Chicken raisers are always looking for new tips and ideas on how to raise their chicks better and keep them healthier. Just when you think you have at least a pretty good system down for raising chicks, you hear of a new idea or a new tip! I have learned a lot in the past 5 years of raising chicks for 4-H. I would like to share with you 5 helpful facts on raisings chicks that I have learned.
Hello readers! It has been a little while since you have got an update on our chicks. They have been growing like weeds and have already grown in their tail and wing feathers. I take my chicks outside every week to get their pictures for my poultry records. Most of the time they cooperate, but there is always that one. I enjoy taking their photos and watching them grow, and now you can too!
Chicks need a safe, protected area in which to grow for the first few weeks of their life. A brooder can provide this perfect oasis if it is set up in the correct manner.
At the beginning of this week I know you got a sneak peek to my new chicks, but now it’s time for a formal introduction. From pip to hatch, here is the process:
This is the first pip. I was so excited when I saw my first eggs piping! Then came the waiting game. Imagine laying in an egg doing nothing for 3 weeks, and now you have to work to get out of a cramped space and breath. That requires a lot of resting and pecking.
The next stage occurred a few hours later.
From here on out things went a little a faster.
This is the ‘unzipping’ stage. A chick will turn in the shell and peck a complete circle around the shell to pop out!
And it’s almost out!
It’s out! Yay! Time to dry out those down feathers. Once they are dry I will move it from the incubator to my brooder.
A few of my Svart Hona chicks had a hard time getting out of their shell because the egg was smaller than the average egg. This is one of the reasons why Svart Honas are rare.
Typically helping a chick hatch is a big no-no in the poultry world. In my case I was instructed on just how much to assist my chicks in hatching.
Here’s me working on one of my eggs with tweezers, a warm towel, and some warm water. I helped one of my chicks half out of the egg, one I just widened the pip hole a little, and another I just took away some of the shell around the air sac. All of my assisted hatches finished hatching by themselves and are healthy and happy.
The reason you don’t want to help a chick completely out of the shell is because it may not have finished absorbing the yolk which contains important blood vessels. If you helped them out you could break the blood vessels and cause the chick to bleed to death.
This one had piped completely on the opposite end of the air sac, so he had no air to breathe to begin with until he piped that first hole. I didn’t help him too much because I didn’t want to break any blood vessels.
Here is the egg shell after a chick hatches. You can see the waste left behind in the egg from when the chick’s kidneys were making waste before it had hatched.
Here they are, all one day old and happy and healthy!
This is JJ, a Silver Rock. It’s father was my Silver Leghorn rooster and it’s mother was one of my Partridge Rock hens. JJ was the first chick to hatch.
This is Ele Ele a Svart Hona. The name is a Hawaiian word for ‘black’. You can see the egg tooth still at the end of the beak. This helped the chick hatch and will soon fall off.
This is Kapa the Svart Hona. It’s name means ‘black’ in Kyrgyz. I will not know the gender of my little chicks until they are older, so right now they are ‘its’, although I have a tendency to call them he’s or she’s depending on the personality.
And this is Hitan the Svart Hona. It’s name means ‘black’ in Indonesian.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to memorize the names, I will happily remind you!
Have a great weekend!
We have had an exciting weekend this week! My sister has been patiently waiting the 21 days for her incubating eggs to hatch. She had six eggs that were developed, five Svart Honas and one Partridge Rock/Silver Leghorn cross. (From our own hens) I will briefly describe, in a nutshell, when the chicks hatched. On Sunday morning she had two eggs with a pip. (a ‘pip’ is the first small hole the chick makes when the egg’s air cell supply as run out.) By evening the first chick to hatch was our own Partridge Rock/Silver Leghorn cross. Two more eggs had a pip in them as well by the evening. We stayed up almost half the night to watch one Svart Hona hatch. It was absolutely fascinating to watch the chicks come out, I didn’t know it would take so long! Monday brought with it two more Svart Hona hatches. All four chicks are doing very well. In fact we have the brooder, where we keep the chicks, set up in our schoolroom. Crazy right? (Answer: Yes!) 🙂
And a quick update on the goats as well. Toby and Congo are doing excellent! Their both enjoying this warm weather we have been having.
Have a great rest of the week!