fertilized eggs, chicks began to hatch! It was a glorious day of firsts for our homestead. Hubby and I had never gone through this before, so we didn’t know what to expect. Actually, hubby was out of town for a few days when the chicks began to hatch, so I was constantly texting him with what was happening.
Out of 30 fertile eggs, 12 of them hatched on Monday, July 16th. I got home from work to see a bunch of peeps under Latte, our broody hen.
Over the next week, we had a couple more peeps hatch each day. Total, 19 chickens hatched from the fertilized eggs we received. This could have been due to a couple of reasons: Some of the eggs may not have been fertile or I didn’t incubate the ones inside properly. Latte was not able to lay on all of the eggs we had, so we bought an incubator to incubate half of them indoors.
Once the peeps hatched and got their fluff, we brought them inside to a tempertature controlled area of the house under a heat lamp. It was such a blast to watch them fumble around the first few days, and adding a few more to the mix every day or two.
Unfortunately, a couple died unexpectedly the first week: one had a medical complication that I was unable to doctor up and one was a runt whose legs and beak were growing, but it’s body wasn’t growing properly. Let me tell you…chicks are pigs! They eat so much!! After the first week, they tripled in size. I had to find another place to keep them so they had some room to roam around. We ended up using an unused dog cage that we had. I put leaves in the bottom (free!) and we set up house for the chicky babies. They stayed in this area for approximately 3 weeks until they had all their feathers and it was time to move them outside.
Even though we have a chicken coop that would accommodate all of our chickens, we were afraid the hens would peck the chicks to death. Even when we experimented with the chicks outside, the hens were not fond of the chicky babies! Hubby was gracious enough to build a coop to keep the chicky babies away from harm, but acclamate to the weather.
I realize that the chick coop is not the most attractive coop on the market, but it was free and it serves it’s purpose. (Please note: Hubby built a door for it!) We decided that once we integrate the chicks into the hen’s coop, we will eventually use the chick house as a breeding shack in the future. We are calling it “The Love Shack.”
Unfortunately, when the chicks were 6 ½ weeks old, we lost another to a hawk outside. We are at 14 chicks right now and I hope we don’t lose any more.
The chicks are 3 months old now, and to date, I cannot figure out which is a hen and which is a roo. From what I’ve read, I may have to wait another few months or wait until they start crowing! I have a feeling that we have 4 roo’s, but don’t quote me on that.
I will admit to sitting outside and watching all the chickens run around their fenced in area for hours on end. They are coexisting outside just fine, but I am continually finding the hens stealing the chick’s food! They are pretty much both the same size right now with some of the chicky babies being bigger than our 1 ½ year old hens!
If you are able to own backyard hens, I highly recommend it. Not only do they provide food for the table, they make great pets.