New Member here with question about hatching..

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by WrapChick, Oct 9, 2014.

  1. WrapChick

    WrapChick In the Brooder

    Oct 9, 2014
    Hello! My son and I have made the decision to go into chicken business :)) He is a 24 year old disabled veteran, loves all animals, especially his chickens. He purchased a piece of property last year that is actually already set up to run a chicken business on a large scale. My part, other than financial support will be to run a couple incubators here at my house and assist with hatching. I have zero experience hatching but have done tons of research (including this amazing forum!) and watched probably 100+ videos. I feel confident and ready to take on the task! There is one issue I can't seem to find discussion on so hoping I can get some feedback here. I know that not all eggs will hatch and they will be discarded (I understand the best way to do this is in a compost pile ??) but I'm worried about the fact that I know there will be some chicks that die during hatching :((( I'm a total animal lover and super soft hearted woman so I know this is something I will struggle with to a degree. It will be hard enough just finding them dead but how often does it happen that a chick doesn't die but is having too much difficulty or is deformed in egg etc and how should this be handled. I don't see any way that I could end a life! Please help with any thoughts or guidance.
  2. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator

    Sep 25, 2007
    It's a tough issue, to be sure. And I hate to sound harsh, but if you don't think you can handle putting a chick down, this probably isn't the venture for you.

    You will have some that die in the midst of hatching - some people "help" them finish hatching, I am a firm believe that this is not help at all. If a chick cannot hatch on its own, there is a reason . Especially if you are in any type of business, such as selling chicks, hatching eggs, or breeding stock. By "helping" a chick to hatch, you are pushing through lazy hatching genetics to your customers and your flocks.

    There are so many things that can go wrong with a hatch...many multitudes of things. However, if you keep the temperature & humidity correct, and make sure eggs are turned manually or in a turner, you will not experience huge numbers of issues.

    I would caution you to do EXTENSIVE research, however. You say you have "made a decision to go into the chicken business..." it's extremely rare that anyone actually makes money in the poultry business. Can it be done? Sure, but you need to make decisions wisely, and treat it like a business...which includes dispatching chicks with deformities or other issues.

    If you do choose to move forward, I would suggest starting on a small scale and keeping it small for a year or so to be sure you know all that goes into chicken keeping before taking the leap to a larger-scale enterprise.
  3. WrapChick

    WrapChick In the Brooder

    Oct 9, 2014
    Thank you for your reply... I was expecting some "harsh" ones. My son has been keeping chickens for a year and a half and he just really loves every part of it. He has I guess about 30 of them and we are all up to our ears in I don't need the money. My son was injured in the Marine Corp and is no longer active. This was a tough thing for him to accept as he planned on it being his career. I have seen him with these chickens and the great care he gives them and how eager he has been to learn. We have been told that there is a market here for sure locally for chicks so this is for sure the route he is taking.

    I agree with you about assisting the chicks to hatch and I know death is part of it and I hope that I can find a way to deal with it in time. What in your opinion is the best way to dispose of a chick? I've read that you can put it in a baggie with dry ice and it will basically "go to sleep" quickly. I think this is something I could do.
  4. darkbluespace

    darkbluespace Songster

    Jun 13, 2014
    Portland Oregon
    Being a super sensitive animal lover I can appreciate where you are coming from. I would (and did) start out with small batches to get the hang of things. I lost eggs and chicks and survived. I never loved chickens so much till I started hatching them. Hatching eggs from your own large fowl chickens is easy with an incubator that keeps temp and not too much humidity. I have help some chicks hatch because aspects of incubation were not optimal... you control what you can... and they turned out to be perfectly healthy chicks! Obviously with a larger scale operation you work out your optimal incubation conditions and then expect to have a 85 to 95% hatch rate or whatever and know you will have to dispose of the other %. It really is the natural cycle of life that they don't all hatch... that's why they have so many eggs / babies.

    I think it is definitely worth trying even if some parts may be challenging. It is such a miracle that I find the joys far outweigh the difficulties.
  5. Farmer Viola

    Farmer Viola Songster

    May 23, 2013
    your best bet is hatching eggs that were laid by your son's hens, they should be fertile of course. this way, you will have much higher hatch rates than if you used shipped eggs for example. a lot of hatching difficulty comes from incubating shipped eggs.

    also, while you get your incubator conditions tuned in perfectly, too-high or too-low temperatures (and/or humidity) can cause deformities in the chicks that may require culling in some very extreme cases. so to avoid that, I would advise you to use multiple thermometers and hygrometers to measure temperature and humidity so you are sure you have an accurate reading. this link helps with troubleshooting issues during incubation and can illustrate some of the issues (deformities) that can arise from certain incubation conditions (eg. temp too high):

    I also have had great success (100% hatch rates) using the Dry Incubation Method, there is a link in my signature with more details but basically you don't add any water. the eggs evaporation within the incubator creates all the humidity they need, until the final 3 days when you increase to 55-65%.

    I do not agree with suffocation, I believe that using chemicals or putting the chick in a baggie is a slow and uncomfortable death that no living creature deserves. I think the best, cleanest death is done by decapitation [​IMG] I have only had to do this twice in 100's of chicks hatched. both times were very hard for me, and my husband would have done it for me, but I felt I was the more caring person who should carry out the deed. I held the chick in my warm hand and it was not afraid. I used a sharp pair of scissors to remove the head, and dropped the head and the body into a box, then walked away from it so I didn't see it. you cannot hesitate, or close your eyes, you must give it a clean death. I believe this is the most important part of being a steward of the life of another living creature. putting it in a baggie might be easier for you, but it is not easier for the animal. I hope you will never have to do this as it is quite rare, but you should be mentally prepared for the possibility in case it arises. judging from the kind, caring and thoughtfulness of your post I am sure you will do what is best for any living creature in your charge. [​IMG]
  6. WrapChick

    WrapChick In the Brooder

    Oct 9, 2014
    DarkBlueSpace and FarmerViola... thank you both very much for you replies and advice. I appreciate you both very much. I will check out that link about dry hatching. The lady I purchased a cabinet incubator and a hatcher from suggested that as well. I do dread the thought of having to dispose of a chick but I understand that it may need to be done. :( The lady also suggested the same method as you Farmer Viola. (Although I did have to catch my breath a bit when she said she did it to all the male chicks :((

    I think we will be collecting eggs in the next week or two to start the first hatch! I'm excited buy nervous! I will post pics and let you know how it goes.

    Thank you both again [​IMG]

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