Newbie to chicks and hatching.. Could use any/all advice and tips

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Serenity Lane, Mar 21, 2013.

  1. Serenity Lane

    Serenity Lane Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi Everyone! I've been reading tons on BYC for the past week or so and I figured it was about time I speak up and introduce myself.
    I'm new to the whole chicken thing. I have a farm with 4 horses, 1 pony, 2 goats, 1 sheep (not mine, she's a boarder), about 8 feral (some have become friendly) barn cats, although more stop by for the free buffet in my barn, 3 indoor/outdoor cats, and, last but not least, 2 dogs.
    Last week I was at TSC getting feed and I saw the chicks. Like years past, I stopped to look at them. Impulsively, I bought 6 pullets. Three are White Leghorns and 3 are red.. I believe Rhode Island Reds but I'm not 100% sure. Right now, I have them set up in my tack room (in my insulated barn) in a huge dog cage with wood set around on all 4 sides to cut down on drafts (when I open the door) and a heat lamp hanging from the ceiling above. Five of six seem to be thriving. The little one, a White Leghorn I've started calling Chicken Little, has crooked legs. The right leg seems to turn out a bit. She gets around okay but she more waddles than walks. I tried bracing her legs together but after 2 days of finding her fallen over every time I check on her, I took it off. She was growing right along with the rest of them before I put the brace on but her growth slowed (pretty much stopped) and she seemed stressed all the time with the brace. I don't know if I did the right thing by taking it off but I felt like I was killing her slowly by leaving it on so I did what I thought was the right thing. If she makes it, that's great, but if she wasn't meant to, it is what it is. (I'm trying not to get attached.) I just don't want to decrease her chances of thriving.
    After I impulsively got these guys, I researched other types of chickens. I decided that I wanted a silkie, mainly for my son because he thinks they're really funny looking and, from what I've read, they're usually really friendly. The silkie(s) would be more pets than the original 6. So, again with my impulsiveness, I bought silkie eggs off of a lady on eBay and so began "The Great Chicken Project". The auction said that the eggs would ship the day the auction ended or the following day so as far as an incubator goes, I was limited to what I could buy locally or a homemade one. I checked TSC and the only one they sell has bad ratings, a lot of people complain about the thermostat malfunctioning and the temp dropping between days 15-20 (ish). I'm not going to buy something that has a reputation for not being good so off to Walmart and Lowes I went to get some incubator supplies. I'm lucky enough to have an electrician as my other half (I NEVER would've had successful wiring w/o him). So the incubator consists of a plastic Rubbermaid tote, lined with insulation (the foam board stuff, not the pink fuzzy stuff). There's also an outlet with one plug for the fan which is on constant and the other wired to the thermostat for light, a thermometer/hydrometer and 2 dog water dishes holding up cookie racks with 1/2 inch squares (I plan to line with that grippy type shelf liner). Oh, and there's a piece of glass caulked onto the top (foil tape wouldn't stick to the plastic) so we can see in without opening it. I hope that all makes sense! We had it set up in the garage and the temp wouldn't go above 75. Of course it's 28 degrees outside and the heat is off in the garage unless we're out there so heating it up was pretty difficult. I brought it inside about half an hour ago and it's up to 95 now with 48% humidity (with hardly any water in the dishes.) I'm more worried about the temp than the humidity right now. It hasn't gotten hot enough to kick off the light yet.. I'm anxious to see the temp when it does so I can try to get it consistently where it needs to be before the eggs arrive.
    I'm hoping the eggs get here tomorrow (Friday) or Saturday because I don't want them to be with USPS Sunday while they're closed. I've read that they should settle, pointy side down, for 24 hours once received before putting them in the incubator, please correct me if I'm wrong. Should I prop them up in the bator, like in an egg carton or little cardboard rings (like kids use when coloring Easter eggs) or something else? And if they are propped up, will turning them have the same effect as if they were laying in their side? I bought 9+ eggs, I'm not sure how many will arrive intact or how many the + is (probably 1-2). The "floor" space in the bator is about 12" x 18" so I think there will be plenty of room (I hope!)
    It's up to 97 now.. Almost there!! :)
    Does anyone have any advice for a first timer?
     
  2. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    Out to pasture
    [​IMG] Head for the Learning Center, and Incubation
     
  3. Serenity Lane

    Serenity Lane Chillin' With My Peeps

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    WooHoo!! 100 degrees! I adjusted the thermostat so the bulb shut off and (WooHoo again) it kicked back on at 99 degrees.. Looks like we're in business :) Hopefully it stays consistent!
    Last question for tonight.. My thermometer only measures in whole degrees; should I go out and buy one that measures in tenths before the eggs arrive?
     
  4. Serenity Lane

    Serenity Lane Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I will, Thanks Diva!
     
  5. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    Greetings from Kansas, Serenity Lane, and [​IMG]! Great to have you with us! I agree with drumstick. In addition, within the Incubation/Hatching thread is an article that helped me out a lot. I linked it below. Don't get too down when you read the shipped eggs section of it - it is what it is. Tomorrow is day 21 - hopefully hatch day - for some eggs I ordered through the mail - we'll see. Good luck to you and have fun.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/hatching-eggs-101
     
  6. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Hello and welcome to BYC [​IMG] Glad you joined us!
     
  7. Serenity Lane

    Serenity Lane Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Redsoxs. Good luck with your hatch!! Let me know how it goes.
    And thank you also, Sumi. I'm glad I joined as well.
     
  8. Carcajou

    Carcajou Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]. Glad you joined. Where in NY are you from?
     
  9. Serenity Lane

    Serenity Lane Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ulster County, NY.. About half way between NYC and Albany.
     
  10. Mr MKK FARMS

    Mr MKK FARMS Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC!! [​IMG] Glad you joined us!! [​IMG]
     

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