Incubator v naturally raised

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by lulubell15, Sep 5, 2016.

  1. lulubell15

    lulubell15 Out Of The Brooder

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    Can anyone tell me if hens hatched from an incubator are more prone to disease etc than hens reared naturally.
     
  2. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Overrun With Chickens

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    I think you must mean raised in a brooder v by a broody hen? And actually it would extend beyond that to raised indoors v raised outdoors, because my brooder is outdoors and I use it both for chicks raised with our without a hen to watch over them. Incubated v "raised naturally" is not an either-or situation as I often incubate eggs and then give the chicks to my hens to raise "naturally". Regardless, all my chicks get early exposure to the outdoors and dirt and bugs and grass and so on. I did raise my flock of guineas indoors and I assume they were incubated (hatchery mail order) and none died of or suffered from disease.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2016
  3. lulubell15

    lulubell15 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 12, 2015
    County Offaly, Ireland.
    Thanks for that quick reply.
    My original hens I bought from a poultry dealer, (so I presume the were all incubator hatched etc) at the age of approx 23 weeks old.
    They are now just under 3 years, & I have lost 4 over the last few weeks. Each one looked to have died from different causes.
    They had all been great layers, even through the winter months, but now I'm getting hardly any eggs.
    I have 4 chicks hatched under my broody hen, now 6 weeks old & I have been letting them out to free range with the others for a few hours a day.
    I am hoping they will grow into hardier hens.
     
  4. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Overrun With Chickens

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    That sounds more like it could be genetics if they are just passing from natural causes or coincidence/environment if they are coming down with illnesses. Have they been sick over the past few years? Many people are experiencing a decline in egg production right now because of temperatures, though from what I understand Ireland is not very hot. So it could just be age. Egg production does decline with age, and yes that decline starts around the second year. That is why commercial layers are kicked off the line so young and many hens visit the crock pot for their third birthday.
     
  5. lulubell15

    lulubell15 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 12, 2015
    County Offaly, Ireland.
    They have been in good health really, up till just lately. My hubby thinks it's their age too, but I thought they would live a lot longer.
    He reckons we should keep maximum 2 yrs then eat them. I'm just going to have to toughen up & not get so attached to them.
    Thanks again for your input.
     
  6. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

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    Good luck on the not getting attached....lol I still after two years can not eat my own birds, just can't.

    All of my birds in my flock, except one I hatched myself (and that one was hatched by broody) in the incubator, brooded inside under a brooder light and had late exposure to the outside. The earliest I've put them out is 6-8 weeks I believe. Right now, out of the ones that I have kept I have 39 birds. 11 breeder quality silkies that are about 4 1/2 months, Appenzeller Spitzhaubens, nns, and many mixes that range between almost 2 years and 4 1/2 months.

    I have never had any problems with diseases, respiratory problems, unhealthy birds. The only problem I have had just recently was with pultry mites/lice that did take out a couple of my younger birds before I realized what the problem was and had to treat the flock. They can be a big silent killer. I do not use antibiotics in a preventitive measure and have not had to use it to treat an illness. They also do not get marecks or any other vaccines.

    Now life span and egg laying are two different things. Generally they will lay regularly for up to 2-3 years, but, a healthy chicken should (barring becoming dinner) live 5 plus years. Many expect 6-8 years for those that "retire" their girls instead of eating them.

    I would not expect a 2-3 year old chicken to drop dead from "old age" unless there's a genetic issue, or health issue.

    The heat, mites/lice, molting and winter of course, along with illnesses will all cause a decline of egg laying in reletively healthy chicks.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2016
  7. lulubell15

    lulubell15 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 12, 2015
    County Offaly, Ireland.
    Thanks for your answer.
    You say that mites/lice took 2 of your flock. Can you elaborate on how you became aware of the infestation & how you came to diagnose that the mites/lice were actually the cause of death. Also what did you use for treating the rest of the flock?
    I think I might have the same problem.
     
  8. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Hatchery sourced birds are bred for production. They are not bred with longevity in mind. Sexlinks, in particular, tend to be short lived.
     
  9. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

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    There wasn't any "illness" symptoms to go by, they just all of a sudden were very lethargic, off balanced and then next thing I knew w/in 12-24 hours they passed. So the one thing I found that really didn't show much for outward symptoms were mites/lice, so I researched what to look for and took the advice of a good friend and gave them a good check and sure enough, they had them. Now, missing feathers on their backside is another sign, a lot of times they will even pluck them themselves to try to get relief from the bugs. I did have 5 or six that had started having bare spots on their rump above the tail, but I had chalked that up to breeding roughness. After finding the little things, they like to hang on the feather shafts especially around the vent area, I knew what had happened. I also believe that I know the source. I originally bought the spray from TSC for poultry lice and mites, had to buy 3 bottles to cover my flock, after a week when I checked they were still significant so I bought the DE powder and the second and third treatment I used the DE and did the coop and run with the DE and that took care of it. The only thing with the DE is you have to be careful because the chickens breathing the powder in can cause respiratory issues. I used the DE in their favorite dust bathing spots as well.

    There's some visuals here: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/08/poultry-lice-and-mites-identification.html
     
  10. ChickenChaser9

    ChickenChaser9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The average lifespan of a chicken can vary from breed to breed but as stated above, hatchery birds are bred to be productive early, produce a lot and tend to die shortly afterwards. A chicken bred to the standard of perfection could certainly live 5 or even seven years. Genetics plays a large part.
     

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