Oh where to begin!
Since my last post on the dismal hatch of seven chicks out of three dozen eggs, and purchase of new incubator, things have not gone as smoothly as I had anticipated. The next batch was very encouraging with 16 chicks out of the thirty-two that went into the incubator. However that was still only around 50% and while a vast improvement not nearly the percentage that I was hoping for. Neither was it enough chickens for just Trista and I’s needs for the winter. I am renovating a shed into a bigger chicken house so in order to help keep it warm this winter I need some extra bodies. Trista is ready to cull a few of her chickens and also needs bodies for the winter. So, the “bator” got loaded once again and the wait began. I somehow became busy with life, (no idea how THAT happened) and neglected to candle at week one. Assuming things were progressing smoothly, lockdown came along and I thought I should check and see if there were any duds in this batch.
THEY WERE ALL EMPTY!!!!!!!!
This is in the new incubator, with near perfect temperature and humidity.
WHAT ELSE COULD HAVE POSSIBLY HAVE GONE WRONG???????
Well as the process of elimination moved further up the line of possibility, we come to roosters. I have been doing a bit of reading on what can go wrong in the fertility world and there are many variables.
Has there been any illness in the rooster or the hens past.
How many hens does your rooster have to cover? Does he have to many?
Are the chickens nutritional needs being met?
Are your chickens back ends overly fat?
Have you trimmed the feathers around the vents of both rooster and hens? (Yes this can make all the difference.)
How have the eggs been handled prior to incubation.
The list could go on, as you can see its not just a matter of sticking a rooster in with hens. Although that had been my general impression. I have since learned a great deal and at this point I do believe I just have a “Dud” rooster! So, while he is pretty and does his job of protecting and herding the hens around really well, and leaves the humans alone (the youngest kiddo is not hell bent on killing him as he tends to be the one hunted by roosters around here on account of his short stature) the buff rooster will not be coming through the winter with us. I do hope he enjoys his last summer!
This all brings us to today, and I am so please to tell you that I acquired some hatching eggs from a friend and we had a really great hatch. I put forty in, and candled at week one. I only had to take out two eggs. (Its pretty normal to have to remove a few that have not begun to develop.) SO out of thirty-eight eggs we hatched thirty-five!!!!! THATS 92% HATCH RATE!!!!! Can you tell I was pretty tickled with the outcome of this hatch?
I have really learned a lot about all of this incubation business and am most certainly addicted. Can’t wait so see what the future will bring!