Monthly Archives: July 2011

Eighteen days and counting

My eggs are in incubator #1 and it is now the l8th day so it is time to move them into the hatching incubator #2.   I have cleaned #2 incubator, the temperature is set at 99.5 or thereabouts and I have added water to the wells.  Just need to add the eggs dated “10” on them.

I candled the eggs after a week and took out any eggs that were not developing.   So, I am really hoping that all of the eggs hatch.   The humidity level has been a problem for me in the past.   It should be around 50 when they are in the first incubator and then 60 or so when they go into the second incubator (the last three days).

You don’t have to have two incubators.  I just have two because I am putting eggs in at different dates.  As the 18th day arrives for each egg, I transfer it to the second incubator.   This batch of eggs has Americuana, Barred Rock and Silkie eggs.

This will be my last batch of eggs for quite awhile.  I love the chicks but reality is, I have way too many chickens.  I really need to sell some and get the yards manageable for when we travel and I have a friend house/animal sit for me.   Right now, I have chickens separated into twelve different yards so it is a lot of work to go in and out of each yard filling waters, putting out feed and collecting eggs.

I will add more to this post when the eggs start hatching.  Wish me luck.

August 2 update:  So far my hatch rate is horrible and I think it is because my hygrometer isn’t working.  I think I had too much humidity and the chicks will actually drown or so I was told.   I believe I have gotten 4 chicks from this hatch but I have a four more eggs in the incubator.  I took the time to candle them this time and threw probably 6 or 8 away after a week because they were not fertile.  I am thinking my one rooster cannot take care of 11 hens in one yard.  Then in the Silkie yard, I don’t think the roosters are fertilizing the eggs yet,  since they are young.

Oh well, I have plenty of chickens, I think I have 115 and I have two hens sitting on 7 eggs.  That’s a gracious plenty.  It is now time to look them over and decide who I want to keep for future momma and pappas.

Time to Sell Chickens

Now comes the hard part.  Time to slim down my chicken yard.

I have a couple options when it comes to selling my chickens.  One is advertise on Craigslist which has always been successful for me.  Sometimes, I check everyday to see if anyone is looking for what I have to sell and that has worked for me a number of times.  I recently sold some fertilized eggs and a couple of white Silkie hens from the wanted section of farm and garden.

There is a Swap Meet at a local feed store on the last Sunday of each month.  We only went there once when we bought our first Silkies.  I may take a few chicks/chickens there this weekend.

There is also the local flea market where you can sell your chickens.  I personally try to avoid the flea market when I purchase chickens because most of the ones I have seen look old.  I prefer to look at the yard where I purchase chickens so I can see they were raised in a clean, healthy environment.  But still, it is an option.

I have actually had a few people stop by that have purchased chickens from me.  Repeat business is always nice.  Sometimes I don’t have what they want at the time though, especially if they want 10 hens of a certain age.

I have been using the same rooster, Kellogg, for my Americuanas for a couple years now and I have a few of his sons that could replace him but I am thinking I need to trade one of my roosters for another Americuana just to get some fresh blood in the mix.  I don’t know if it even matters with chickens but it just seems to make sense that a new rooster could improve the flock.

I love taking care of the chickens but I must admit, the feed bill is getting high and cleaning all those water containers is a back breaking job.   I think I have 20 water containers right now.

The good part about selling chickens is putting some money in your pocket.   I can’t really say I am in a profit making business because it is more of a hobby.   I  did sell some chickens recently and made 70 dollars not counting the eggs I sold.  I really think I could make it break even if I put my mind to it.

Leah, a fellow chicken raiser, certainly seems to have a nice business going for her.  She has three incubators and keeps two of them full of fertilized eggs and the third one is the hatching incubator.  She sells day-old chicks for $3 to $7 days as  straight run (sex not determined).  She has some beautiful chickens.  She advertises on Craigslist and that is how I met her.  I think I have bought from her at least three times.  I am wanting to get some of the Copper Marans from her.  They lay the dark chocolate colored eggs.  I will need another yard for them so that may have to wait until next year (putting up fence and building another house).

I have promised myself this fall will be the year I actually prepare the soil for my long awaited vegetable garden.  A garden will help with feed costs for the chickens, too.  I am thinking of planting corn for the chickens and of course, they will get all the extra vegetables (especially if too many grow at one time) after I share with my relatives.

I received  my Mother Earth News this past week and they have an article on being self-sufficient on one acre of land.  Well, I have two so that makes it even better.   By the way, if you have never read or looked at a Mother Earth News, go online and look at the articles they print.  Good stuff.

I am not one to be a doom and gloom kind of person but reality is….our economy sucks right now so anything you can do to provide for your family is going to help.  I stock up when I can on sale items that have a long shelf life.  We all need to stretch those dollars.   I guess if times got really hard, I could eat my chickens.  I hope that never happens for many reasons.

I hope you find a hobby that makes you feel at peace with the world or at least relaxes you.   I have found my little piece (PEACE) of heaven.

Chicks everywhere

My Barred Rock has been sitting on 7 eggs and yesterday she hatched out two and today one.  It is so exciting to see what color they are and see them running to hide under momma hen.  They are Silkies and gosh, they are so small.

I have four other hens that are broody, too.  I just keep taking them off the eggs/nests and throwing them out into the chicken yard.  I had to cage one of them.  If you do that for a couple days, the hen will give up on sitting on eggs.  I need four cages.  lol

All three of these chicks look like they are mixed Silkie.  In other words, multiple colors on the body.  I really like it when they look different so I can tell them apart.  As I said, I name them then and there is no leaving the yard after that is done.

I now have 96 chickens but the majority of them are under 6 months.  My incubator is full also.  I love the chicks so I will probably just enjoy the babies and then sell them as they get about 6 months old.  You get more money for them…15 bucks or so and you get the joy of seeing them grow.   You also get a chance to see if any of them are going to be some great color you want to keep in your flock.

Time for bed…go to bed with the chickens and get up with them…or at least on their time schedule.  My husband is retiring in a few months and we will be doing some serious sleeping-in.  He has worked for 40 years getting up at 5am during the week.  Time to relax and enjoy our life together.  Of course, I have lots of chicken projects for him when he retires.

Definition of “Lock down”

This is in reference to the incubator.  The last three days of the 21 days it takes to hatch a chicken egg is lock down time.  The eggs will no longer be turned and it is best to not open the incubator.  NOTE:  I do open the incubator to put more eggs in (using a two incubator system) and also if the humidity makes it necessary for me to add water.  I just do it quickly.