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I've relented, we're going to try hatching!

(3 Posts)
Titsalinabumsquash Sun 27-Mar-16 22:24:17

I promised my children if they put the effort in looking after the hens I would let them (us) have 1 go at hatching out some eggs.
2 years on and the buggers are still happily mucking out/feeding/watering the ladies so I have relented and we have our incubator all ready to go and I'm collecting the fertile Bantam eggs on Wednesday.

I'll try to rehome any boys and if I can't I guess they'll be fattened up for the table (if I can find someone to dispatch and dress them) or given away for reptile/zoo food. (I hate the thought but it's what's got to be done.)

So, does anyone have any tips or hints?

I have been scouring every poultry forum everywhere but I thought I'd ask Mumsnet too, I know we have some chicken keepers here. smile

Saz12 Fri 29-Apr-16 23:53:33

Don't count till they're hatched .... OK, sorry.
Turn the eggs - mark one side (IN PENCIL) with an "x" and one with an "o" and turn around the blunt end (air space).
Candle them, and shake to hear the contents if in doubt - better to dispose of any dubious eggs before they explode in the incubator. If in doubt, put dodgy ones in an egg box in the incubator - that way and explosions (of rotten, infertile/dead eggs) are at least contained!
When they hatch -leave them in incubator until fluffy. make sure the base of the incubator is "non slip" - otherwise their legs tend to go wonky (if that happens, act quickly to splint the legs together with sticking plasters and all can still be well).
DONT get too attached to them until Day 3 - that's when they start eating and digesting food for themselves, and are likely to be viable.
If you're keeping them indoors, they will go from LOVELY to STINKING POOPING MACHINES at about 3 or 4 weeks old, regardless of how good you are about cleaning them out.
They can fly much more proficiently when young than when mature.

foresttrees2 Fri 20-May-16 18:05:11

Did you hatch any? We hatched some last year, but got our broody hen to do all the work. It was really fun playing with the chicks but I think they would have been a bit tamer if they were hand reared. However the mother hen did an amazing job. If you haven't hatched yet, the only tip I have is to research the breed as some are noisier/friendlier/better layers etc.

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