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Learning more about hatching chickens.

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Hatching chickens, becoming an Eggspert.

Raising animals has always been an interest of mine, however, apart from keeping a couple of chickens when I was a young boy, I have had no interaction with raising poultry, let alone trying to hatch them from eggs.
I was given a challenge to hatch some chickens so I set myself on the path to becoming an eggspert! Armed with a Mini Advanced Incubator from Brinsea, along with an OvaView (which lets you check the progress of the eggs) a brooder (provides ambient warmth after hatching) and some other equipment, one of the main issues was trying to source some fertilised eggs.

I found a farm in north Devon who could provide them. However they did add the caveat that due to the cold weather in February, the cockerels were not always ‘on form’. This turned out to be the case, and only 3 of the 7 eggs actually started to develop!

After setting up the incubator, letting it get to the correct temperature and placing the eggs in their new home, I wondered whether I had the time to take this on. Now the hatching process is finished, I can happily say it was no bother at all.

I spent the first night staring at the eggs turning every 45 minutes worrying if they would make it. Then I realised I only had to top up the water source every couple of days and wait for nature to take its course, as the eggs are automatically turned by a plastic hen. Every couple of days, I would place the eggs in the OvaView to see the development. I can honestly say it was exhilarating watching the embryos developing and actually moving in front of your eyes. Even my dubious partner was hooked in the end.

As per normal, nature caught me out when I was cooking the Sunday roast. All of a sudden, two days early, I heard a distinctive ‘cheep’ whilst carving the beef. Three little chicks had decided to break free all together and come out before I had bought the sawdust!

The experience has been scary, exciting and rewarding...with a way to go and some extra challenges, I look forward to picking up some fresh eggs from the garden from Beefy, Snips and Rufio. It is a great way for children to learn whilst doing something fun, and a great excuse for the parents to pretend ‘they are just helping’.

Source Details

Ben Jordan, Retail Buyer Mole Valley Farmers

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