11 January 2016

Chicks hatched

After waiting most the morning for the last two eggs that showed signs of life, I finally admitted there was no more forward progress and "whistled the ball dead," as the football expression fits.  Overall, a decent hatch rate!  I am satisfied with the results.
25 of 30 chicks hatched and healthy
I have a total of 25 new chickens from inside in the incubator, and I am pretty certain there are four hen-hatched Silkies outside.  I tried toe punching for the first time, using the more expensive nail clipper style punch, and that was a mixed success.  I'll need to check the Wyandottes again in a few days, and I could not get the web between the toes on the Silkies yet due to small size.  I'd like to have the Silkies toe punched so I can compare which cockerel throws the largest offspring.

It was a bit of a trick getting the chicks under the setting Silkies, as I had to shield the chicks with my hands to keep them from being pecked.  This is even after I took away unhatched eggs and golf balls as well.  I actually managed to get all 25 from inside underneath Silkies.  Getting them back ... now that is a whole 'nuther ball game!  LOL

So of the five (plus two outside) that didn't hatch, two died trying, three died before pipping for whatever reason, and the two outside never developed.  I have read some chicken breeders will actually reduce the amount of calcium supplement (oyster shell usually) before breeding season so the egg shells are not as hard as normal.  I did not do this, nor do I intend to ever do it.  I want the chicks strong enough to kick out of a regular strength egg shell here.  Oh, my "regular strength" egg shell is a lot thicker and harder than what you'll find at the store.  It is the first big test.

Freeze warning now issued for tonight - my poor garden beds.

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