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New to Hatching...Advice Needed!!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by GallopingAlong, Feb 4, 2017.

  1. GallopingAlong

    GallopingAlong In the Brooder

    Dec 25, 2014
    Hey y'all!!
    I am new to hatching (well, new to chickens in general) and will be doing my first hatch as a school biology project. My class will be hatching in school and I am in charge of it. I need some advice. I am borrowing an incubator from someone local (this one- http://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/pr...-series-circulated-air-incubator?cm_vc=-10005 ) and another local chicken farmer is giving me a dozen fertile eggs. The eggs are coming from his layer flock (White Rock, Barred Rock, Red Sex Link, Black Sex Link, White Leghorn, and New Hampshire Reds). The rooster is a Svart Hona so they will be good layers and are heat and cold hardy. I need advice on how to handle this project as well as a list of needed materials.
    Some questions I have:
    Will the eggs be okay if they are left alone at night? I am there during the day from 9am to 3pm so there are 18 hours that are unaccounted for.
    Can I use an aquarium for a brooder?
    Should I bring the chicks home for the night once they have hatched?
    We want to keep the chicks at school for a few days after they have hatched, but I will then bring them home.
    Are medicated feed crumbles better than non-medicated crumbles?

    Please share any tips or tricks that you have to make this process smoother and the outcome better!!

  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchi Wan Kenobi Premium Member

    Mar 27, 2012
    My Coop
    It looks like the incubator you have has a turner, so yes, they will be fine alone for 18 hours a night since they will still be getting turned; just make sure the temps are steady at night in the school because those Styrofoam incubators are not great at all about keeping internal temp steady if the external temp changes. Also make sure you verify that yours does indeed have a fan because whether it does or not will change what temperature you need to keep the incubator at. And I would not trust that the digital temps on that thing read correctly at all. I'd verify it with another thermometer such as one of these.

    An aquarium is fine if you already have one as long as it's big enough for the chicks. You need it to be large enough that they have room to run around and also so that they can get away from whatever heat source you use to keep them warm and cool down if they need to. Big plastic storage tubs work well and would be cheaper.

    After they hatch they're fine to stay at the school overnight as long as they have food, water, and a heat source. Then you can take them home after a few days.

    Neither is really better, it depends on what you want to use and if coccidiosis is prevalent in your area. Not a large chance that they will become infected with cocci? Then don't bother. I don't use medicated feed because I don't need to.
  3. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    I used a 50 gallon aquarium once. It got stinky and extra hot real quick. I found the glass in the aquarium magnified the heat from the heat lamp. Got stinky and smelly quick. Hard to clean. Can someone in the class bring a large plastic tub? Do you have someone in the class who can make a tub brooder? They are great! You can find lots of pick of simple brooders on the brooder section of the coop gallery hee on BYC. I really wouldn't suggest an aquarium they stink!

    All your beeds are considered large fowl.
    chicken math.
    Brooder. Large fowl,
    1 sq. ft. per chick till 4 weeks.
    From 4-6 weeks 1.5 sq. ft. per chick.
    6-12 weeks, 1.5 to 2 sq. ft. per bird.
    12 weeks to adult, 4 sq.. ft.. per bird.
    ( 1/2 all these numbers for bantam breeds.
    grown birds, 4 sq. ft. inside the coop per bird.
    outside 10 sq. ft. per bird.
    1/2 all these numbers for bantam breeds.

    Your brooder is basically 3ft. x 4 ft. so 12 sq. ft. area,
    fits large fowl breed:
    12 chicks to 4 weeks old
    8 chicks from 4-6 weeks old
    6 chicks rom 6-12 weeks old.
    3 birds older than 12 weeks.
  4. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    here are some ideas for tub and tote brooders. They are very popular. Make sure the light is securely fastened so it can't fall into the brooder. Get a cheap hygrometer from Walmart to check both the temp and the humidity in th brooder. For the first few days, use that waffle weave drawer liner you get at Dollar General. Moms knows what it is. Use the heavier grade. It will give the chick something to grip on with their feet and prevent splayed legs and curled toes. Put some marbles in their water trough so they don't fall in and drown. Put the water at the other end from the heat so the birds don't have to stand under the heat to eat and drink. The school is heated so use a 60 or 85 watt white Incandscent bulb. The school is already heated so you won't need the red bulb there.
    If the birds are clumped under the light, they are cold. If they are clumped away from the light, it is too hot. If the chicks are loosely gathered around the light but not clumped together , they are just right.


    One more thing. These baby chicks will be stressed by being in a classroom.
    They will do well if you give them some supplemental nutrition. Stress makes
    it difficult for the newly hatched chick to properly digest the nutrition you are giving it.
    The digestive tract of the chick is immature when it hatches. It goes thru a lot of
    development the first week of life. Add stress to the mix and the chick's digestive tract
    has additional problems digesting enough of the nutrition you are giving it. There is a
    way you can give the chicks extra nutrition during this time. The product is called
    Bovidr Labs Poultry Nutri-Drench. You can get it at Tractor Supply or your local feed store.
    It is a special nutritional supplement that is all natural.
    It doesn't need digesting. Mainlines directly into the bloodstream. Here's the website:
    http://www.nutridrench.com Directions: Give each chick one drop only by mouth. You can wet
    the end of a Q-tip and wipe it along the edge of their mouth if they are too delicate to
    open their mouths. Repeat as needed every 8-10 hours until perky.
    Add to their water for the 1st 2 weeks to get them off to a strong start. The water should
    look like weak tea. Not too dark.
    Best Success,
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2017
  5. Animalfreak382

    Animalfreak382 In the Brooder

    Mar 14, 2015
    Well, I've never hatched eggs with a incubator, (Broody hens only!) but I think I might be able to help a little. First, I would NOT use an aquarium for a brooder, its going to get really stinky and is not as comfortable for the chicks, its just not suitable. I'm assuming that you need a portable brooder, try a bin cage. They are basically totes/bins with wire on the sides to make it breathable. They're really easy and cheap to make, they worked well for me. Are you planning on having a heat lamp? If so, make sure its red. White can hurt the chickens eyes, and red would be warmer. As for wondering if you can bring the chicks home right away, I wouldn't see a problem with it. Just remember chicks are very fragile, be careful when moving them. I would also prefer medicated food over non-medicated. I've been raising chickens for about six years now, If you have any questions, just ask!

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