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Chicken Math

| 5/15/2014 3:26:00 PM

Traci N SmithWe 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.

Our 6 new baby chicks on their first car ride!

2/1/2015 6:09:18 PM

We have yet to eat any of ours yet, Julie. But from what I've read, it depends on how you want to cook them. Here are a couple links I found that may be helpful!

2/1/2015 1:41:39 PM

Hi again...found a blog on here all about introducing new chicks to the flock... so just a question of how old is too old to enjoy a decent chix dinner. Thanks!

2/1/2015 1:29:03 PM

Hi all, I have a question re: chicken math. I have 6 Rhode Island Reds entering their second laying season. They are meat/egg hens. I'm thinking of rotating in a new flock of chicks to be ready for laying when the older girls slow down and need to be culled. My question is 1) Guidance on including the new chicks into the flock so they aren't bullied/killed by the older girls and 2) how old is too old for a decent chicken dinner? Feed corn prior to fatten up? Other guidance. Thanks everyone...

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