New Chicken Project

Discussion in 'Livestock' started by UncleJoe, May 1, 2011.

  1. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

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    We are down to 6 laying hens due to last summers predator problem. Not 1 of them is the least bit interested in sitting on eggs to bring the population back up. Soooo...
    We picked up a small styrofoam incubator at an auction last year for next to nothing. I collected eggs last week and on Friday I put 14 eggs in. Hopefully we will be seeing some new peeps around May 20th.
    Just in case it doesn't work out as well as i would like, I found someone on craigslist that was selling 2 week old, straight run, New Hampshire Reds for a buck a piece so I got 10. The first pic is the bator and the others are the brooder I made with a tote. They are so cute but with my luck I'll end up with 13 roosters and 1 hen. :rolleyes:
     

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  2. worldengineer

    worldengineer Well-Known Member

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    I like that incubator. I think I could afford one like that!

    Don't feel bad, I have luck like that all the time. Less luck more of a daily routine.
     

  3. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    I've got that incubator and they do work great! Just make sure that you take out the red plug on top so that the eggs get fresh air and that the reservoirs in the bottom have water in them at all times to keep the humidity up. And once you take out the red plug don't forget to adjust the heat again(I didn't once and it took about 2 days longer for them to hatch.
    Did it come with the egg turner or are you turning the eggs by hand?
    Funny chicken story to follow!
    I have been having raccoon problems lately and I lost two hens last Monday(or really Tuesday morning I should say) one got left without a face and I had to put her out of her misery and the other was just gone.. Helping hubby figure out how to fix a new sturdier door(the raccoon actually broke the darn thing off!) I got too close to hubby and got an elbow in the throat/neck when he turned around to ask me something! Then when we were putting up the wooden "guides" for the new slide down door I was pushing the wood in place with my foot (cuz I can push harder against the block with my foot) and the big screw came all through all the way and into my shoe! :gaah: that darn screw was so long I could feel it going right between my toes! But after all the laughing and finger pointing we got it done! and that darn raccoon can't get in now!
    But the good thing is my little neighbor boy came to the door today and asked if I had lost any chickens? Cuz there was a big rooster in the bushes by his house for the last few days... So hubs and I went over and sure enuf there was my missing gal! A brown leghorn (they have big combs almost like the males), it sure took some doing getting her to come out of the bushes and when she did she ran to the big blue spruce, It took my hubby, the neighbor boy, his friend the little neighbor girl(both about 7 or 8 years old) and her big brother and myself about 1/2 hour of comical running around to catch the little stinker! But I finally climbed half in the darn tree(I am covered by scratches) and got her by the leg.. Got her in the pen with the others and she ran in and got something to drink and eat... .
    Ahhh the joys of chicken farming!:D I think I am going :nuts:.
     
  4. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

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    Turning by hand. I took a pencil and marked each one with an X on one side and an O on the other.

    I took this when I turned them this morning.
     

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  5. Ezmerelda

    Ezmerelda Well-Known Member

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    I have a chicken question:

    Is it ever too late to start? For some reason I have in my head that you have to get your chicks in the Spring, but I'm still pulling together the materials to build a chicken tractor, and it might be mid-summer before I finally get it all together.

    Will that be too late?
     
  6. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    I have read that many folks have better luck with meat chickens if they get the chicks in the summer when it is warm, as you don't have to worry too much about how to keep them warm and by the time they get big it is cooling off so that they don't die of heart attacks or broken legs.
    Most folks want layers in the spring so that they get a good amount of eggs before deep winter. If you don't put in a light on a timer and feed them a higher protein diet they do slow down and not lay as many eggs. I add extra whole corn to their diet in the winter so that they get a bit of fat on them.
    But if you feed them too much corn/scratch grains in the summer and they get too fat they stop laying eggs too..
    They get one scoop per day in the spring/summer and in fall they get one scoop thrown out to them and one scoop mixed into the their feed.
    Many folks say that chickens can't digest whole corn but I read in Backyard Chickens that a fella watched his chickens and their poo and no undigested corn was found and I do think my chickens lay better eggs in the winter with the whole corn and it is cheaper than the scratch..
    Darn I still tend to run on and on about some subjects!:eek:
     
  7. *Andi

    *Andi Supporting Member

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    You can order chicks up to (around) Sept.

    UncleJoe - :congrat: Congrats on the new chicks.
     
  8. Ezmerelda

    Ezmerelda Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, Emerald and *Andi for your answers.

    Based on your answers, I have plenty of time, with "hard winter" not starting until mid-November (usually), if I start in June, I'll still have four months of good laying before they slow down.

    :thumbraise:
     
  9. BillM

    BillM BillM

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    I'm

    I'm still getting my Chicken from Col Sanders ! :confused:
     
  10. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    Hum.. Are you buying fully grown pullets? It takes chicks about 18 weeks at the earliest to get big enuf to lay eggs. But most start laying after 4 to 5 months old and usually around 6 months old.
     
  11. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    If you find that they are rolling on ya I took the bottle caps off from 2-liter soda bottles and set each egg on one till they hit day 18 when you stop turning them. Then I was afraid that the chicks might hurt them selves on the bottle caps and took them out.
    Don't forget to take that red plug out as I saw that you had tape over the other air hole... the eggs do need air while in there or they will die off on ya. I lost 18 eggs that way. And if the water goes dry the eggs die off too. They need that humidity...
    I have had a few times of bad luck with eggs till a friend who raises animals of all sorts(and I mean all sorts-even ostrich and camels) asked all the same questions I am asking now!;) I then went and borrowed the Storey guide to chickens book from the library and it sure helped! I still haven't gotten the best luck with the incubator but have wonderful luck letting one or two of the gals hatch their own in the big brooder pen out back.
     
  12. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

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    The directions said to cover the holes with tape if the plugs ever get lost and then remove it for the last 3 days. I do open it every morning to turn them and there are 4 very small holes in the lid to allow some air flow. Are you suggesting that there is not enough air getting in? I'd really like to see this project succeed since none of the girls are sitting.
     
  13. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    I usually have one of the holes uncovered the whole time and then both at the end. But I forgot that you are taking the cover off to turn them everyday.
    And I am only passing along what my friend told me-said that eggs have a permeable shell for a reason, for hatching you want good air circulation and for preserving them for eating quality you don't!:D
    He also said that the little incubator like mine is ok but his big one has a fan to move the air. But then again his can do over 100 eggs at a time! and has a beeper if the temp and humidity waver away from what they should be.
     
  14. Ezmerelda

    Ezmerelda Well-Known Member

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    I had planned on it, but now I'm thinking I'd rather start with chicks, so I can make sure they are used to being handled. If I buy them full grown, who knows what kind of temperament they'll have.

    :dunno: I think I would be willing to do without super-duper egg production over the winter in exchange for chickens who aren't afraid of us. Also, I think it would be easier to train the dog to respect the chickens when they're smaller, and if they are introduced to him young, they won't be afraid of him, either.

    I know, I know, many people believe that you can't train a dog to not harm the chickens, but I've seen it done and I think I can do it too. After all, I trained him not to chase the cat...
     
  15. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    You can train dogs and cats not to bother chickens... My neighbor got his dog a few years after I started raising chickens and he is a bird hunting pointer of some odd type and he is scared to death of my chickens... My tiny banty hen had three chicks one year and they got thru the fence and she went over the fence after them.. Sure nuf big old doofus chet (still a puppy)decided to sniff them and my banty almost gave that dog the beating of his life.. My cats never did like the chicks... maybe they knew that since I raised them in the house for the first few weeks and treated them like my little babies that they are not for playing with.
    And if you handle your chickens and love them while little they will be much tamer. the only ones that are not tame for me are the fancy breeds that I got with my rainbow layer mix... Those things are skitzy. And they can fly! I have to trim their flight feathers every year.
    But watch out for the raccoons! They ripped the door righ toff my coop a week or so ago.. Thought I lost two chickens but the little neighbor boy found one of them in the bushes near his house last Sunday! She finally started laying eggs again today.
     
  16. Clarice

    Clarice Well-Known Member

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    Emerald you sound like me. I do love my chickens though.
     
  17. Jason

    Jason I am a little teapot

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    We had our chicken tractor tucked under a shed roof for winter with our 6 layers in it. We lost a couple early this spring and maybe a month ago when I went to let the chickens out for the day it was a bloodbath in the cage. Feathers and blood everywhere and one chicken carcass was literally totally skinned and turned almost inside out. We set up the deer cam and some traps and nailed a possum but I'm not totally convinced it was the main predator. Whatever it was killed the one hen and totally made off with another one with no trace. We do have coyotes around, as well as racoons and smaller animals like that but I'd be hard pressed to believe that a coyote would fit into the chicken tractor to do what was done.

    We'd started 6 more layer peeps this spring to enlarge the flock but now we're basically without fresh eggs for the summer and when the new girls come of age we'll just be back where we started. Such is farm life, and it's another lesson that anything can, and usually will, happen.
     
  18. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    @Jason-raccoons are a nightmare to a chicken farmer! They are nasty little monsters that can rip open doors and kill chickens for sport and then only eat a little.. weasels can be just as bad.
    @UncleJoe-Just looking for an update-have you done any candling yet to see if any didn't take?
     
  19. Jason

    Jason I am a little teapot

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    Yeah they are. Still only caught that one possum but we're watching.
     
  20. Ezmerelda

    Ezmerelda Well-Known Member

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    Due to the rising costs of everything else (chicks are still cheep cheep here :D), I'm going to have to wait until next year to get my poultry started.

    I'll just buy the bits to the coop/tractor as I can, and by next Spring, look out! Chicken "farming" here I come! :crossfinger: