We have our new incubator all set with 19 eggs… today is day 3 of 21! These eggs were provided by our own mixed breed hens, fertilization accomplished by a new rooster from last summer’s natural hatch. I’m very excited about this project. It is a test run before we go and pick up some fertile Buff Orpington eggs in February. The more the merrier.
I drew up a plan for a brood box that will sit atop our worm bin where we’ll hang a heat lamp to keep them warm. Mike just has to work his carpenter magic. He has a chunk of Styrofoam to use as insulation to make sure the worm bin temperature doesn’t overheat. It will get very dusty raising chicks in there but that doesn’t matter. It is a kind of no man’s land hallway between his workshop and my grooming shop.
Our hens are still laying eggs but as they are in their second year they will be laying less and less. I decided to freshen our flock with the Orpington breed based on their traits of being docile, friendly, good layers and larger sized. They are good broody hens too so in subsequent years perhaps I can try to get a broody hen to accept incubated chicks thus eliminating the need to use a brood box.