After we began raising chickens and we were getting dozens upon dozens of eggs every day, the logical next step, at least to me, was to get a little incubator to hatch our own chicks. I expressed this desire to my daughters, and they were very obliging and gave me one for Mother’s Day. It was a Little Giant Styrofoam incubator with an automatic turner that could hold up to 41 chicken eggs. I could hardly wait to get started!
I had to wait 21 whole days for chicks. Almost half of the 41 eggs I set in that batch actually hatched, but I was beyond hooked. I was addicted. I immediately set more eggs, then more and more again. I realized then I needed another incubator and since I was comfortable with the incubator I had that’s what I bought again. I was hatching more chicks than I could comfortably handle here at our farm so that’s when I started selling the chicks I hatched because I obviously couldn’t just stop hatching. It’s so exciting to see new chicks pip and zip their way out of their shells.
We hatch a barnyard mix so we never really know what color or variation of colors we’ll get, which just adds to the all-around excitement of hatching. We were up to 80 or more chicks hatching every month. They sell very well surprisingly enough over the fall and winter months.
In the spring, I keep most of what we hatch to replenish our flock. There are many people in our community I have sold eggs and/or chicks to, and a lovely woman contacted me asking if I’d like to have an incubator that had spent the previous winter in her shed, but she had no use for. Yes! The only question I had was, “When can I come get it?”
After we brought it home, I fired that baby up immediately. We got it up to the right temperature and it held the right temp for five days, so we started up a test hatch. Why put in anything less than full capacity too, right? I am elated to report that our test batch is hatching as we speak! Instead of hatching a measly 80 eggs per month, we are now able to hatch more than 120. I couldn’t be happier. I will admit it. I am a complete hatchaholic and I am proud.
Read this editor’s letter about her new chickens and their lively personalities.
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