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Hatching Chicks

 

 

Current article: Hatching Chicks

We raise chickens for egg-laying, for roasting, and for entertainment purposes.  Here's where it all starts: hatching the eggs.

Step 1:  Get an incubator.  You can buy them, or you can make one yourself. You need something where you can control the temperature and humidity.  L-J Baker built our Hatchmaster5000 from scratch -- email her if you want all the gory DIY details.

Step 2:  Put your fertile eggs into the incubator.  (These can come from your chickens, as long as you have a rooster running with your hens, or you can purchase eggs of different breeds from various breeders. Fertile eggs can be shipped across the country very successfully.) Turn the eggs regularly, keep the humidity constant, and wait for 21 days. 

Step 3.  Around day 21  you'll hear little peeping sounds.  Ideally your incubator will have a viewing window, so you can watch the wiggling of the egg and the appearance of a small pipping hole, followed by the emergence of the chick.

Step 4: Now comes the rearing of the chicks. This is done in a special brooder.  But if you're lucky, you will, serendipitously, have a hen who has gone broody a few weeks ago.  There she is, hunkered down in a nest, sitting on a golf ball or a couple of fake eggs, convinced they're going to hatch. So you sneak up at night, reach under her, and substitute the new-hatched chicks for the golf balls.  Voila!  Nature takes over, and Mum-hen does all the work.  All you need to do is provide food and water, and make sure the mum and babies are protected from predators until they're about 4 weeks old and big enough to fend for themselves.

 

 

 

If there's something about chickens, cows, veggies, or fruit trees that you'd like to read about or see pictures of, let me know.

 

 

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