Livestock Starting the Incubator

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This too shall pass.
With only five eggs in it so far. I’ll keep adding any I find over the next three or four days, but it’s a very small load for a forty-egg incubator. My Icelandic flock has rather suddenly dropped to only four hens and three roosters, and I need to try to get the numbers back up a bit. I’ve caught all of them but two of the hens, and once those two are caught, they will go in chicken tractors. I’ll run more batches in the incubator as often as I get enough eggs to do it.

We have ten layer chicks under a heat lamp, but I really want to keep the Icelandic’s going.

Kathleen
 

summerthyme

Administrator
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Good luck! I had an incredible hatch last year... 37 out of 41, after my True Blue rooster died suddenly. The resulting pullets included some purebred True Blues, a bunch of Americauna crosses, with either the Blues or a nice Cuckoo Maran rooster. They've been laying very well all winter. I think I'll hatch out a few more to have some young blood for next fall. But what I *really* want to do is get sone Slow Whites in here again... I can use them for meat (we prefer the CornishX, as they are meatier with much more breast meat, but in a pinch they'll do) and they are great laying hens.

I also need to get a few more bantam hens... I can hatch eggs with the incubator, but I can't raise chicks nearly as cheap as letting a banty hen take care of it. With 3 or 4 bantam hens raising a couple of clutches of 6-8 chicks free ranging, I can replace a lot of dogfood, essentially free. If I could get some that were a little tamer (the current bantam are as wild as Robins) I could replace their eggs with full sized eggs from the Slow Whites, and get even more meat for the dogs. I did that with my little Mille Fleur hen 2 summers ago... I found where she was setting, and replaced her eggs with Maran/Americauna full size eggs. She raised 4 clutches of 8-12 chicks... as soon as they were feathered, she abandoned them to their own devices and started setting again. I think I ended up with 43 full sized birds that fall... we butchered the cockerels and mist of the pullets for dog food.

Of course, if things got really tight, and chick starter wasn't available, I can see doing that for *people* food... hence my desire to have some Slow Whites to produce the seed stock if that became necessary.

Summerthyme
 

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This too shall pass.
I’ve got a dozen eggs in the incubator now, which feels much better than only having five in there! And the one hen who I still haven’t caught is probably setting on a clutch of eggs. The problem will be catching her and the chicks before something else gets them. (Like one of the barn cats....)

I’ve been sitting here wondering why on earth someone doesn’t sell an incubator meant for small multiple batches! You can get big ones with two or three trays for incubating and a bottom tray for hatching, but all of those that I’ve seen hold around forty eggs per tray (or more, when you get into farm-sized operations). People like me with just a few chickens don’t need anything that size. But I could sure use one with room for around a dozen eggs per section, with three or four sections!

By the time this batch of eggs hatches, I should have another dozen or two, and will run a second batch. Then hopefully will swap one of my Icelandic roosters with one from the other guy here who has them (he got his from me, but it will still be a little different than what I have), and do a couple more batches. I think people may be wanting chickens later this year, and Icies are good homestead hens.

Kathleen
 

Cardinal

Snark: a higher form of communication
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I bought half a dozen banties last week, lost one same day, so, five left. Got em in my gym under a heat lamp.
They seem to be doing well. Once they get big enough I'll put em out side in the dog pen. (Dogs are indoors)
 

Freeholder

This too shall pass.
Summerthyme, I’ve been wanting to try those Slow Whites for a few years now, but was reluctant to mail order chicks this year. So I had picked up two Buff Orpingtons and eight golden sex-links, then added seven Delaware pullets that are a week younger, all from Tractor Supply. If I can keep them all fed, we should have plenty of eggs in a few months to feed us and the dogs, and maybe some to share with my neighbor. Hopefully there will be some new Icelandic’s, too, but I don’t like to count my chickens before they hatch!

Kathleen
 

zookeeper9

Senior Member
I picked up 6 more pullets for my backyard flock. 3 Isa Brown and 3 Americuna. We lost 3 this year to hawks and a coyote so I am upping the number in flock. Last time we had Isa Browns (red sex linked) they later all winter. The current flock stopped this year and we missed the fresh eggs.
 

summerthyme

Administrator
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I've got 25 straight run Slow Whites arriving next week (I hope!) Hubby isn't thrilled.. the pen where we need to raise them currently has three off age calves in it.. If we move them up to the barn with young stock, they are likely to be out more than in (the slant bar feeders don't work for Dexters, who can be escape artists)

The old barn doesn't have electricity right now. Or accessible water...we tore down 3/4 of it last fall, then enclosed the remaining useful section (hubby will do almost anything to keep my chickens out of the main barn! LOL!). But that left the frostproof water hydrant *outside* the wall, and we have to rent a jackhammer (and get out Amish hired man to run it... hubby's spinal stenosis doesn't let him do thst kind of work anymore) to move it inside.

Probably not an impossible problem... I could run an extension cord for heat lamps and carry water from the house... chicks don't use that much. But I was determined to get some in here again... I'll give a trio to my son as well, and we'll butcher the extras in the fall.

Summerthyme
 

mecoastie

Veteran Member
We usually have a couple hens go broody each year but I had my wife grab the incubator from her school just in case. I have my big one and an antique kero one but the school one is slick and does about 10 at a pop. Perfect for us.
 

DustyOpal

Contributing Member
I bought some french black copper marans last year (eggs and chicks), and I am going to work on building my flock this year. They just started laying their first eggs a few days ago, so I'm collecting them and will probably start incubating sometime this week. I'm waiting for my hygrometer to arrive from Amazon before I begin.

I tried incubating last year and it didn't go very well. I bought the eggs off of ebay, so I'm hoping since they are my own, and aren't going through shipping, the hatch rate will be much better.
 
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