Hatching

In addition to the beekeeping this weekend, we had our first hatch of chickens. We had no idea what we were doing, and were hoping for the best.We did pretty good.

We started out with nine eggs. Picked at random from the coop outside. We chose 4 Americauna Eggs, one each of Colombian Wyandotte, Buff Orpington, and Partridge Rock, and two Rhode Island Reds.

They were placed in the incubator on March 31. After seven days, we candled, and had no damn idea what the deal was. My guess was that we had seven fertile eggs, and two blanks. But I wasn’t sure. We marked them with the mother’s breed when we went in, and marked which ones we thought were fertile. It doesn’t really damage the chicken inside, and it helps track how things are going. We were too worried to discard the ones we thought were blanks, so we left them in. Not the best habit, but for now it was necessary. And it was a good thing, because one of them was a chicken.

We bought a basic incubator from Amazon. It auto rotates, so we don’t have to.

We just used a flashlight to candle the eggs, but I think we’re going to build a fancy pants one next year with a light source, mirrors and such.

On Day 18 (Wednesday) we stopped the rotation and jacked up the humidity to 75% ish. We bought a nannycam so that we could watch the goings-on.

Well, somewhere around Friday morning, it seemed like the eggs were moving a bit. Then we got a pip Saturday morning.

We went out to dinner, and by the time we got back, we had a chick!

We spent our Saturday night watching the next egg hatch. And by morning, we had 8 chicks. Noah wasn’t shooting blanks! That’s not bad for a first try.

We had a brooder ready to take the chicks. It was actually one of the brooders we built for the bees, but the measurements were a skosh off, so we repurposed it as a chicken brooder.

It was too hot the first time, and one of the chicks, sadly, died. But we moved everyone back to the incubator and adjusted things. Now we have seven little balls of fluff! Only three are named yet.

The one on top is Petrie. The one farthest to the left is Meggan, and the white one with the dot on her head is Moe (I think). I forget who is who at this point. We’ll come up with names eventually. Right now they’re identified by description and relative weight.

Soon we’ll figure out how to tell whether they are male or female. So if I die and you see “Chicken Sexing” on my google search. Don’t worry, I’m just trying to figure out the sex of the chicks. The store bought ones are 90% female (generally), but these should be about 50/50. Hoping for 4 girls. We’ll see.

More as they grow!

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