Incubating Chicks

By Woodman on Thu, May 16, 2013 - 10:54pm


We started a batch in the incubator 11 days ago.  I'm hoping to do a short article later on hatching your own chicks.  Anyone else hatching chickens at home or thinking about it?


kevinoman0221's picture
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Joined: Sep 25 2008
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I would be interested in an

I would be interested in an article on hatching chicks. I've been thinking about it for a while. My biggest problem is I don't have space anywhere for a brooder setup.

Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
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Posts: 3285
Equipment & costs

I'd like to know exactly what's needed (gear & costs) - so I look forward to your article!

If not too involved, I'd definitely do this,

Stoicsmile's picture
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First batch of incubated chicks

I have a small backyard flock of various pure breeds, with one rooster (RI Red). I collected eggs a month ago, including a dozen from a friend who also raises chickens. I bought an incubator nearly identical to Woodman's (pic at the beginning of this discussion), with the built-in egg turner and fan. The thermostat was very picky/sensitive. A tiny turn of the adjustment knob changed the temperature by a degree or more. (You need to keep the temp at 99.5F +/- 1 degree or so. You also need to regulate the humidity.) The instructions said the basement is the best location due to steady temperature and humidity. I kept it in the house and the temperature swings did influence the incubator.

Anyway, the chicks started hatching Saturday morning, and were all done by Sunday night. Out of 41 eggs, I got 32 chicks! I candled about two weeks in and found three infertile eggs. Out of the other six that didn't hatch, two had started hatching but didn't make it. (I followed the advice of not helping the chicks.) The 32 that hatched are all very lively and appear healthy, except one that has splayed legs. The wife literally wrapped a bandaid around its legs to hold them close together. Supposedly, that helps them get their leg strength and stand/walk upright. We'll see.

I scrounged a wooden packing crate about the size of a refrigerator, and am almost finished making a brooder out of it. Next step is to convert my old backyard shed into a coop. My current coop is only big enough for a dozen full-grown birds, and the chicks will outgrow the brooder in a couple months.

This is a learning experience for me (and for my wife and 9-yr old). I want to start an improvement program with a heritage breed - Chanteclers or Buckeyes maybe - and my new flock of mongrels is, well, expendable. I'd hate to learn the hard lessons with a batch of eggs/chicks from a rare breed.

Fun fun!

~Bill Bishop

Woodman's picture
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Incubating chicks

We have 18 surviving chicks out of 28 eggs incubated.  One is kind of a runt that we are watching the growth on but otherwise they look good.  One additional chick died shortly after hatching.  Most eggs were collected and stored at room temp before incubating, but I tested some eggs that had been refrigerated after collection and several did hatch fine.    Will writeup summary for incubating and brooding.




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