Question About Raising Chickens...?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by ChickenLuv726, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. ChickenLuv726

    ChickenLuv726 Out Of The Brooder

    12
    1
    24
    May 5, 2013
    Virginia
    Hi! My name is Rachel, and my little brother Johnny and I are preparing to order chicken eggs to hatch. We have our incubator all set, (see pics in last posting by us) but we have some more questions...

    1. When your chicken eggs arrive, is that day one, or do you account for travel time?
    2. When should you move chicks from the incubator to the brooder?
    3. We were planning on using either an old guinea pig cage (http://www.petco.com/product/113068/WARE-Home-Sweet-Home-Purple-Small-Animal-Cage.aspx) or a medium sized dog crate (http://www.petco.com/product/111704...?CoreCat=MM_DogSupplies_CratesKennelsCarriers) Would these be okay for using as brooders? Which one is better?
    4. When can you first hold chicks, and do you do it?
    5. My little brother is telling me that red lights makes chicks stressed, and even cannibalistic. Is this true?
    6. Should we put towels on top of the wire mesh in the incubator, or something else?
    7. Is my pet chickens a good and reliable website to order eggs from?
    8. What temperature should you keep the brooder at?
    9. When you order chicken eggs, do yo get mostly boys or girls? when they hatch can you tell?
    10. When chicken eggs arrive, do you put them in the incubator right away or let them sit for a bit?
    11. How much can the temperature fluctuate in the incubator?

    PLEASE help us even if you know just one answer!
    Thanks so much![​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  2. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

    20,569
    1,158
    391
    Jul 24, 2013
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,108
    3,310
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I’ll give a slightly different take on some of these but it’s important to remember that there are many different things that work. The answer is not always an absolute this or that.

    When your chicken eggs arrive, is that day one, or do you account for travel time?

    Day 1 begins when you put them in the incubator. Day 1 ends 24 hours later. When people talk about Day this or day that, they are talking about the end of that day, not the beginning. Lockdown should be at the end of day 18, not the beginning. Hatch should be at the end of day 21, not the beginning. A good way to check your counting is that the day of the week you set them is the day of the week they should hatch. If you start them on a Monday, they should hatch on a Monday. But that is just a theory. In practice it is not that unusual for eggs to hatch a day or two early or late, either in an incubator or under a broody hen.

    When should you move chicks from the incubator to the brooder?

    I wait until the hatch is over and they have dried out. Sometimes that’s within 24 hours or so of the first one to hatch. Sometimes that drags out to more than two full days. A chick can go three days or more without eating and drinking because it absorbs the egg yolk just before it hatches so I’m not in a huge hurry to take them out. How can you tell when the hatch is over? After a few times you pretty much know but the first time or two can be rough. Since the first one can go three days after hatch, I’m just not in a hurry.

    We were planning on using either an old guinea pig cage (http://www.petco.com/product/113068/WARE-Home-Sweet-Home-Purple-Small-Animal-Cage.aspx) or a medium sized dog crate (http://www.petco.com/product/111704...?CoreCat=MM_DogSupplies_CratesKennelsCarriers) Would these be okay for using as brooders? Which one is better?

    My philosophy on brooders is to make it as big as you reasonably can, heat one area, and let the rest cool off. A broody hen does not heat the entire universe for her chicks. She provides a warm place for them to go warm up when they need to. I use the same approach. If you provide one place warm enough and a place cooler than you think it needs to be, they will find their own comfort zone. You don’t have to worry about them being either too warm or too cold.

    When can you first hold chicks, and do you do it?

    Other than moving them from the incubator to the brooder and teaching them to drink, I don’t do it.

    My little brother is telling me that red lights makes chicks stressed, and even cannibalistic. Is this true?

    No, that is not true. Red lights are preferred.

    Should we put towels on top of the wire mesh in the incubator, or something else?

    I don’t put anything on top of the wire mesh, but as long as it doesn’t get wet and mess with the humidity you can use paper towels, cloth towels, cheesecloth, anything not slick that you wish. Newspaper can be slick.

    Is my pet chickens a good and reliable website to order eggs from?

    I also have not used MyPetChicken but they have an excellent reputation.

    What temperature should you keep the brooder at?

    As mentioned above, I heat one area to maybe 90 degrees, dropping it occasionally but have the brooder big enough so the rest can cool off. That way I don’t go crazy worrying about keeping the entire brooder a perfect temperature but let them do the work. I think by varying your brooder temperature in different sections like this you have healthier chicks.

    When you order chicken eggs, do yo get mostly boys or girls? when they hatch can you tell?

    When I hatch eggs, whether shipped or from my own, I normally get about 60% to 75% of one sex. Sometimes that is males and sometimes that is females. Occasionally I get around 50%. Over several hatches it averages out around 50% but it can swing a lot on any one individual hatch.

    There are some chicks you can tell when they hatch if they are male or female, but the parents have to be set up right genetically. These are not breeds but are crossbreeds specifically set up that way. They are called sex links. There are also a few breeds that are self-sexing. These are usually the barred breeds. The males have a larger white spot on their heads than the females, but these are not always easy or that accurate. There is also a vent sexing method used by hatcheries but this takes a lot of teaching and experience to get right. In general, you cannot tell sex at hatch for most chicks.

    When chicken eggs arrive, do you put them in the incubator right away or let them sit for a bit?

    Yep, 24 hours pointy side down is pretty standard.

    How much can the temperature fluctuate in the incubator?

    That’s a hard one to answer. You want it to fluctuate as little as possible. What is important is not the instantaneous air temperature but the temperature at the core of the egg. The temperature of the core of the egg will change a lot slower than the air temperature. If the temperature gets too hot or too cold you can kill the chick, but some or that is that some eggs are tougher than others and part is how hot or cold it gets and how long it stays there. Normally heat is more of a threat than cold. The average incubating temperature is important. It can be a degree high or low without causing a big problem, maybe even more, but if the average incubation temperature is a bit high the chick can hatch early. If the average is too cool, it can be late. Like a lot of these questions, the answer is not always real precise. Just do the best you can.

    Good luck!
     
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by