Broody-broody-chick-chick II

We started our journey with 55 chickens, of different heritage breeds. We ordered chicks from a farmer in our area and we took them home when they were a week old. At the time, we didn’t quite know what to do with day old chicks, so the farmer suggested he would take care of them until they are a week old and a little bit hardier. A great deal for newbies like us!

The day came, and we went to pick up our chicks. Mom was visiting at the time and I could see the excitement on her face too! It definitely brought back memories from my grandmother’s house.

And just like that, we had 55 baby chicks to make sure we kept alive! I learned a lot through this experience and trial and error. I won’t sugar coated, we also lost a few in the process due to unexpected illness. It was a learning curve nonetheless ūüôā

The next Spring we butchered 17 roosters¬†(no gore I promise!) and the next level was unlocked. A HUGE milestone was achieved!¬†We kept four roosters that did really well with the chickens and we had about 25 ladies. Then the roosters started fighting non-stop for power and one early morning two had their faiths decided because honestly I’ve had enough! 3 acres of land and they cornered each other constantly! The two left were Mitchell’s and my favourite. (about a year later Mitchell’s roster was taken suddenly by illness…Mr Rooster then became Mr King, a¬†majestic¬†blue¬†Jersey¬†Giant). We decided we were not to buy more chickens, but try to hatch our own, and since you cannot force a hen to become broody, I had to read all I could about incubators, how they work and what other accessories I needed.

All said and done! Next Christmas I received the best present!

I set two incubators down¬†in the basement.¬†Yeah, two! because one 42-egg incubator was not enough to satisfy my itch…¬†I had thermometers going, humidity gauges, and a bottle of water to add some water if humidity goes below 50-55%. The incubators came with little fans to move the air and a tray powered by a motor to turn the eggs from left to right, a few times a day, just like a broody would do.

Spring had sprung in my basement!

I set the eggs in and I would check on them a couple of times a day. Waiting was the hardest part! Miss Roxie would follow me in the basement and we would chat about all the¬†randomness of the day.¬†She’s such a great¬†listener!¬†

Then, Christmas morning! was exactly how I felt when I found eggs with little holes in them.

Day 20 & 21

Day 20 & 21

Fun fact: baby chicks are created with a little thorn at the top of their beak (an egg tooth). They take their first breath from the air bubble inside the egg, then use that little thorn to peep the egg and have access to outside air. The egg tooth also helps the chick to zip the egg (literally create a zipper around the egg) after which the chick uses its weight to push the two egg shells apart. The egg tooth falls off a few days later.

Baby chicks straight out of the egg are wet and out of breath and fall asleep a lot. They remain in the incubator until they are fully dry. During the awake moments, they chirp at the top of their lungs calling for other chicks (or momma hen). When two or more chicks are out, they somehow manage to find each other in the incubator and then snuggle together.

Baby chicks straight out of the egg have a food supply in their tummy for 24-28 hours. It is recommended¬†to not disturb the incubator in that period of time, and let all the chicks that need to hatch, hatch, and as they get all fluffy, to remove and set them into a box. The box should have a heat lamp above it to maintain a high temp of 95¬įF. It takes a chick a few weeks to be able to regulate its body temp and maintain it at a safe 105-107¬įF. At about 4 weeks all chicks are fully feathered and are safe to be left without a heat lamp during the night. If hatching chicks during winter months, a heat lamp is used until about 6-7 weeks as the nights are still very cold.

** videos are all weird because I didn’t learn until recently that you should hold the phone¬†horizontally¬†and take a video…¬†

 

To be continued…

 

6 Thoughts on “Broody-broody-chick-chick II

  1. Very interesting, your patience paid off well for you, good job!

  2. Aww chickies! Well done Laura, congrats on your beautiful fluff babies ūüôā It astonishes me how complex yet still how simple the whole process of nurturing life can be – the same goes for growing vegies!

    • These were old chickies ūüėõ the new ones are due this weekend!! part 3 of the mini series to follow with video and comments lol I feel the same about this complex life we live, and yet everything tends to work itself out…survive winter, and go again! just like the veggies lol

  3. Pingback: Broody-broody-chick-chick - Caledon Acres

I'd love to hear from you

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: