Tuesday, June 10, 2014

New Hatch

We had more baby chicks hatch the other day. I started out with 7 fertilized eggs from our Black Australorp hens. I used our small automatic incubator again. It's all very easy now that I sort of know how to program it. I decided this time I wouldn't open the incubator during the process to "candle" them, since this was the stage where one died in the process last time. I only opened it up once to add a little more water. The incubator counts down the days and I was thinking Day 1 meant there would be one more day, but I was wrong. When I went to check on them, 5 chicks had already hatched and were making noise. Within an hour the other two had hatched.

Before I moved them out to the garage, I needed to tidy up the brooding pen from the last time. The sides had begun to slide out at the bottom from the pressure of the litter. I also wanted to reduce the size by one panel. I decided to try putting several bungee cords hooked together around the bottom. And then I put clips on top. This seems to have fixed the problem. I also added a new thin layer of litter and then newspaper for the first few days.

The incubator is getting easier to program.

I numbered the egg positions so I could monitor the rotations.

This chick had just hatched.

Another newly hatched chick

We moved the chicks to the pen within 12 hours.

The garage is so warm now that I don't need to use a heat lamp.

All 7 eggs hatched.

I moved the litter to the middle so I could adjust the panels. It was very dusty.

I added a thin layer of new litter.

I put bungee cords around the bottom to hold it upright.

I put clips on the top.


  1. What are the walls of your brooding pen made of? When I saw it in an earlier post, I thought it was a heavy cardboard, but in these photos, it looks like a pressed wood. How far down are the slits cut?
    I really like this idea and would like to make one for myself. Thanks!
    I always enjoy reading your blog!!!!

    1. Thanks Lawanda.
      It's called tempered hardboard. Each panel is 24"x24", with 12" cuts about 2" in from the edge. The first panel needs to have both cuts at the top, and the end panel needs both cuts at the bottom. Otherwise, the panels are all the same. I have ten panels but am only using 8 at the moment. You could use big clips on the bottom as well as the top - to secure it. I also have tulle netting that I will clip on the top once they get big enough to fly over. They should easily store flat, but I haven't needed to yet.