Way too much hatching went on around here last year. Four hundred chicks 🐣 are a lot of work, even if they are cute. Plus I already have one full time job, I don’t need two.
Fifty or so sold at day old, and a bunch more when they were off heat at six weeks. Most of the roosters became food, which meant all the work of growing them out. I pushed a lot of wheelbarrows last year, did a lot of scraping, shovelling, cleaning and repairing. And hauling 20 kg feed bags home from the store, and out to the barnyard, and tipping them into the bins, and feeding and watering too.
This year I plan to slow down. To hatch less and offer hatching eggs for sale more. I might try shipping eggs. Maybe. People are asking, but shipping seems like a lot of work too, so maybe not.
Last year’s first hatch was on December 29. This year, tomorrow is day one for my first batch, hatch day will be Feb 4. Haven’t I done well at restraining myself thus far? I am pretty proud of myself for holding off, actually.
I’m happy with my breeders this year too. One advantage of hatching 400 is selecting the cream of the crop for one’s own pens. Lots of people hatch way more than that in their quest for the best. I’m small potatoes in the chicken breeding world, and that’s ok by me. I suppose I am only a moderately crazy chicken lady.
The two Hovabator Genesis 1588s got plugged in on Friday, and left run for a day to shake down. One is running slightly warm and the other slightly cool, but both are steady as she goes. Good old Hovabators. A tweak to the temp setting for each, and then fill them up with eggs. Wyandottes, Silkies, Black Copper Marans and Olive Eggers, plus a few randoms from the Bantam pen, split evenly between the two ‘bators. If an incubator fails, I will only lose half of each breed. Learned that lesson the hard way.
Uh oh. I can feel it now, getting stronger. Anticipation, excitement, that intoxicating promise of limitless possibilities. Like an addiction. Oh dear, I’d better settle down. I AM going to take it easy this year. I am going to remember all the work I’ll be in for, if I keep the incubators full all season.
21 days to wait now, seven till I can candle to check fertility – the first milestone. My resolve will be most sorely tested on day 18, when I move these eggs to the hatcher. And the incubators are emptied. Devoid of life. Mutely pleading to be stuffed full of eggs and launched on another magical 21 day journey ending in a joyful bursting out of exciting new beginnings.
There’s DH, checking out operations. I call that picture “oh boy, here we go again…”
Yes, it is going to be a challenge, being rational about hatching season. Wish me luck.