The springtime is one of the most exciting times in the chicken keeping experience. It’s all about new life! Our hens start laying again after their long winter break, baby chicks are popping up at feed stores, and in many homes you can hear the whirr of running incubators.
This post covers everything you need to know about hatching and raising healthy chicks. Topics include; keeping roosters for breeding, collecting hatching eggs, choosing an incubator, the advantages of a broody hen, hatching day and troubleshooting, brooding chicks and introducing those chicks to an existing flock.
Choosing Birds to Breed
These posts help you decide which birds to breed in your flock. It explains mating, how long a hen lays fertile eggs, how long she needs to be separated to get clean lines and how to set up breeding pens.
To hatch chicks you need to involve a rooster at some point. Learn all about the specific needs of the male of the chicken species. Roosters are magnificent. It’s a shame that so many cities have ordinances against them because for me they encapsulate the very essence of chicken nostalgia. Most of the time our roosters become our favorite chickens. They have such personalities and are usually the more elaborately colored of the breed. Learn all about them!
A broody hen is one of the best ways to raise chicks. “Mother knows best” and this goes for the chicken world as well. Learn about what it means for a hen to go broody, how to encourage this behavior if you want to hatch chicks and how to discourage the broody bug if you don’t want to hatch chicks. Read about the fascinating relationship between a mother hen and her chicks.
Broody Hen Success!
If a broody hen isn’t a possibility for you to hatch out chicks, then an incubator is the next best thing. Learn how to use an incubator, how to care for your incubator to keep it working in good order for years to come, learn about different styles of incubators, and what an egg needs to hatch into a chick.
Candleing is an amazing and unique experience which allows you to see into the embryonic world with simple equipment. Learn how to candle an egg, what you’re seeing and how to determine if an egg is fertile and progressing.
Learn all about hatching. How to regulate your incubator, how long to keep chicks in an incubator after they’ve hatched, what do new born chicks need and some trouble shooting advice for difficult hatches.
After the chicks hatch you get to play mother hen. Learn how to set up a brooder and what are the requirements for raising healthy, happy chicks.
After your chicks have feathered out and the spring weather has warmed up, learn the best way to introduce your “teenage” chicks into an existing flock. Learn how to ease the process of pecking order, and how to make the transition easier.