Category Archives: Hatching Chicks

More Barred Rock chicks hatching

My brother-in-law’s chickens stopped laying so he needs more hens.  I put six eggs under one Silkie hen and six under another Silkie hen about a week later.  Silkie number one hatched out two chicks yesterday and two were throw away a day or two ago that we could smell were not viable …. rotten.  yuk

We usually check the eggs about day 14 to see if they are fertilized and going to grow into a chick.  I know after day 16, you are not suppose to move the eggs.

So far, Silkie momma #2 is still sitting on six eggs and hers are due to hatch on Thursday, six days from today. I didn’t plan this too well because I don’t really have two nurseries.  Unfortunately, I am recovering from hip replacement surgery so building something right now is impossible.  I figured out something to do temporarily until I see how many chicks the second momma has.  If the first one only has the two and the second momma only has a few, I will give them all to one momma.  Usually, all my eggs hatch out from my Barred Rock so I am a little puzzled why two went rotten and two still haven’t hatched out.  My rooster definitely has his favorites out of the 8 hens he is with.  The hens are about 18 months probably.

Well, I will update this post as the chicks hatch out.  Don’t you love baby chicks.  And these Silkie moms are the best.  I hated hatching in an incubator….adjusting temperature and moisture.  Made me crazy!

February baby chicks are here

The weather has been so confusing for the plants and animals here in Florida.  This weekend it will be freezing but it in a day or two later, back in the 70s and 80s.  That is one thing I really like about Florida but I do miss snow.

So I have some Silkie hens that are broody and I let one hen sit on five eggs and she hatched out three Barred Rocks female chicks for me.  Now I have another Silkie hen sitting on some more Barred Rock eggs.  I put seven eggs under her and they are due to start hatching March 7th.  It is hard not to want baby chicks around.

I feather-sexed the three chicks and I did that test where you hold the chicks by the scruff of the neck and see if their legs dangle down.  Both tests showed the chicks are all females.  I am thinking my daughter, Bonnie, will take them since she just bought a house and is wanting to start gardening and raising some small animals.

It is such a nice bonding time when your children are interested in things you have knowledge about and they seek out your advice.   We will be heading to NC to help fence their yard and discuss garden ideas and canning.   It is going to be so much fun.  I am also looking forward to cooking for my daughter and my daughter-in-law, Brooke.  They think I am a great cook which encourages me to cook a lot.


Hen sitting on eggs in winter

Isn’t it amazing how chickens go broody during the cold weather?  I would think they would just want to hatch out during the spring.  Well, I have a Silkie sitting right now and another trying to be broody….I say trying because I keep stealing her eggs.

Trinidad had six eggs under her to start with but now only has four.  The good news is they are my Barred Rock eggs which is what I really want to hatch.  Now that I have a beautiful rooster, I am eager to get some babies from him.  I bought a hen with him and she is a also gorgeous.

I wanted to again tell you how friendly I have found “chicken” people to be.  This lady (and her husband) whom we got the above rooster and hen from are so nice.  They GAVE us elk meat and deer meat.  Now, I did not cook the meat but my sister-in-law cooked it and feed it to my husband.  lol  He loved it.  Not me, I didn’t even try it.

Well, I will let you know if I get some baby chicks.  I may let the other hen start sitting, too.  I have heat lamps so I can keep my mommies and babies warm.  But, just a reminder, don’t let both mommas sit in the same area because they will fight over the babies and even kill the babies.  I don’t know if that is a normal thing to happen but it happened to me with two Silkie moms.  I let my broody hen sit for about a week or so before I move the mom and her eggs to a “maternity ward” away from the other hens.





Hatching Time and Keeping the Chicks Safe

I have neglected this blog for quite awhile but with my husband retiring and having him around 24/7, I have definitely made some adjustments to my life.  That is a good thing.  My husband calls it true freedom when you retire.  He also says he use to watch the clock to get up, go to bed, get to work, get off work but now he watches the calender to see when our checks roll in.

It is so hot here now and the hens are all wanting to sit on the eggs though some of them don’t even have a rooster with them so the eggs are not fertilized.  I was having a problem with so many of them being broody that the hens couldn’t get into the nests to lay the eggs. I was finding eggs on the ground.

I did what I read to do.  I took the broody hens out of the yard and put them into another yard where there were no nests to sit on.  There is shelter and food and water but no nesting boxes.  They pace the fence line but in a few days, they seem to cool off.  It is amazing how hot the hens body feels when she is broody.  I realize it has to be hot to get the temperature right for the chick to grow in the egg.  But, every time I pick up a broody hen, it still amazes me.

I did let a Barred Rock sit on some Silkie eggs since the Barred Rock eggs were not fertile.  Only one hatched out and I let her stay with the chick until she started laying eggs again, which was five weeks.  She was eager to get out of the smaller yard back into the grassy area.

I don’t think I will let the BR hens hatch out my Silkie eggs anymore because I ended up separating mom and baby.  If a Silkie would have hatched the chick out, being a Silkie chick, at least they would have remained in the same yard together.  I felt bad separating them but the momma definitely wanted out of the smaller yard.

I decided the chick was too small to put into the yard with the other Silkies…..fearing they might pick on her/him.  I have a Silkie hen sitting on eggs in another area so I put her in there.  Silkies are such good mommas and the baby chick ran right over and tried to get under the hen for protection from me.  The hen just looked at her and ignored her basically.  But, I have a feeling that she will accept her as her own… has happened before…and they will be fine.

One time, I had two Silkie moms and their babies in one yard  and in a 24 hour period, three of the babies died.  I think the mommas killed them perhaps while fighting over them.  I guess I will never know but I NEVER put two mommas and their babies together now.

Also, I had a hen in a 4×4 area with her babies and she dug and actually buried one of her babies.  So if I need to use the 4×4 yard, I put a board down with lots of hay on it so the hen cannot dig/scratch.  The baby was so small and I think she just kicked a lot of dirt on her and she couldn’t get up and move.  She was the youngest of the chicks and the others were 3 or 4 days older and they moved a lot faster.

And then you must always keep the correct type of waterer in the baby chicks yard, too.  Do not put any water in their yard that they can drown in either.  That has also happened to me.  I had the small waterer for the baby and a container for the mom.  It never dawned on me that the baby could even get into the water.

When the chicks are very young, they just want to stay close to momma but as they get a little older they will start wandering away.  I lost another chick when one went thru the fencing and the momma couldn’t get to her.  I don’t know if the chicken hawk got it or the annoying cats that frequent my yard.

Now, I add  a very small gauge fencing around the bottom two feet of the baby chicks yard.  So there is double fencing on the bottom two feet.  You need to bring it lower than the ground.  Let it lie on the ground an inch or two.  When the hen starts scratching and digging, she often moves some of the dirt and then you end up with a place the chick can slip out.

Also, don’t forget to mark your eggs with an X (the ones you want to hatch)  if you have your broody hens with your other hens so you know which eggs to remove from under the broody hen.

I let the hen sit in the regular nest with the other hens for a week or ten days before I move her into my “maternity yard”.    If you use an incubator, you know the last few days you don’t want to turn the eggs.  So, I want to move the momma and eggs before it gets to those last days when the eggs should not be disturbed.  Try not to make the momma too mad and upset her as you gently pick her up.  I usually have my husband with me and he either carries the momma or the eggs as we try to be just as careful with the momma as with the eggs.  When we put the momma into the prepared yard that has water and food, sometimes she doesn’t settle down on the eggs immediately.  But she will.  I think she likes to check out her new accommodations.

My grand daughter is coming to visit without her parents and I am hoping more of the eggs will hatch so Maddy can enjoy the babies.  After all, who doesn’t love babies?  Even if they are chickens.






Guinea chicks (keats) hatching

My little buff hen has patiently sat on the Guinea eggs for close to 30 days and four keats hatched out yesterday.  They all looked fine when I brought them inside and put them under the heat lamp though two were rather sluggish.  I assumed they were just hatched out and were tired and sleepy like the baby chickens I am use to raising.

I went back an hour or so to check the temperature and they were fine but after four hours or so, two were dead.  I was so sad.  Their perfectly formed bodies just lying there limp.  It was a mystery to me why they died.

Now, when I brought them in and put them on the towel in the bottom of the box, I did notice maybe five or six ants had been on them.  I am wondering if they could have bitten them enough to put poison in their systems.  I know when ants bite me, a get a nasty pimple with white pus.  If I get too many bites at one time, I actually feel sick and run a low grade fever.   My body is a whole lot larger than a chick’s so I can only imagine how bad a baby chick could feel with multiple bites.

As soon as it is daylight, I am going out there to check on the eggs and bring the keats inside if any are hatched.  Maybe I can get them before the ants start moving around.  With chicken feeders filled with food, it is difficult to keep the ants away from the chicken yards.  You would think the chickens would eat the ants.  I guess when the egg hatches and there is material left in the egg shell, it attracts the ants to the nest where the momma hen is sitting on the chicks.  With four hatching at one time, it could be difficult for the momma to dispose of the egg shells.  Sometimes, part of the egg shell is eaten or missing before I realize a chick is hatched out.

Well, I am thinking about getting outside and working on getting my chicken houses ready for cold weather but that is another post so I will end this one now and start that one.