Newbie....Needing advice.....

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by SolomonMan, Jul 19, 2016.

  1. SolomonMan

    SolomonMan Just Hatched

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    Jul 19, 2016
    All,
    Been raising chickens on and off for about 10 years now.

    Recently bought a new home way out in the country and have a large barn we are populating with animals and of course a large number of these animals are chickens, ducks, and turkeys (Poultry).

    We purchased our initial stock from a local hatchery (meaning same state) and had them shipped in as we have done in the past. The total number of birds including 50 broilers is ~100. The hens have grown to laying age, as well as a few roosters, and we are getting a fair number of eggs a day. The initial broilers have been replaced by the next set.

    The ducks (Campbells) have not started laying ...The turkeys are only about a month old now... (Bourbon Reds)

    So my question is an economics question and a newbie question concerning hatching of your own eggs.

    We are fairly certain our roosters have had there way with a large number of hens. What is the process from there....Do we gather the eggs as normal and put them in a incubator?

    Is there any quick start guides? :)

    Reason I am looking to hatching our own is to be able to replace the hens over time as well as possible looking into a dual breed chicken we can use for the table and eggs that is sustainable over the long haul. (Utilizing the hatchery on occasion instead every time).

    I have a decent incubator....automatic turner....it has a 50 chicken limit...Suggestions on how to get started....

    Thanks
    Chris
     
  2. mirandaleecon

    mirandaleecon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Panama City, FL
    To answer your question, yes you just collect the eggs until you have the amount you want to hatch, then put them all in the incubator at the same time.
    Mark the calendar for 3 weeks later and that is your hatch day.
    Make sure you put them all in the incubator at the same time, store them with the fat side up, don't refrigerate them, and don't incubate eggs that are more than 7-10 days old. You can use older eggs but the hatch rate greatly decreases.
    Before you put the eggs in, make sure your incubator has been at a stable temperature (99.5F, with fan-101F, without fan)for about 24 hours. There are lots of different views on humidity, I incubate dry (around 30%) until 3 days before hatch, then add a pan of water and keep it around 45-60%.

    There are quite a few 'quick start guides' on this site, I'm not sure where they are but I'm sure someone else will post them. In the meantime, here are some things that I have learned along the way;

    Be patient. Don't meddle too much, they have been hatching for thousands of years without our intervention. BUT once you get some experience and learn to recognize a problem, I am in the camp that it's ok to help. I have helped many chicks that grew up perfectly healthy but would have died otherwise.

    Try to get a back-up incubator. Incubators will inevitably fail eventually and it is always easier to have another one on hand. There are also other factors that make it more convenient, like having eggs at different stages of incubation needing different conditions.

    Don't ignore smells! Whenever I'm candling the eggs, I will give them a sniff test. I usually don't have too many issues with chicken eggs but I've had some bad luck with duck eggs going bad. Once one goes, it's contagious and will spread to others. There is a distinct musty smell when they first start to go bad. It's fairly easy to distinguish which one the smell is coming from. Those go right into the compost. If not, they will blow up and stink to high hell. Thankfully, none have blown up on me yet but they have on one of my hens. Poor girl kept sitting through the stink.

    Know that you won't always (if ever) get 100% hatch and it's not your fault. For planning purposes, in the beginning, set about twice as many eggs as you want chicks. At least until you get some experience and know what your hatch rates will be. Then, if you are hatching for just hens, double the number again since obviously 50% will typically be male.

    Don't obsess over perfect temperature and humidity, unless that sort of thing makes you feel better. Some people turn it into a science project and stress themselves out for the whole process (I was one of them when I started). Get it as close to the recommended as you can and don't fret it. Take note of which day your eggs hatch on (should be 21ish) and if they are all hatching early, turn the temp down next time. If they are all hatching late, turn the temp up. If it's staggered, check for hotspots in your incubator, or you can just periodically rotate their positions so they are all receiving the same amount of heat throughout the incubation. Use your observation and you will figure out what works best for you and your incubator.

    Have a plan for what you will do with extras if your hatch rate is higher than expected. I'm assuming you'll eat roosters but for anyone else that reads this, know that, if you don't eat them, you will most likely have to give them away for free, and that person will eat them instead.

    It's fairly easy to put 25 day old chicks into a large rubber tub as a brooder but 25 two week old chicks will definitely not fit. Chicks grow exponentially fast and they stink to high hell if they are overcrowded, plus it's unhealthy. Have a brooder to accommodate the chicks you hatch.


    Hope this wasn't too much! It really is easy once you've done it once or twice and it is so awesome when the chicks finally hatch!
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Mirei81101

    Mirei81101 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 5, 2014
    X2, good advice.
    Here's some excellent guides for first-timers:

    post #2
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/hatching-eggs-101
     
  4. SolomonMan

    SolomonMan Just Hatched

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    Jul 19, 2016
    All,
    Thanks for the responses!

    A bunch of reading and trial and error I am thinking ahead....

    I am preparing the incubator tonight...So lets see how things go from there.

    Chris
     
  5. KikisGirls

    KikisGirls BYC Fan Premium Member Project Manager

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    Welome to BYC Chris!
    [​IMG]
     
  6. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Welcome to BYC and good luck with your future hatch!
     
  7. SolomonMan

    SolomonMan Just Hatched

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    Jul 19, 2016
    All,
    Thanks for the warm welcome!...wife placed the eggs in the incubator this morning....Temp seemed to stay 99.5 for 24 hrs....its our first time using a incubator...It has an auto turner so its just a monitor thing now...wish us luck....

    Thanks
    Chris
     
  8. KikisGirls

    KikisGirls BYC Fan Premium Member Project Manager

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    Best of luck...
     
  9. SolomonMan

    SolomonMan Just Hatched

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    Jul 19, 2016
    All,
    I forgot to post the results...

    We hatched successfully 5 chicks out of a dozen. They are about 2 weeks old now...

    The wife said she had a hard time telling if the eggs were fertilized. They are all brown eggs....when my wife candled the eggs she said it was hard to see thru the shell.

    The other 7 appeared to have been in the following arrangement....

    3 - No signs of development
    1 - Appeared to have started but did not get far - blood ring - not sure small dime size glob?
    2 - Basically appeared to be feathered but no hatch

    The wife is now trying duck eggs...from our Khaki Campbells....

    Thanks
    Chris
     

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