Friday, July 31, 2015

Hatchery Update

Yes, I do believe my adventures in incubating are now successful enough to call it a hatchery!  Batch #3 started hatching last night, and we are at 10 chicks so far.

We moved the incubator out to the new coop after the last batch because it was too hot in the house.  Not too hot for the chicks - the heat of the incubator and heat lamp was too hot for the people!

It's a more streamlined process now, with new chicks going straight from the incubator onto the floor of the pen.  There's no overcrowding, and lots of noise from all three batches of chicks.

I believe we'll be ok to do one more batch outside this year, then probably back in the house in September.

The first batch is almost big enough to move outside now.  I have a few repairs to do to the greenhouses after a bit of a wind storm the other day, and then I think it will be safe to relocate them.  (It's safe for them now, but not for my veggies!)

The second batch is doing well, although I'm surprised by how much colour their showing.  Most of them have at least some black feathers, and a fair bit of red.  Few are solid white.  These are offspring of my crossbreed chantecler/frey's dual purpose hens, same as the first batch.  I think the younger ones were laying more eggs when I started this batch than the first.

The new batch are from after the chanteclers went outside, using eggs from all of my hens with the alternate rooster.  I'll be keeping the whiter ones and offering the rest for sale.

Egg production is up to at least a dozen per day, sometimes as many as 16. 

The black oil sunflower seeds (BOSS) are really paying off.  I'm feeding one coffee can of BOSS and one coffee can of scratch grains per night.  They get one 500mL sour cream container scoop of sprouted barley in the morning and forage through the day.  Although the BOSS are more expensive to buy, they don't require as much feed this way, so it actually saves me money.  I plan to continue with it through the winter, which I hope will increase egg production and over all health.

Eggs will be saved for incubating over the next few days, and batch #4 should be started by Monday.


  1. Wendy - congrats on your chicken/egg/incubating success! one question you just use regular barley and sprout it yourself or do you buy it sprouted? we've never raised chickens so know nothing about it...but i have never really heard of anyone feeding their chickens sprouts, which, when i think about it must be highly nutritious for them.

    your friend,

    1. Thanks, kymber. Yes, I use regular barley. A lot of people use it, or wheat, or oats, as forage, growing it in trays to about 6-8 inches high. I gave up on the trays in the spring when my plant stands were in use for seedlings. I got a bunch of icing buckets from walmart and drilled holes through them all except the bottom one. I put a scoop (the sour cream container) of barley in each bucket, then pour water through the top. Each day the top bucket goes out to the birds, then gets refilled and added to the bottom. The scoop of seed ends up being about 3-4 times as much feed when sprouted, so as well as extra nutrition, it also saves me a fair bit of money on feed.

    2. thanks Wendy! that sounds like a great set-up for feeding the chickens and i imagine it saves a bunch of money! we eat sprouts all of the time and considering the size of a seed versus the size of a sprout - you are getting big bang for your buck! again congrats on incubating success!