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Showing posts from February, 2015

Candled Eggs Again

Woke up at 5am this morning to candle all the eggs for the 2nd hatch in the incubator; removed 4 as they were definitely clear or were too cold when I set them. But, amazingly besides 7 iffy eggs, it looks like around 44 are developing veins! A little early to be candling some, but saw veins nonetheless! So cool when you can actually see them, as later on it’s just a dark “blob”. I was pleasantly surprised to see that most of the eggs that I’d marked “very cold” or “cold” were actually veining, as I half expected them not to even start. Hardy little embryos, but only time will tell if they have everything needed to actually hatch. I’m not sure about the 1st hatch eggs, though, they don’t seem to be losing any extra moisture, and some of them haven’t finished “filling up” the egg. Granted, they have until Monday, and they may be a day or two late due to the incubator being cool the first few days. But, I’m not convinced that they’ll hatch. I hope at least some of them do, but I’ve jus…

Broody Hen Collection

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The last two years I've incubated eggs in the incubator and under a broody hen at the same time. Most of the time the hens have "adopted" the incubator chicks and have been one big, happy family! The photo above is of Daisy & Lydia's combined brood in the spring of 2013. She shared responsibilities, and chicks obviously knew who their "Moms" were! I still had to supply additional heat, as the hens couldn't keep all the chicks warm at the same time. But, I think it's a good trade-off for what the hens taught their brood.
Also in 2013, I ordered  "Surprise Special" pullet chicks from Ideal Hatchery, and when they arrived, I gave them to "Alix", a Black Sex Link hen. 
​ But I made the mistake that she was still sitting on eggs due to hatch within the next day or two. So, she ended up trampling most of the chicks that were just hatching. Out of all the eggs she was sitting on, only 3 chicks survived to adulthood, even though all…

1st & 2nd Hatch of 2015 Update

Monday morning (2/23), I candled again & removed all 39 clear / infertile eggs out of the original 48 eggs I'd set. The good news is the 9 embroys are developing quite nicely. So, while I'm not thrilled that all those eggs were infertile, I'm glad that at least there are few developing. 
Starting on 2/21 (adjusted date, due to setting late at night) - I've been adding new eggs to the incubator, for a 2nd "Test Hatch", now that the breeding groups have been separated. Though they may not be "pure" yet, I want to know if the roosters are at least doing their job. Since it's been cold, I didn't know if I'd have any the following day, so I set the eggs soon after they were collected and "warmed up" a little. It ended up that we had several nice days or I was able to collect some of the eggs before they got too cold. As a result, the 2nd Test Hatch is Staggered over 4 days!  I also had to double-stack the auto-egg turner, so it…

Summary of the Last Few Days

Trying to get caught up on this blog, so here's some snipits from the last few days, some of which I wrote on BackyardChicken Forum, so just had to slightly modify it for here.
My brother & I went into town on 2/21, as I had an overflow of eggs so I sold them to the local food co-op, plus got the rest of the supplies for making the coolerbator. I wanted to get more heated water bowls, but TSC was all out except for the heated 3 gallon buckets. All four of the breeding coops have ones for their water, but I need 3 more for their fermented feed, as it just keeps freezing. So, I have to bring in the rubber dishes at night to defrost, then take them back out in the morning. Hence, they're not going through the fermented feed as fast, but since they also have dry layer mash, they're going through that faster than normal. By 1pm when we came back yesterday, they snow was coming down & blowing all around.  So even though I'd let the chickens out in the morning, they …

1st Hatch of 2015 Update #1

Candled again yesterday, and 8 of the eggs have veins, one I'm not sure about but it's darker than the clear ones. There was one that was quite active, as I could see the embryo pulsing and moving around - so cool!
There's a few more I'll wait to remove, but yesterday, I was able to replace some of the clear eggs with freshly laid eggs that are more likely to be fertilized. I also checked some of the eggs that were more recent in the fridge, and many of them had bull's eyes. The one "good thing" about many of the first batch of eggs being infertile is that I won't need as long of a waiting period for the eggs to be "pure".
It'll be "warm" today at 34*, but I won't be home during the time they're laying. Hopefully there's be a few more from today that I can set. Only have a few days left, then I can't add any more, so the incubator will by empty by 3/14 for the Easter HAL.

E-mail response

When someone recently sent me an e-mail & asked what type of birds l have, and thought they were expensive for straight-run chicks. This is what I originally wrote, but then shortened it for their sake. But, I'm sharing the long version with you all:
 I'm breeding the "Catskill Homesteader" to be a dual-purpose flock with the additional qualities of being very cold hardy, extremely colorful feathers on both hens & roosters, plus laying a wide range of colorful eggs. I love how the Landrace "breeds" of chickens, the Swedish Flower Hens and Icelandics, are "a box of chocolates", and you never know what the chicks or adults look like until they hatch & have grown up. While those two Landraces have some wonderful qualities, I'm breeding for larger sized hens & roosters, a more colorful array of eggs, and small combs that don't have the tendency to get frostbite in the winter. Currently, the parent stock have both regular singl…

1st Test Hatch of 2015

I set a batch of eggs 2/13 early in the morning. They're a "test hatch" from my Catskill Homesteader breeding project. It's the first time I've incubated eggs this early in the year, usually I wait until it's warmer.  Thankfully, we had a few days in the upper 20's and low 30's. But, it's back down to below zero at night and single digit highs, so no eggs laid during these next few days would be able to be hatched!
A few days later, I forgot that I had lowered the Genesis 1588's thermostat last hatch, so I had to reset it to 99.5*. Since the room it's in isn't that warm (mid 60's), I have the incubator covered with towels to help hold in the heat. Waiting is the hardest part, but I'm in the process of building a "coolerbater" for hatching the eggs. ...
I couldn't wait any longer & candled Friday (2/20) morning. I lost count of how many were clear. Out of 48 eggs set, there's only about 7 that are veining,…

What I'd Like to Do in 2015

Here's what I wrote to a friend when she asked how everything was going with the hobby farm, and what my plans were for hatching chicks, etc. Be warned - it's a "book"!
I'd like to hatch chicks for BackYardChicken's 6th Annual Easter Hatch-A-Long, which sets eggs March 14th. I don't have a set number right now, except that I usually operate a full incubator, which holds 42 eggs; though last year one of the hatched, I added a "few" extra to allow for non-fertile, quitters, etc. Like last year, I plan on doing several consecutive hatches, and if I get orders, then I will increase accordingly. That's the reason why I'm starting the website, to get "pre-orders" and so I know how many people are interested in, so I know how many hatches to have. Part of what I'm planning to do is build a hatch-er out of an old cooler, so that I can move the eggs on day 18 of incubation out of the incubator, so I can set more! (Hatching requires…