thinking of hatching my own chicks, help

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Finge, May 30, 2017.

  1. Finge

    Finge Chirping

    Dec 30, 2016
    So, me and my family are growing our own food, we started a garden, I have goats for milk, and I might be getting a couple cows, depending if fates on our side and we find some good cows for an affordable price. Right now, I have 19 broilers, that i'll be selling after a contest to a breeder who wants them, With that money, I want to buy some Rhode Island Reds for eggs, and maybe start raising them. Though I want to know how to do everything before trying to convince my mom, who is anti rooster at the moment to let me have a roo, since this'll be my own project of the sorts.
  2. Tenrec

    Tenrec Chirping

    Apr 9, 2017
    If you can have cows, I'm assuming there are no laws against you having roosters.

    Roosters can be great additions to the flock. Besides fertilizing eggs, which you need if you want to hatch your own eggs, they guard their hens and chicks very well. A good rooster will always make sure his hens are in a safe area when he spots a threat. When he finds treats, he should give the hens + chicks the food first. Also, it's not something that you should ever EXPECT of a rooster, but a rooster will sometimes guard his flock to the death...This is unfortunately immaterial when you're dealing with something like a pack of dogs.

    Roosters can be overcrowded easily, though, and you have to watch and make sure they aren't overmating the hens. You certainly won't be able to keep as many roosters as you do hens in the same run....They can also hve attitude probelms that need to be handled differently than you would a hen.

    That being said, I have had some roosters I found sweeter and cuddlier than the girls. That tends to be the exception, though.
  3. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

    Oct 11, 2014
    Gouverneur, NY
    There's good Roos and bad. I won't keep an aggressive roo. A foo that becomes people aggressive goes to the Amish. I have never been able to have more than one roo in my standard coop either because even if they do not become people aggressive they end up scalping each other. For the past two years I've had a beautiful Spitzhauben roo over my girls. He's not a friendly please pet me bird, but he's not aggressive either. My silkies have two Roos.

    If you are going with RIRs, you are going to want a decent incubator. Cheap incubators like those at TSC are a headache on average. I wouldn't do any styro but Hovabator. Of course there are various minis out there as well. I say you need an incubator because RIRs have been bred to not be broody, so if you want to raise chicks from eggs, waiting on an RIR to brood probably isn't going to suit you. This means not only will you need to incubate, but you will also need to brood the chickens in a brooder until they are old enough to be integrated with the flock. I hate integrating, it's such a pain.
    You will want to read, read, read as much as you can on incubation, temp control, humidity control, (don't just have a number thrown at you, understand the importance of humidity and how to tell when and how to adjust,) assisting vs not assisting, when to, (very important as you can kill a chick trying to assist before it's ready.) Lots of things should be researched if you are going to do it right prior to sticking eggs in the bator in order to be prepared for the many situations that come up.
    Tenrec likes this.
  4. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Hi, welcome to BYC! :frow

    Why would a breeder want broilers if not for eating? Will you have something to do with all the extra boys you hatch? Why RIR??

    As much as I love raising chickens, having chicks, broody's and roosters.. one bad roo is enough to ruin the experience for the whole flock. Ugh, I resent the one that crows specifically at me. At first it was no big deal, but it has gotten old. He was a lap boy, turned back attacker. :mad: Later today..:drool

    Sounds to me like you are pretty gung ho about the whole farming thing! Me to. :wee I'm gonna have to suggest that you slow your roll and take one experience at a time instead of getting overwhelmed. Spread out the joy and excitement a little! Farming is A LOT of work. :old

    So get yourself some hens and raise them this year, persue your cow if you want... but wait until your girls are grown and you got your system running well before you add any boys. (ESPECIALLY if you don't have previous chicken experience) They ALWAYS mature faster and become ready to mate sooner than the females. If you wait till the girls are older and more confident they will do a better job keeping him in check and teaching him some manners. And if you don't already have chickens... get a variety and see which one you really enjoy! Trust me when I say chickens aren't always in person what they appear to be on paper. Having a variety on pasture is fun and easy to tell them apart as well as possible easy to tell who laid what egg, making it ultimately easier to tell if someone is having health or laying issues. Plus I feel like a kid when I get to see what colors I collect every day! :) And if it RIR you want... make sure that's what you are getting and not some other version that is mislabeled. On paper, I like the New Hampshires... I got production reds which according to the hatchery area cross between RIR/NH. I ecpected to like some breeds less and some more, but end up surprised sometimes.. you just never know! ;) Got a white leghorn because she was supposed to lay early but be flighty. Figured she would be the first over the fence and gone to a predator. She didn't lay until 22 week, was flighty, but also very cool looking and great member of the flock and white ended up being an important color to my egg basket. :love Will never have a flock without at least some EE, they are a real mixed bag of personality.

    Good luck and best wishes! :fl
    Tenrec likes this.
  5. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

    Oct 11, 2014
    Gouverneur, NY
    Most of my standard flock are mixes. I love hatching mixes because you never know what they are going to look like and there's so much variety! They are extra hardy, lay very very well and are inexpensive. If all a person wants are birds for eggs, mixes are an excellent option.
    I also have my pures, mostly spitz for decor and silkies for breeding/selling. I have nns which lay jumbo eggs and I love them, a barred rock which is not my fav. But mixes are fun.
    AshleySGM likes this.
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    There are so many different ways you could go about this it's ridiculous. One of the main things you need to do is to be flexible. Things never work out as you plan them. I'm sure there was a learning curve with the goats, there will be with cows and chickens too. Getting a few laying hens the first year might not be a bad plan. Sounds like your Mom might go along with that.

    The only reason you need a rooster is if you want fertile eggs from your hens. Everything else is personal preference. Some people wouldn't have a flock without one even if they never hatch an egg. Some are very happy to not have one. If they want to hatch eggs they get fertile eggs from someone else.

    If you want to learn, read on here. Read articles and threads that interest you. But don't believe everything you read. We keep them in so many different conditions and climates for so many different goals with such different management techniques that what works for one person is wrong for someone else. One hard part for you is to decide if what someone says even relates to you. In the world of chickens there is almost never one way that is best while every other way is absolutely wrong. Some people will come on as though if you don't do something their way you will have a total disaster. If you see that get a second opinion. You will soon see that a lot of people do it differently and their way also works. To paraphrase Judge Learned Hand, the more convinced you are that your way is the only right way the more likely you are to be wrong.

    To start you need to determine your goals, why do you want chickens. To grow your own food is not detailed enough. Are you after eggs or eggs and meat? How important is it that you hatch your own eggs? Will they forage for a lot of their food or will you be buying most of what they eat? Are RIR the only ones that will suit your goals? Would you be better off keeping a few hens for eggs and getting Cornish Cross or Rangers for meat? Would you be OK trading a little goat milk to a neighbor for hatching eggs for your incubator? If you have a garden you should have a compost pile. Chicken poop is a great addition to that.

    So many different options and reasons. I suggest you read and start a few threads on here with specific questions. Decide what you want and why and look at your situation. Think winter as well as summer. Things will clarify but you will still have to decide between a lot of options.

    Good luck!
  7. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Yes, I have my layer flock.. which is actually all still pures, but a variety. And I keep my FBCM (previously SFH also) separate for breeding. And starting my silkie flock which will be pure paints and blacks. Right now I keep the boys in a stag pen and only put them together when I want mating. I got 8 NN I'm raising right now, thinking 3 girls and 5 boys. However the person I got them from had several color hens and a black roo, so not realizing I won't likely get any pure for breeding my own. She didn't have much clue about genetics and was honest about what she had. They are mostly black with varying brownish feather patterns and 1 white. Thought my BR were not my fave because they seem so common, but 2 girls are still holding in to the group despite several thinings! Of course, it's individual personality that makes it that way. Can't wait to see how the white rock turns out, as a chick she was exceptional, and I thought she was kinda plain and meh at first. My Marans by far stay out foraging the most and are great at avoiding predation, but not what I call docile.

    I did end up with a couple mix breed girls, from scammers not selling what they claim on CL... (cheap $50 lesson for 3 birds) they were actually really good birds, but alas.. not room to keep them all and they didn't fit my breeding program.. what can ya do? But they were definitely hardy and unique and good layers. And I also did hatch some mixes during a test run. Mix chicks are so cute just like byracial kids! :love

    Just a mention for the OP.. hatches being 50/50 male/female is NOT my reality. So far I've gotten 9/11 boys. So only 2 girls and lost one to a predator. Just saying be prepared for the reality and not just the fantasy where everything goes well and all live happily ever after.. Everything will go, and all will live.. until they don't. I don't mean to be discouraging though!! I'm just a little too much of a realist than a dreamer. But being aware of the possibilities makes it easier to deal with when it happens and things go smoother... thus alleviating some of my anxiety! :oops: I'm cheering you on in reality though!! :wee
    Tenrec likes this.
  8. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

    Oct 11, 2014
    Gouverneur, NY
    Love this!

    I can't stand untruthful sellers. And then you have those that are just ignorant to what they have, they really believe what they are telling you, they just aren't right.

    Yes, Roos are a big consideration when hatching. Got to have a plan for all those extra Roos! I can't eat my own chickens, so what doesn't sell or get taken for free gets trotted to the Amish.
  9. moxiechick101

    moxiechick101 Chirping

    Jun 6, 2016
    We are hatching our own eggs this summer and did a lot of research on he best incubator for our situation and settled on the hovabator 1602n. I liked that it had everything we needed but was still affordable. We found it at a really good price at lll reptiles . We got it for 53 dollars including shipping`:wee
    hugjen and AmyLynn2374 like this.
  10. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Welcome, I hope you're enjoying BYC so far! :frow

    I have the 1602N, and can't believe how well it works for my novice hatching! :yesss:

    Only recommendation is use blankets or something like that if you need help stabilizing the temp making sure not to cover the air holes though. Since my house is around 60 in winter, I had to do this to get the temp high enough. And do plug it in and get it stabile for a good day or so before adding your eggs. Stinks to do it with your eggs in there. I have anxiety sooo bad and this incubator was so simple, it's great, especially for a starter IMHO. :) I have not added a turner or a fan to mine.

    Happy hatching! :ya
    moxiechick101 likes this.

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