Our first chicks break into this world!
Updated: May 13, 2018
It was a little intimidating paying $900+ for an incubator and all the equipment. Of course I calculated the # of chicks needed to pay for the incubator... it was 640! But I didn't freak out... I just started 50 at a time. I collected eggs from the four breeds for about a week and stored them (large end up) and labeled each egg. this batch went in the incubator and started on Sunday Mar 1st. Then, as I often do, I forgot to write things down and follow the directions! I missed candling the eggs from days 7-10, I didn't stop rotating them at day 17, I didn't turn up the humidity until they started to hatch, and I didn't lay them flat in the hatching tray until they started to hatch. Even with all my mistakes, we had a 63% hatch rate. BTW- Ayam Cemani's ALL hatched first? Maybe because the eggs are smaller? I quickly realized that labeling the eggs was only for counting the hatch rate... because after the chicks came out, they start eating the inner lining of the eggs and shell to sustain them the first 3 days of their life... so the labels were only to count what DIDN'T hatch. In all, we hatched 26 healthy, beautiful chicks and every chick that hatched, lived!
What did I learn? Write things down and keep a journal... humidity is critical the last 3 days... it's a lot easier to hatch them than it is to SELL them... hahaha... as of this morning we are 11 chicks toward our break even of 660... and my cost per chick is $37.50 and we sell them for $5-$10... As a business man, it's all about the margin... but as a chicken farmer it's all about the furry babies that make me smile :)