The Lazy Farmer – Incubating

So one evening a friend text me to say a co-worker was lending her an incubator. Hmm I thought, this sounds interesting, I’ve always wondered what Normans x Parsley, Rosemary or Thymes babies would look like. If you’ve forgotten, here is the stunning man himself with his ladies:

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So she agreed to let me borrow it first and so it began. We set up the ‘Little Giant Still Air incubator’ but we are only getting 1-2 Eggs per day from Normans ladies so I had to keep putting them in daily, and then to be honest, I didn’t date them, so I had no idea when they would hatch… and if I am really honest, they say to turn the eggs 3-5 times per day, I forgot to do that sometimes too. I talked myself in to the fact if this worked out then I would just buy an egg turner. I am not even home enough to be able to turn the eggs that often! However to our surprise 20 days later I was turning the eggs (which I shouldn’t have been doing for the last 3 days apparently) and something peeped at me, it actually freaked me out me initially! It was a loud peep! I called Laurence in and sure enough there was this egg, peeping at me!

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A little over 12 hours after that first peep, I came home to find one little chick running about the incubator and one hatching, which thankfully I managed to live feed and you will find on our page if you are interested – https://www.facebook.com/Downeymillfarm/

So welcome to the world Uno and Duo –

A few days after that, Meechie entered the world –

And so it goes on, I still have about 25 eggs I am waiting on so I wont bore you with every hatching! Upon saying that, I am typing this whilst sat next to the incubator as chick number 8 is on it’s way out. However I have no idea how long she is going to take so I don’t want to live feed just yet. But I hope not much longer as I have many chores to complete today before Laurence’s parents come to visit and I hear its going to be 37 degrees today, so I would prefer to get them done earlier than later. But I just know the moment I step away she’s going to hatch so this is killing me! Anyhoo, I best talk about how to hatch chicks for any people out there considering doing this themselves.

Firstly costs:

Incubator – $40-$200 (we used a $40 one!)
Electricity bill – Honestly no idea

And thats about all involved at this stage. After you put your eggs in you should be turning them 3 times a day. By putting the date on them you can alternate date side up and date side down. After 7 days you can ‘candle’ your eggs. This essentially involves shining a torch through the egg to make sure you can see it is fertilised and growing well. Its starting to become more clear to me know which ones have taken and which ones haven’t I must say Normans has had 100% fertility rate so far, but some of the new chicks eggs have not been fertile. To be honest after watching Red attempt to get his end away I am not overly surprised.. lol

at 18 days you should stop turning the eggs allowing the chicks to find their place to settle ready to ‘break out’ again I learnt the hard way with one egg who had pipped, but then I turned his egg round which essentially confused him and he didn’t make it. By around 19-21 days your chicks should start hatching. I must stress DO NOT HELP THEM from everything I read it seems by cracking the eggs or pulling bits off you could break the  umbilical cord or rip skin, or cut them, it’s just not worth it, they know what they are doing, leave them alone. Then after 24 hours of hatching you can remove them, I say this because they are wet when they come out and it takes a good 12-24 hours for them to ‘fluff up’ also a chick can survive for 3 days after hatching with no food or water so do not put anything in there, they will be fine. When you put them in your brooder (for these little ones we just used a plastic box, brood lamp and newspaper) offer them a small bowl of water (shallow so they don’t drown by accident) and dip their beak in there so they understand thats where the water is. Then a bit later on you can offer them some chick feed, we use medicated crumble here, but whatever you choose should be fine. we sprinkle a little crumble on the floor to encourage them to peck and explore and before you know it they are off! then we add the bowl of food and let them rest, they are exhausted and takes a few days to recover.

Depending on the weather you can either put them out into the coop around 4 weeks or 6 weeks, preferably when they are fully feathered. But as we are running out of space I think these will go out earlier with the heat lamp. If I am honest I don’t like the heat lamp because they never get a sense of night and day. We are lucky at the moment the weather and the garage are so hot that we have not needed to use it for a few days. But if you are starting out maybe invest in a heat pad rather than the lamps. Also that helps with getting the temperature right, I am forever adjusting the lamp as I don’t want to overheat them, but then I also don’t want them to catch a chill. I think the pads are easier to set.

Anyway I will leave it there as I do really need to get on, perhaps I will leave my phone watching the hatch and add the video later!

Only 25 left to go!! ha

 

 

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