I have a serious depletion of layer chickens here. I spent the whole year concentrating on trying to hatch show birds, and wasnt all that successful at that. Now I got to step it up and get busy. I already have the Rhode Island Reds that were given to me, but it is looking like about half of them are boys. Boys are of no use to me, they don't lay eggs, so they will have to go eventually.
A neighbor down the road that has chickens called up and asked me to hatch, said we could split the chicks. He has cuckoo marans. They are in high demand right now. They are the 'IN' chicken to have. They lay dark brown eggs and everyone loves a fresh brown egg. He brought me enough to fill the incubator, 36 eggs. Out of those, a few were not fertile and after candling them after about a week passed I took those out. There were a couple that did not develop all the way and died in the shell. Other than that we had a very very VERY successful hatch. I have never had such a good hatch. 27 babies hatched. One has a problem with its feet, but it seems to still be trying hard to get around. I am going to see what I can do to make it some corrective shoeing to fix the toes. One foot is curled the other, the toes are laying flat, like when they first come out of the egg. I have fixed babies before. I had a splay leg many years ago with my speckled sussex babies. Way back when I didnt have a clue what I was doing. I got her up and on her feet. She is still out there in the yard today, turning eight years old about the end of this month.
Hatching babies is a good way to help me through the winter. It keeps me happy. I can sit and watch those babies forever. It always makes me smile. Every now and then I pick one up and cuddle it, put it back and get another.
Here are some pictures of them hatching, and now, this morning in the brooder. I also have a video, although it didnt turn out very good, it is dark and grainy, but I thought I would post it anyway. I caught the baby just at the right moment. :)
He is bringing me 24 more eggs hopefully in a few days. I would have filled up the incubator again, but I have been getting eggs from my plymouth rock bantams so I am putting those in there.
2 days ago