The Plymouth Rock Breeders Thread- Part Deux

Egghead_Jr

Crowing
9 Years
Oct 16, 2010
7,046
2,781
406
NEK, VT
I was corresponding with a person about my birds and now I'm all hopped up to breed yet it's mid January...this winter is going to drag on now.

Perhaps it will give me the gumption to cull out some roasters. Got 3 or 4 that need to go. If I do that and make room I can head to Northeast Congress Saturday morning and attempt to pick up a partridge or two if Norm is showing again this year. Talked myself into it, going to give him a call today and sharpen the hatchet...
 

Egghead_Jr

Crowing
9 Years
Oct 16, 2010
7,046
2,781
406
NEK, VT
The timing is all wrong for her to be broody. Do you heat or supplement lighting? Have a recent thaw? It's bizarre to say the least.

Well it's Feb. finally. Looks like Easter is mid April this year. I'll be happy if I can set eggs early enough for Easter hatch. It's a guessing game if the weather and birds will agree on that.
 

Mosey2003

Crowing
Apr 13, 2016
2,855
4,279
351
North-Central IL
I'm getting pretty close to collecting eggs to hatch. Miserable cold spell today, but this should be the last one. I need to get to the hardware store and get some supplies to make some panels. Then I can set up some breeding pens, move the 'layer pen culls' out, and see how many of the breeder hopefuls are actually laying.

Fairview (I think it is) is trying preincubation this year and shared a tiny bit about that, I think I'm going to experiment with that too. That way I could get a larger batch hatching together and would simplify hatching and housing a bit.

Itchy itchy...
 

Egghead_Jr

Crowing
9 Years
Oct 16, 2010
7,046
2,781
406
NEK, VT
Hold the phone- your birds are laying? I don't expect any eggs until next month.

Good luck with "pre" incubating. I don't hold any hopes for it to improve hatch. From experience there is no difference in hatch rate of over two week old eggs and those laid the day before. I believe the idea of pre incubating was to improve shipping. My opinion from data observed is it results in a lower hatch rate but may (depending on postal shipping lanes) improve poor shipping lane hatch rate.

I'll be pumping out a lot of eggs this year from the Plymouth breeding pen and intend to hatch them all. To accomplish this I'm picking up a seperate table top incubator to designate as the hatcher. Mark date of set on egg batches going in incubator and move them to hatcher day 18 to 20. A perpetual flow of chicks. One brooder with 3 to 4 week olds moving to one grow out pen. The brooder would have small divider area for up to three day olds to get there legs under them. -will adjust this schematic as it's in function.
 

Mosey2003

Crowing
Apr 13, 2016
2,855
4,279
351
North-Central IL
Yep! Number 002 started laying right around 6 months of age, that was December 10. There are a couple different age groups of pullets out there, but I'm getting at least two eggs every day, usually at least three, often four or more. The other day I got nine! Out of 14 pullets. Which is why I'm getting so itchy to get pens set up :D I seem to have squeaked by with crossing lines and actually improving vigor a lot, darn lucky! Just checked the hatch dates and the oldest pullets I have out there are just now 8 months old, and I started getting more than one egg a day about 2 weeks after 002 started.

I was wanting to ensure greater hatchability just holding them 14 days, you really don't think it will matter? I'm still a little gunshy from last year, I had absolutely miserable hatchability. Starting to figure out that my initial hens really were just not great birds overall, honestly. I have high hopes for some of these pullets, if I can get a lot of chicks out early I'll feel better about my options.
 
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Mosey2003

Crowing
Apr 13, 2016
2,855
4,279
351
North-Central IL
My original plan was to collect the first time for two weeks, then set every week basically until I hit 200 chicks. I'm aiming so high this year because of the inverted comb issue - if it behaves like I think it should, I should get about 50% deformed and 50% normal. So that would give me roughly 100 chicks to pick through for the next round of breeders. Plus some started pullets to sell and recoup a bit, and enough cockerels to fill the freezer.

I have a playpen in the basement (where I run the incubators) and then I have a roughly 3' x 6' wire floor brooder out in the barn, then my converted horse stall. Thinking about making space upstairs in the loft, too. Will have to see. I like to start the chicks in the house so I can keep an eye on them, then they go out to the barn brooder.
 

Egghead_Jr

Crowing
9 Years
Oct 16, 2010
7,046
2,781
406
NEK, VT
Oh it doesn't matter. I've marked eggs and held in cartons point down for three weeks of collecting. After hatch the number of "old" eggs to fresh eggs broken was identical. Whenever I set the eggs are in order of oldest to newest. I've hatched a lot and can say without a doubt the age makes no difference to three weeks.

Where age of egg comes to play is amount of water loss. If humidity where you store them is high enough the air sacs will all be close in size. It's if too much water is lost there is too much variance and the outliers will hatch poorly due to running humidity in incubation to the average air sac size. Something like that would only be a concern in July or August where I live and won't even be in play once two incubators are running to cycle through eggs.
 
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