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.