1 week old

April 8th, 2012

I have some friends close by who keep chicken in their back garden. Since cockerels make a lot of noise and would disturb the neighbours, they don’t have any. Therefore, in order to maintain their flock they buy fertilised eggs for about £2 – £3 each and hatch them in an incubator.

chick and egg

Mandel (the chicken farmer) bought a batch of eggs recently and 5 of them were successfully fertilised. The eggs need to be kept warm in an incubator for roughly 20 – 21 days in order to hatch them – you can make or buy and incubator, depending on your budget.

chicks in the incubator

The incubator temperature should be about 37.7º C  and the eggs should be rotated by 1/4 to 1/2 turn 3 times per day for 18 days – for the last couple of days they should not be turned. When the chicks are ready to hatch, they make a pip hole in the egg – it takes up to 24 hours for a chick to break open the egg and hatch. These pictures, inside the incubator, show 2 chicks which have hatched a couple of hours previously. The other 3 took a little while longer.

several hours old

Once hatched the chicks should be kept inside the incubator for a further 48 hours, before transferring to a brooding box – this can be a cardboard box with sawdust in the bottom. They’ll need a heating lamp for 2 -3 weeks to keep them warm, a bowl of water and food (chick crumb and boiled egg is good). The heat can be reduced gradually, the chicks will develop feathers and eventually they will become accustomed to ambient temperatures.

a handful

These chicks will be fully grown from between 6 – 8 months and will start laying anywhere from 2 – 8 months. Above, I believe Mandel is holding a Lavender Pekin, a Golden Laced Wyandotte and a Silver Laced Wyandotte.

Happy Easter!

About Mad Dog
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31 Responses to Chicks

  1. Awww Happy Easter dude!
    Such a great time to be hatching eggs.

  2. ChgoJohn says:

    “Chicks”? Really? Earlier today Celi used “chick pictures”. What some people won’t do to increase blog traffic!

    Wishing you and all you hold dear a Happy Easter!

    PS … JUSTIN BIEBER NUDE … Your blog is about to get very popular. 🙂

  3. Ahh…we had 7 born 2 weeks ago today…one sadly didn´t make it but mother and chicks continue to do well. It´s that time of year. And am still laughing at ChgoJohn´s comment! Happy Easter, look forward to hearing what is on the menu 🙂

    • Mad Dog says:

      John made me laugh on Cecilia’s blog – I’m not sure what my title would have been but it had to be “Chicks” after that 😉

  4. I’m with John – I rushed for the chick pics and what do you give us, paltry poulty. In the words of Sylvester the cat “You’re dethpicable”.

  5. hotlyspiced says:

    There must be a chick phase going on at the moment because everyone I know living on a half-decent block of land is filling it up with chickens. But no one I know has taken that next step of purchasing an incubator! Happy Easter!

  6. ceciliag says:

    Your chick pics are so Pretty! and I have had a good old laugh reading your comments! Lucky you having a guy down the road with layers! Does he sell you eggs too?.. I love it when people have chooks in town.. c

  7. Karen says:

    There is nothing cuter than a fuzzy little chick. The nice thing is that they grow up to give us delicious fresh eggs. Happy Easter! I hope you have a wonderful day.

  8. Audrey Evermore says:

    Er.. I am still looking for the pictures of Justin Beiber naked… what’s going on ?

  9. Justin Bieber aside, I was really interested to see this post because I’ve always been a little curious about incubators. A friend said once that he’d used one and ended up with deformed chicks and I got freaked out and put off the idea. Nice, then, to see these fine specimens!

    • Mad Dog says:

      I can’t see that an incubator would deform chicks – it’s just keeping them warm like their mother would. I bet most bought chicken, even the free range ones, were hatched in an incubator. Thanks for stopping by and Happy Easter 😉

  10. Audrey Evermore says:

    Your chicks are adorable . I look forward to seeing more pictures of them as the grow. Are the chickens eventually for eating, or are the eggs the main product. ?

  11. zestybeandog says:

    Awwwww so cute!!!

  12. peasepudding says:

    How gorgeous, I was worried you were going to say they were being groomed for the cooking pot!

  13. Shit, for a second there, I thought you had put them in a blender. The thing is, it wouldn’t actually have surprised me if you’d made chick gazpacho or something like that.

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