The last few years we had 6 hens and I decided I would like a few more. For a homeschool science project, the kids and I hatched about 27 chicks. We had about 30 eggs in the incubator. Most blogs I was reading said to only count on about half the eggs you incubate to hatch. I thought if I put 30 eggs in then maybe 15 or a little more would hatch. But when I was candling the eggs, I noticed all but 2 were growing! I was so excited, then I realized I didn’t have a great place to raise that many chicks. My husband was planning on building a couple A-frame coops to keep about 10 hens in. The chicks stayed in our house for about a month. Then we moved them over to my husband’s work, which is next door. We set them up in a heated building. At this time it was beginning of December and started to get cold. They stayed there, in huge boxes for another month, then they started to fly out of the tall boxes. The orchard had a chicken coop that they had used last year, but they weren’t planning on using it this year. My husband and our boys cleaned out the old bedding, and we put the chicks in the larger area of the building. There is another room in the coop that I have the rabbits and the quail in right now. But soon that room will be turned into the brooder room and the rabbits will have a rabbit hut!
Out of the eggs we hatched only 11 of them were roosters. I decided to keep one of the olive eggers and the one and only silkie rooster. The rest we brought to a butcher. The other two I have in our old chicken coop, and they get along very well. My hope is to breed our olive eggers and be able to hatch more eggs next year. We love the silkies and hope to breed them as well. The silkie breed is so enjoyable. Our hen will let the kids pick her up and walk around with her. Sometimes she will come over to us and wait to be picked up. Right now I have our silkie pullet with some new chicks I brought home. She is being very caring with them. She helps to keep them warm. I believe she is showing signs that she will be a broody hen and hatch her eggs.
This last week we started to spruce up the inside of the coop. When we first cleaned the coop out, it was too cold to wash the walls down. So one evening I took my 9 and 5 year old to help wash the walls. We got most of it done except where I have the chicks brooders and the nesting boxes. Hopefully next week we will get it finished! I plan on making a bigger brooding box and then put the nesting boxes on top of it. Once everything is done I will give a tour of our coop.
I was having an issue with my new layers laying eggs in the nesting boxes. So I heard that if you put a golf ball in the boxes they will think it is an egg. My chickens didn’t think that was a great idea, they still were laying outside on the ground. Then I saw the nesting box eggs, I was going to pick some up, but they are a little pricier then what I could spend. For Easter, my husband came home with eggs that you color instead of hard boiled eggs. I thought why couldn’t I put those in the nest boxes? They look real plus they are white so we can tell that they are fake. So far that has worked, except I keep getting tricked by the eggs. I always open the boxes and think they laid a ton of eggs. Then I pick them up and they are really light. One day I hope my pullets will lay 3 dozen eggs a day.
I am really excited that my sister wanted to hatch 2 dozen chicken eggs. The orchard has a rooster with their hens, so I collected the eggs for a few days and was able to get her 2 dozen. A few days after she decided she wanted to hatch, a couple of her friends decided they wanted to hatch eggs as well. I couldn’t get them all chicken eggs in time, so a few of them are hatching duck and quail eggs. Once the eggs hatch, we will be getting the chicks, ducklings, and the quail back. I am looking forward to raising more chickens in the future, I just hope we will get a lot of pullets. I really don’t want to keep roosters except for the three that I have. I was considering adding more hens to my flock because I am already having people that want to buy the eggs. Luckily we have the space for them. Plus the quail really don’t take up much space. You could really have them in your house.
I had my first large order of 9 dozen eggs! It took a few days to collect the eggs, but I think my girls are doing a great job. We changed our pullets and hens over to an organic soy free feed. My eggs are not certified organic, But most of what they eat is, except the grass and bugs that they dig up. We have noticed a big difference in taste. We really enjoy the chickens on the new feed.