Thursday, March 5, 2015

Chick Update: 1 day old Black Australorps

Now our little chicks are a day old, its off to the brooder box they go.

We made the call by midday that any unhatched eggs were out and the hatched ones were ready to leave the incubator.

Its officially six (6) out of 9 eggs hatched. We have six beautiful and strong personalities to welcome to our family.

With scrupulously clean hands we moved them one by one into the brooder with the heat table (actual brooder), dipping their beak once into their water and once into their chick crumble (food source) to introduce them to their basic necessities.

Then came time for their Mareks vaccinations. I now understand why so many people do not vaccinate their chicks.

  1. They come in enormous batches (doing 125 to 1,000 chicks at a time)
  2. Its expensive for the little we have hatched. (Over $100 for our small batch)
  3. Its a multi-part process to mix the vaccine to become active.
  4. The vaccine has a limited life span of only 2 hours. YES, only 2 hours.
  5. Injecting a chick on the back of the neck is harder than you think, especially if you have never done it before.
  6. Can only be administered on day old chicks.

To learn how to mix and administer the vaccine for Mareks check out:

We put them directly onto newspaper for their first day and sprinkled chick crumble around so that they can get use to their food source before we add any wood shavings. Otherwise they will only peck at the wood shavings and not learn about their food.

The brooder is set fairly low to begin with and will be raised higher as they grow each week.

They are cuteness on legs!

Or you can go for the much clearer picture as to what Black Australorp chicks look like, below. Mine won't stand still for a second for a GOOD picture. :)

via MyPetChicken

We are hatching chickens

Its our first time hatch our own chickens. And these little sweeties are purebred black Australorps.

Its been a tricky slog, first of all using a broody hen which quickly turned into THREE broody hens for only 12 eggs. Made great use of my excessively broody Silver Laced Wyandottes and Light Sussex girls.

As time progressed we lost three (3) eggs.

1. One of my kids accidentally put it into the fridge with the other eggs.
2. One was cracked. Tried to glue it with PVA glue but the hens attacked it and ate the chick's head.

...which prompted us to rescue the eggs and pop them into the new incubator.

3. One went bad! It was oozing a honey-like substance and it stunk out the entire incubator!

Then there were incubator dramas. Mostly all humidity based or rotational.

Day 18 was 'lock down'- no more turning, and the sections were removed so there would be no more movement of the eggs.

On the morning of Day 21, today...they started to hatch.

Signs were apparent at breakfast but they held off on coming out until the kids got home from school, with the first two popping out in the 4pm hour.

There are big breaks between hatchings and we are still awaiting the remainder to hatch as I type this. (My hubby wants to show off the pictures at work!)

Tomorrow morning we will be vaccinating them. I think we might have an all-nighter on our hands to maintain the correct humidity (65-75%). The kettle is regularly on. And kitchen paper towels are on-hand. No opening the incubator until they are all hatched in the morning.

Our first two hatched black Australorp chicks. Black beak and Pink beak.

We are completely in love with them all.

This is better than TV! This is ADDICTIVE!!!

If you are hatching eggs too, we would love to hear from you and any tips you can share.