Tis Time for a March 2020 Hatch-a-long!

LilyD

Crowing
9 Years
Jan 24, 2011
3,244
4,026
432
Bristol, VT
My Coop
My Coop
What do you do with all the chicks that hatch??

I love the idea of incubating them and watching them grow, but I have 14 laying hens and I am having a hard time using all their eggs! I can’t imagine what will happen once my chicks hatch.
I will keep 4 hens and one rooster back to add to my flock. I have 4-H kids that are drooling over getting some pure orps in interesting colors and our 4-H organization in the state is looking at adding section where they judge mixed breed or chicken colors that aren't recognized so they can have fun with that too plus using them for their projects and submitting eggs for judging or hatching. Whoever doesn't go will be sold at the swaps and the roosters who no one ever wants will become dinner. Looking to hatch around 100 this year so I have enough to share with everyone.
 

LilyD

Crowing
9 Years
Jan 24, 2011
3,244
4,026
432
Bristol, VT
My Coop
My Coop
Hi all!

I’m on day 9 of my first incubation. I’m concerned about my humidity, for the first week it’s been between 50-60% and I’ve now lowered it to 35-40%. Everyone I ask says something different and I don’t want to drown my chicks. ☹ Should I keep it at 35-40 or go lower? Will that first week with being a bit high impact the chicks? Thanks
The thing about humidity is that it really is different in different areas. Up here in VT we are in the middle of winter and the humidity is lower even with a pan of water on the stove in our house. I am averaging between 15 to 20 for humidity. If I dry incubate right now I'll lose babies. In the spring summer and fall when it's really wet and the natural air humidity is between 30 and 60 I bet I can get away without upping the humidity at all. Really you have measure it and make a judgement call based off what you know.
 

LilyD

Crowing
9 Years
Jan 24, 2011
3,244
4,026
432
Bristol, VT
My Coop
My Coop
I think my master plan is to start small breeding programs for the breeds I love. Do not tell my husband! 😂 I have hinted at it before and he was like you absolutely do not need to be breeding fancy chickens 🤣. But when I told him some of the more popular, highly sought after breeds can go for $30 a chick he was a bit more intrigued.

There are tons of 4H kids here, but no reputable breeders. I know some of them breed their own chickens, but a lot of them travel to buy their show chickens, too. The closest quality breeder is nearly 2 hrs away one way, and she is closing up shop after this season.
It's the same here we have one or two reputable breeders who breed but it's off and on. Believe it or not the Marans are a big thing up here and if I were doing those I would be in heaven. I know of two people who breed Orpingtons which are my favorite flavor of chicken. One does Chocolate mottled and the other has a flock of Meyers lavender orps and is breeding from those. Any other colors I need to ship eggs or chicks in.

With all the sickness in chickens I refuse to ship chicks and would rather ship eggs. I chat with the people who ship me the eggs either on FB or over the phone for weeks usually before I settle on their birds for eggs. I started breeding my motley crew this year (one roo who is English Orp and three hens from Meyers) and I have 4 different people interested in buying sexed pullets or straight run chicks from me. 10$ a chick for straight run or 18$ for sexed pullet that is older. The 4-H kids don't pay that much though shhh....don't tell but I have a thing for helping kids start up their chicken addiction so I've been known to give them chicks or eggs to get started lol.
 

FortCluck

Purple Minion Wrangler
Sep 9, 2019
13,247
56,908
987
Central Virginia
The thing about humidity is that it really is different in different areas. Up here in VT we are in the middle of winter and the humidity is lower even with a pan of water on the stove in our house. I am averaging between 15 to 20 for humidity. If I dry incubate right now I'll lose babies. In the spring summer and fall when it's really wet and the natural air humidity is between 30 and 60 I bet I can get away without upping the humidity at all. Really you have measure it and make a judgement call based off what you know.
My incubator was at 18% yesterday. I'm not worried with that number because it's the sweet spot for me.
 

FortCluck

Purple Minion Wrangler
Sep 9, 2019
13,247
56,908
987
Central Virginia
It's the same here we have one or two reputable breeders who breed but it's off and on. Believe it or not the Marans are a big thing up here and if I were doing those I would be in heaven. I know of two people who breed Orpingtons which are my favorite flavor of chicken. One does Chocolate mottled and the other has a flock of Meyers lavender orps and is breeding from those. Any other colors I need to ship eggs or chicks in.

With all the sickness in chickens I refuse to ship chicks and would rather ship eggs. I chat with the people who ship me the eggs either on FB or over the phone for weeks usually before I settle on their birds for eggs. I started breeding my motley crew this year (one roo who is English Orp and three hens from Meyers) and I have 4 different people interested in buying sexed pullets or straight run chicks from me. 10$ a chick for straight run or 18$ for sexed pullet that is older. The 4-H kids don't pay that much though shhh....don't tell but I have a thing for helping kids start up their chicken addiction so I've been known to give them chicks or eggs to get started lol.
😂 You sound like me. I charge people I don't know, but if a kid or friend wants them... They get them for free. A friend has 3 retired hens that lay not as often and he wants to start new so I offered to take the older ones and give him my chicks so he can start new. Some may see this as a loss to me, but I see it as a win because my chicks will be awed at for years to come.
 

Mosey2003

Crowing
Apr 13, 2016
2,914
4,555
351
North-Central IL
I got 6 eggs from the breeder pen yesterday and cracked them all. One fertilized. Not super, but I know he's at least going after one of them :lau I'll start collecting today and hope it improves rapidly. Gonna collect for 10-14 days before I set this first time, then I'll set every week.

I really want to get into helping 4H kids too. Finally got ahold of my closest NPIP tester (she lives two miles from me! I didn't even know, that's some excellent luck right there) and she said that half her son's 4H chicks they ordered in January died in transit. When she comes out I'm going to see if she'd be interested in some of my Rocks for him next spring. Hopefully I'll have a young cockerel that's really raring to go since the old man doesn't seem as interested in mating as I'd like.
 

LilyD

Crowing
9 Years
Jan 24, 2011
3,244
4,026
432
Bristol, VT
My Coop
My Coop
😂 You sound like me. I charge people o don't know, but if a kid or friend wants them... They get them for free. A friend has 3 retired hens that lay not as often and he wants to start new so I offered to take the older ones and give him my chicks so he can start new. Some may see this as a loss to me, but I see it as a win because my chicks will be awed at for years to come.
I had a little boy come with his mom to the swap last year who sat for hours with two of my Crele pullets on his lap. I wasn't planning on selling the Crele pullets but he was totally in love so I gave them to him for a dollar a pullet lol. It was so much fun to just sit and talk to him I didn't want to charge him anything but he wouldn't take them for free lol. Another addict in the making.
 

LilyD

Crowing
9 Years
Jan 24, 2011
3,244
4,026
432
Bristol, VT
My Coop
My Coop
I got 6 eggs from the breeder pen yesterday and cracked them all. One fertilized. Not super, but I know he's at least going after one of them :lau I'll start collecting today and hope it improves rapidly. Gonna collect for 10-14 days before I set this first time, then I'll set every week.

I really want to get into helping 4H kids too. Finally got ahold of my closest NPIP tester (she lives two miles from me! I didn't even know, that's some excellent luck right there) and she said that half her son's 4H chicks they ordered in January died in transit. When she comes out I'm going to see if she'd be interested in some of my Rocks for him next spring. Hopefully I'll have a young cockerel that's really raring to go since the old man doesn't seem as interested in mating as I'd like.
That was always my big thing too. I used to order chicks but I feel bad if one of them gets a little sick and if one dies... that's the worst. Eggs if they crack that's okay no worries. So shipping eggs in is easier for me and I have no problem hatching out some for the local kids too if it helps them get into chickens.
 

FortCluck

Purple Minion Wrangler
Sep 9, 2019
13,247
56,908
987
Central Virginia
I had a little boy come with his mom to the swap last year who sat for hours with two of my Crele pullets on his lap. I wasn't planning on selling the Crele pullets but he was totally in love so I gave them to him for a dollar a pullet lol. It was so much fun to just sit and talk to him I didn't want to charge him anything but he wouldn't take them for free lol. Another addict in the making.
I had a little girl like that but her dad wouldn't let her have any 😂 I ended up buying two chicks from a little girl and her father that were next to us at the swap. They gave me my HeiHei the silver sebright rooster for free because he said he got this feeling in his gut that he would have a great life with me.

Fast forward months later... The two chicks are both Cockerels 😂 I guess they'll become meals for my family. I already have to process my barred cockerel I hatched on Halloween, he's starting to fight with my two pullets and that's not going to fly at this farm.
 

gmjarvi

Songster
Feb 11, 2020
565
2,720
163
Upper Peninsula, Michigan
I feel like I should clarify that I would NOT charge a kid an arm and a leg for any chicken, even if it laid golden eggs (wait, that was a goose, right? 😅). I would love to be able to help the local kids out with some quality birds! And maybe make a few bucks on the side from adults in the region hahaha.

I live in small family farm country so I was shocked how hard it was to find chicken breeders! Almost everyone is just buying hatching eggs from MH, hatching them out, and selling the day-old chicks. Which I suppose is one way to do it, but why wouldn't I just buy the eggs myself then!? 🤷‍♀️ and so here we are.
 
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