Newbie considering trying hatching

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by chickiemamaRN, Jan 24, 2017.

  1. chickiemamaRN

    chickiemamaRN New Egg

    Jan 24, 2017
    Hello everyone!

    My name is Erika and I'm *considering* incubating and attempting to hatch some baby chicks. Reproduction in general has been a longterm love of mine. I'm an RN specializing in maternal-child health working towards becoming a Nurse-Midwife. I grew up watching a Baby Story, That's my Baby (animal version basically) and was always fascinated by anything pregnant/giving birth/being born. So that passion, along with my mom's desire for some backyard chickens for egg laying is what made me think about possibly trying this.

    This won't be my first time technically but I'm not sure how much my first time actually counts. I was homeschooled in 7th grade and my mom and I decided to hatch chicks as a science project. We borrowed a HovaBator from a neighbor who did 4H, bought 50 potentially fertilized eggs from a crazy chicken raising old guy, and set out for the adventure not really knowing a ton of what we were doing. I remember being confused about turning, humidity, temperature regulation, etc. We tried to candle them once but we weren't sure what we were seeing. Out of the 50 eggs, 3 tried to hatch (pipped I guess) 2 actually hatched fully and 1 made it. Looking at photos here and reading the Hatching 101 thread I'm understanding a lot more of what happened. I know now a lot of the chicks were fertile but died early on, (I think we tried to candle them at 10 days) because I remember seeing what that looks like on some of the eggs we candled. I think a lot of them also were never fertile. One of the chicks that tried to hatch had the mushy yolk thing going on, where it still had a ton of yolk and wasn't fully formed. The other one had the weird thing with her navel and it somehow got pulled (it was traumatic and scarring and a family friend took care of it all for us). The one who did make it out stayed healthy and I raised her until she was old enough to go to the feed store (because my family didn't want a chicken at the time even though I begged to keep her). Her name was Lola and watching her grow was amazing.

    I want to try again because 1) I love the mystery/miraculousness of it all 2) I want to redeem that first attempt because I still feel bad about all those lost chickens 3) because my family actually wants chickens now and I'd love to surprise my mom for her birthday in May (if possible).

    I'm a very sensitive person and I'm nervous that if I did get a malformed chicken or a chick that tried to hatch and died trying I would blame myself. Has anybody else experienced this? What's your perspective that gets you through it without being an emotional wreck?

    I'm currently just trying to figure out how I'd do it, what supplies I'd get, learning the basics. I'm thinking about if I buy an incubator whether I want to get the Hovabator Genesis or the Incuview. I'd probably buy the Incuview Ultimate Combo Kit on because I'd want to have all the things ready to go. I'd use a turner and not turn them myself, just because with my work I don't know if I'd always be available to turn them or remember. I would get the eggs online from somewhere like McMurray's hatchery, unless I could find someone reliable with fertile eggs that I could buy from. It's looking like an expensive endeavor!

    Like I said, I'm a nurse and I work three days a week, 12 hour shift, night shift, so I guess I'd be home at part-time status to keep an eye on them and make sure temp and humidity stays good. I trust myself to be able to maintain temp and humidity and I think that that first time sticking in my head would serve as a great motivation to keep an eye out on those things and really learn the answers to my questions (for the most part) before actually giving it ago.

    Any advice/response would be appreciated. I've loved getting to read through what I've read so far about everyone's experiences!
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchi Wan Kenobi Premium Member

    Mar 27, 2012
    My Coop
    Hatching can be great and fun and as long as you have a home lined up for the chicks, you're good to go! Some things to consider though; you don't want to surprise your mom with chicks unless she can get a coop built for them immediately within six weeks because trust me, she's going to want them out of the house by that age. Also, don't hatch more than she has room for. Each chicken she keeps will need four square feet of coop space and ten square feet of run space. Half the chicks you hatch are going to be roosters, will your mother be able to find a new home for them or kill them to eat if necessary? You can only keep one rooster for every five to ten hens and some places aren't allowed roosters at all.

    Will you also be able to provide all the chick raising supplies too since this will be a surprise? Including the brooder, feed, feeders and waterers, bedding, heat source, etc?

    If yes to all the above, then hatching could be something fun for you to do. The Incuview is a good choice of incubator and that kit will provide you with all you need and make hatching pretty easy.

    As to the source of your eggs, a hatchery is not the best way to go. For a first time hatcher, shipped eggs can be very difficult to hatch. You are better off to see if you can source some eggs locally from a breeder. If you can't and you do have to get eggs shipped in, ordering from a breeder is a much better idea than from a hatchery because their breeding stock will be better quality and thus so will the chicks you hatch be.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2017
  3. LRH97

    LRH97 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 29, 2013
    Southern Illinois
    Welcome to BYC! Pyxis made some very good points. It's great that you are wanting to get into poultry. Hatching eggs is really great fun, but in all honesty, it can be a touchy process. I would highly recommend an automatic turner, especially since you work. I'm home quite often, but I still opt to use the auto turner when I use the incubator to hatch (using chickens to hatch is my preferred method, but that's another topic [​IMG]). Head over to the "reviews" section of BYC to check out some reviews on various bators that are available. Personally, I use a Farm Innovators bator that I got a while back from our local Rural King.

    As Pyxis said, have a plan for any extra chicks you may have that you can't keep, and make sure you have your plan for their adult living space well underway before you set eggs to hatch. You don't want a bunch of chicks that have outgrown their brooder and not have a place to put them. Additionally, I have had heavily mixed results from shipped hatching eggs ranging from one extreme to another. Meaning, I've had close to an entire clutch hatch and on another occasion, only two or three. That being said, I only order eggs from hatcheries or online sources when I want a particular breed to hatch.

    I feel I should also mention that if you're into raising poultry for an extended amount of time, or any animal for that matter, something will go wrong. Whether it be a bird getting sick, dealing with a weak chick, eggs not hatching, or predator attacks; things go wrong. It is one of the few downsides to owning animals and something to prepare for, but we can't blame ourselves. Many of these things are beyond our control. It is our job to deal with them accordingly and take the necessary precautions to prevent them. If something needs fixed, fix it. However, blaming yourself for something like eggs not hatching just makes your experience more sour. Do the best you can, and if you have questions, don't hesitate to post them to BYC! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2017
  4. orrpeople

    orrpeople Learning... by making mistakes. Premium Member

    Jun 15, 2016
    State of Jefferson
    This was the best thread I read (although I will confess to not getting all the way through it - the first few pages are great.)
    Also, following one of the hatchalongs is really helpful. And, there are amazing people on this site that help with even the most sensitive issues. We had a very malformed chick, and no one told me to get over it - they provided info on what to do and offered lots of encouragement. Truly, if you spend some time searching around this place, you're going to get all the info you need. And then, be careful, hatching your own babies is really addicting and you may end up with a housefull! [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
  5. @WVduckchick or @RavynFallen are excellent people to help get you started.......

  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    Good advice above. Just 2 cents more: Get your eggs local, perhaps a local farm, or someone who sells eggs at road side. (of course be sure they are fertile) Want 12 pullets? Set 36 eggs! Reason being, typically more than 1/2 of them are roos. And you will have eggs that are infertile or quitters. Read all of Hatching 101 in the learning center. Have at least 2 thermometers and 1 hygrometer. Calibrate them all. I like to calibrate my thermometers to 100* in a cup of water, using an old fashioned mercury thermometer or a digital temp thermometer as my gold standard. Plug in your bator and run it for at least 2 - 3 days, with some water bottles in it to approximate the volume of eggs that you will be setting. Be aware that if you have an auto-turner, there will be a hot spot near the tmotor. There may also be some warm/cold spots here and there. By running it ahead of time, you will know that, and be able to compensate. Note that a turner turns those eggs in only one plane, so you may want to give them a 90* rotation every few days so they are turning in the other plane. If you have the chance, set a few white eggs. Looking through a white egg when candling is incredible. The best days to view those little dancing miracles is day 7 - 10. Be prepared to cull any deformed or failure to thrive chicks. Have an exit plan in place for any cockrels before you even plug that bator in! OK, perhaps I gave you 7 cents! Enjoy!
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