Homesteading: Update On The Chicks

We’ve Hit Day 9 and things look good so far!

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It’s been a long minute since I’ve mentioned it but we are 10 days down from Hatch Day with the eggs. The entire cycle lasts 21 days from start to hatch and we are about halfway through the first batch with my new incubator and things are getting exciting.

Part of the Spiritual Life sometimes involves a more natural life and some people make the choice to start Homesteading and I myself am in the transition with no big hurry since I am currently looking for that perfect little piece of property somewhere and don’t want to build up too much here until I’m in my “forever home” so for now the big thing is the Chickens.

I gathered some eggs up from Yard Birds which is just a Black Jersey Giant Hen & a little Mille de fluer Banton named George and some of their grown offspring and a random guy who seems to be some kind of mix that someone gave us & I gathered up a few eggs from my Silkie Hen. I thought I was buying a flock of Hens & one Rooster but I ended up with one hen and a whole team of Roosters but they all co-exist really well with no bickering.

If you are familiar with Silkies you know that they are not very prolific egg layers and as disappointed as I was, I’m probably lucky I ended up with two eggs out of her. She was laying like crazy until I took some of her eggs and she got angry and refused to sit again and the rest got way too cold. Lesson Learned! It was my hope to sneak a few out and she would continue to nest but it’s been 10 days and she hasn’t laid a single egg since. *sigh*…

Aside from that I have a Giant Cochin hen but she hasn’t laid her first egg yet and it seems funny because I forget how much younger she is than the Silkies because she is so much bigger than them but hopefully she will start laying soon. My hormone crazed Rooster George didn’t even mess with her a few days ago when she slipped out during a cleaning so I know she isn’t ready yet because George will hop on anything that moves but he isn’t a perve, he won’t even try until the Hens are old enough.

Keeping the Silkies, The Cochin, and the Ducks together seems to be working really nicely. The ducks are full size now and I know now that they are all hens because there are no curly fathers on their tail. Everyone gets along great but this Spring I will need to separate them when Chicks start hatching and I find a nice male Duck to bring home.

So back to these eggs, I have 2 Silkie eggs & 7 “yard mix” eggs in the Incubator. The Yard Mix eggs are HUGE & thick and the Silkie eggs are tiny & delicate. I would love to have hatched more this time but I fit as many as I could in and I’m hoping for the best.

Last year my Momma Hen, the big Jersey Giant came walking in on Christmas Eve with 8 newborn babies I didn’t even know she was nesting so that was a treat! So this year I wanted to get as many chicks started as I could before Spring because I want to take a big batch of chicks to our local Trading Days this year & maybe swap out for some new varieties to keep the bloodlines fresh and the breeds interesting.

I candled the eggs tonight and everything is looking great so far for all of the eggs and they all had a nice healthy looking air ring at the end of the shell. The silkie eggs very clearly show the veins but the big eggs are so thick it’s hard to see them very good but I was able to just make out the veins in all of the eggs.

On advice from an old Farmer that’s been hatching since before I was born I am keeping my eggs set around 99-100.9 degrees F. in hopes of getting more Hens. He swears that if you keep your temps too high it will be a bunch of Roosters and while I’ve never looked that up I will take his word on it. As long as you keep them between 82-103 degrees F they are viable.

I’ve been worried about the Humidity but even though I am following directions I keep getting a lot of sweat on the inside of the incubator. I’m told that’s normal as long as the eggs themselves aren’t wet I’m okay but it still makes me nervous. This is my first time hatching with an incubator so I’m really hoping it works out and I get all 9 little ones on the 21st of this month.

I’ll update again soon and next time throw in some pics to share! If you are interested in buying a new Incubator I am really liking this one as a first timer, all I have to do is add water every so often and it does everything automatically. It was affordable and works great! I endorse this one..

I am really finding the whole process of Chicken Farming to be relaxing and wish I’d started doing this sooner. When you lead a more Spiritual Life and get closer to nature you feel so much better. I look forward to going out to see my birds every day and feeding time when otherwise I would not be going out in the cold. I am very much looking forward to finding that perfect spot somewhere warm to get that mini home & homestead up & running but I’ll make the most of what I have until then 🙂

Anyone have any good advice for a first time Hatcher? I’d LOVE to hear your tips!

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3 comments

  1. hiya ! I would love to have silkies, my favourite, i didn’t know how ‘sensitive’ they were though ! i have quails, kept naturally so they wont lay until its gets nicer, however last summer they were producing so many eggs i was giving loads away, i am really looking forward to laying season this year, thank you for sharing have a great day, respect

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    1. They are the best chickens I’ve ever had but they are like a flock of kittens lol.. so calm & easy going. They have soft spots on their head like newborn babies and they just can’t handle mixing with more aggressive breeds so I keep them to themselves. Quails are on my bucket list right after Turkeys but since I am planning to move within a year or less I am just in limbo to add anything else to the flock right now so I’m frustrated lol. Are quails easy to handle? Are they good brooders? I still have a lot to learn on them lol..

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      1. i am pretty new to all of this i dream of having a farm/homestead, my wee quails, its my first time i hatched them from eggs using a brinsea and what i can tell you is the humidity must be spot on or you can suffer a high egg loss, i lost whole batches broke my heart but the brinsea is not good enough at humidity in the end i regulated the humidity myself first one born was only survivor from a batch and i had to help him out the shell and he is vicious ! but so little 🙂 keeping them even the way i do it (fully natural all organic) is easy and cheap but they are not safe where i am to fully free range, the others apart from vicious are easy to handle because i handled them a lot from hatching so if you want them slightly easier to handle then basically every day from hatching play with them thats what i did 🙂 vicious i didnt and he goes into attack soon as anything approaches him, quails rarely brood or sit but i am hoping mine may try at some point from what i am told they have lost all natural abilities from being domesticated for so long, as mine are not caged and live naturally fingers crossed some vague memory will stir within them 🙂 i am still in my first year and first successful batch so i am still very much a learner i adore them great personalities! i hope you have much success now and in the future, respect

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