Plotting a hatch

The first hatch of 2013 is over!

Since these chickies will be some of our foundation breeding stock, we’re keeping even more records than usual. It’s also only our 2nd time hatching our own, and being able to look back at what worked (or didn’t) will be helpful as we work on test matings with our various roos & hens.

This little chickie was the first one out.
This little chickie was the first one out.

We started with 13 Ameraucana eggs, shipped from Alabama; 11 Blue/Black/Splash Copper Marans eggs shipped from Garry Farms in Georgia; and 24 eggs from our own flock. The ones crossed with Chewy weren’t fertile, so he must not have liked those hens. The eggs crossed with Sasquatch were viable though, even the tiny olive egg.

Hours-old Ameraucana chick, getting transferred to the baby coop.
Hours-old Ameraucana chick, getting transferred to the baby coop.

By lockdown (the final 3 days of incubation with much higher humidity) we had 10 Ameraucana, 9 Marans, and 16 homegrown eggs. The ones we removed didn’t finish developing, for a variety of reasons, and they might explode if left in the incubator. We ended up with 8 Ameraucana chicks, 6 Marans, and 8 homegrown. Two babies had serious issues and had to be culled.

Three cute and fluffy chicklets.
Three cute and fluffy chicklets.

As these babies grow up and get their adult feathering and conformation, we’ll keep track so we can sell the ones we don’t want for our breeding program, and plot future hatches based on their genetic potential. We’re also getting ready to revamp the hen house so we can track each hen’s egg laying, plus establish breeding pens to match the right roo with the right hens. Another upcoming project is building a cabinet hatcher.

Homemade cabinet incubator/hatcher from Backyard Chickens.
Homemade cabinet incubator/hatcher from Backyard Chickens.

Having one environment for incubating, and another one for hatching allows better control of temperature and humidity at those stages. It would also mean more elbow room to make hatching cages so we can keep track of babies from different test matings. As we fine tune the flock, we’ll want to do more frequent hatches of fewer eggs, instead of fewer hatches of lots of eggs. Being able to pop them into a spacious hatching basket to finish ‘cooking’ would be very handy. We’ll be on the lookout this summer for a suitable cabinet to convert.

~~~~~~~~~

We also brought home Percy this weekend, a 16-17 yr old female Quaker parrot. Her birdy friend died recently, and her person is having health problems, and asked Lynden Vet to facilitate finding a good home. They called us, and we decided to give it a try. Percy is a real sweetie, amazing for a Quaker! So far she & Lucky have visited on their cage tops and did a little flirting. We’re going slow and watching them closely.

Lucky and Percy getting acquainted.
Lucky and Percy getting acquainted.
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