to separate lines or you'll end up with mostly inbred birds that will have problems - including lack of vigor and hatchability.

You will need a reliable incubator. A hatchery wouldn't rely on a still air incubator to produce enough healthy chicks to make it 2 days through the mail.
You need an incubator that will hatch at least 50 chicks every few days in case you get orders for that many.
Multiple, guaranteed accurate thermometers and hygrometers are necessary. Don't rely on the one that comes with the incubator. It will probably be wrong.
You can use broody hens to supplement incubation but they don't work on a schedule for purchase orders.

Actually, hatchery birds are selected for productivity. That is how they make money - by having productive birds.

For a new hatchery, you need healthy birds. That requires good nutrition. Mixing grain with regular feed will cut optimal nutrition. You will probably have enough birds to buy feed in bulk which can lower your feed costs. Also, feeders that eliminate waste helps dramatically.

If you manage well, you shouldn't have a problem with overbreeding. Shocking the rooster for mating isn't the answer.

What is your egg test for culling hens?

Sawdust isn't just a problem for chicks eating it but if it gets wet, it can grow fungus that will kill chickens. If adults don't have good feed available, they'll also eat sawdust. It may not kill them like chicks but it will limit nutrient uptake when it occupies the digestive tract.

Straw isn't really as dusty as pine shavings can be but it can be a problem if it gets wet. I use straw as a cover for bare ground and shavings in coops.

You don't need an insulated building but you do need a well ventilated building. I have no insulation and wide open big windows even when it is well below 0F.

Broilers are hybrids so won't breed true. You need to start with new hybrid chicks each generation. They aren't raised for their eggs and don't live long enough to lay eggs.
If selling broiler chicks, you need a male line and a female line of different breeds to cross.
You don't want to go into that business since you'll lose money. Keeping two good lines to cross requires lots of housing and there are companies that are more efficient at it selling chicks for $1.50 or $2 and their product is much better than you're likely to be able to produce in the next 10 years and they'll still be able to undercut your price.

Last suggestion
Edit your post.
I hope you don't take the following in the wrong way. If English is your second language, I apologize.
I hate to be too critical. An occasional typo error is ok but yours is distracting to read. If on a mobile device, it could be auto correct - but still.
tell story's = tell stories
learned so fare = learned so far
ride your place of mice they will take hafe the food your hens should be eating, not to menschen there ability = rid your place of mice, they will take half the food your hens should be eating, not to mention their ability.
can’t borrow under it = can’t burrow under it
there was less mice but still to many my search began agen = there were less mice but still too many my search began again
prevent there feed = prevent their feed
hen’s heath got = hens' health got
run high enof = run high enough
free range agen = free range again.
I thought why not something starts = I thought, why not start something.
experience with them was none of good ether, = experience with them was not good either
how most suggested in a forced air = how most suggested a forced air
I have yet not tried it = I have not tried it yet
witch they loved = which they loved
Bared rock = Barred rock
if I was to have per breeds = ? (not sure what that means)
shock him witch = shock him which
push it on a spar it would break off in the right spot, witch worked = push it on a spur it would break off in the right spot, which worked
had a slit problem = had a slight problem
I first I’ll try = At first I’ll try
and fell free = and feel free
hen’s amunsystem = hens' immunsystem
shelter with roasts = shelter with roosts
might powder = mite powder
clog up the nose = ?
they when threw 3 gallons = they went through 3 gallons
I bot a trough heater and put it in there pond = I bought a trough heater and put it in their pond
it would keep the if full all the time = ?
What dose NPIP mean = What does NPIP mean
Also, if you group information that is related into separate paragraphs, that makes your post more readable.
There are many more too numerous to mention but those are the glaring ones which made the post difficult to read.

If you edit, I'll edit my post and remove my corrections.
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I'm sorry about that but how would I edit the text?
I kind of need an insulated building because it gets down to -30f
To edit, go to your post and click the little pencil in the lower left corner of the post.

It has hit -20 here with wide open windows on east and west walls with wind blowing right through. Insulation won't help then. Never lost a bird to cold, only to heat.

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