We decided to try a new adventure this week. :) My ex-mother-in-law had gotten a rooster a few weeks ago and put him in with my three hens that she was keeping for us. For the last week she had them, she’d been keeping the fertilized eggs for us. When we brought the girls home, we also brought the eggs.
This is where things got interesting. We did some research online and came up with the idea of using a Styrofoam cooler, lamp, some wire and a bowl of water. We picked up a thermometer/hygrometer combo from the local Menards to make sure we could get everything set up and maintain the correct temp and humidity. After we got everything all set up and situated, we moved the incubator inside next to our brooder where our current five chicks have been residing. Put the lid on, left it sit overnight.
We had 13 eggs total to try this experiment with. First day, the temp spiked and humidity dropped. Second day, temp bottomed and humidity spiked. Days 3, 4 and 5 were more of the same. At day 5, I candled the eggs … No progress at all. I checked them again last night, hoping that we had gotten at least one. We’d finally managed to get the temp and humidity to stay mostly stable. But it was too late. All of them had failed to thrive.
Wednesday, we went to get dog food and wound up at the local Rural King ... Who still had chicks!!! Anyone who owns chickens knows that you just can't pass up babies. And these were just a few days old. The last batch that we had gotten were at least a week or two old. They were just too cute to pass up. So we got six new chicks: two Barred Rocks and four Arucaunas.
Of the original three hens that we had, we lost one (my favorite, Lucy) to a predator on Mother’s Day. We have lost two of the first six chicks we got this year to predators and another to it wandering off in the rain. :( We went from having three to having nine to having five, and now we’re at 11. Hopefully all of the remaining 11 will survive at least until next spring, but preferably for a few years. If I lose any more girls, I hope it’s to old age.
After exploring our own version of Chicken Math, I would like to share with you a short piece that I read today, written by Morghan Rogers, originally posted on The Chicken Chick:
Ode on Chicken Math
If and when you get a hen, make sure in time she gets a friend.
That friend will bring a friend or three and you could have some roos for free!
With roosters comes the rooster dance ... a shuffle, a wing, it's a grand romance.
And romanced hens make lots of babies, and babies get you baby crazy.
So now you’re in the baby trance, all this fuss from a rooster dance.
They all need food so you’re off to the farm store later (we know what that means)
As a chicken keeper you should always say ‘no’ to the incubator!
See the entire The Chicken Chick blog post HERE.
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