So, do you want to hatch or buy baby chicks? This could be a great experience. But if you don’t plan ahead, it might turn into your worst nightmare. The four questions I’m about to ask you are going to help you make sure it’s the best decision for you and your family.
And as the saying goes, there’s a great responsibility for big chickens. And you’re supposed to multiply that by at least ten for your baby chicks. You may think you’ve been dreaming about all that you need to do.
You may have been dreaming of having poultry for years. You’ve understood it, you know what the legal implications are, and you’ve asked yourself all the right questions about how a poultry farming blends into your society.
What do you have to do with the baby chicks that turn out to be male?
It’s the most important issue of all. Do you want roosters in your flock? And if you buy pure baby chicks, you’re not going to be able to tell the gender of the chick. And some decent hatcheries will be mixed in males and females. If you incubate your own, you can’t hatch anything but chickens. For a few breeds, you can’t say if the eggs turn out to be male or female. When you incubate and hatch sex-linked breeds like Speckled Sussex, you’ll be able to tell which breed-but not until they have hatched. Okay, so what?
Can you legally keep the male crow in your part of the world? Would you like to do that? How do you feel that your hens are constantly hurt by an over-zealous chicken in the folks? What are you going to react to when your amazing-looking rooster decides that he wants to defend his family, which he’s genetically trained to do by hitting you every time you’re in the coop?
These spurts are sharp and strong. It can make collecting eggs and spending time with your chickens a much less enjoyable experience. Not every rooster is a guard-boy, but most of them are. This is their work.
They’re not bad or malicious, they’re protectors, and they’re doing what they’re meant to do. This is one of the most serious problems with buying or hatching your own chickens. Before you begin, be very, very sure that you can either keep them or find their homes. It’s not necessary to kill the males because you didn’t think things were going through properly. If you don’t have an answer, please, don’t even think about incubating or buying baby chicks!
Are you going to get your baby chicks bred?
Shortly those tiny fluff balls will spread. In a couple of days, wing feathers have begun to grow, and within a week, they will be experimenting with flight. They don’t fly far, or for a long time, but they do eventually fly out of your brooder.
If you’ve got a couple of chicks at once, you’ll find that within three weeks, they’ll have outgrown the coat of arms that you figured would last for at least a couple of months.
And they can’t get out easily until they’re at least eight weeks old. Depending on the breed and the circumstances, it can take 11 weeks to get closer. They need to be too big to attract birds of prey, big enough to survive the harassment of the rest of your flock.
Going outside during the summer months may be a matter of concern if there is excessive heat. Chicks have more trouble controlling their temperature than humans do.
Chicks, too, will quickly die from the cold. And if you don’t have a safe place to sleep, you ‘re going to have a problem with your feet.
Before then, where are you going to keep them? Will you have a spot outside where you can keep warm? So are you going to have to hide it in your house?
And believe me, as the chickens begin to grow, they smell. A lot of it, man. If the bathroom you thought would be a fun, safe place for your chick-babies is a place you don’t want to look at?
Planning for incubation or buying chicks, do you have time and money?
My next question is relevant before we even look at how to incubate or buy chickens. It’s: are you totally sure you have the time, courage, resources, and money for chickens? Not the tiny fluffies that will hatch your eggs, but the adults who will depend on you for their food, water, protection, and a healthy place to stay for a few years?
The issue of money is important since incubation can be expensive and eggs can be expensive. Leaving the eggs or the chicks aside for a bit, there’s all the stuff you’ve got to buy for a decent incubation, and for life after hatching, in the brooder.
If you are going to incubate, that’s the cost of incubators and candles. You’re going to need waterers, feeders, and chick feed for your chicks. They don’t forget to feed chickens because they’re adults. It’s a grit and an oyster shell. And they all want to treat their baby chickens.
Then there’s the embroiderer, the bedding, the heat lamp when the chicks are inside, not to mention the coop when they’re old enough. Add to the future veterinary expenses and you’ve got a drain on your income which you’d have a lot of eggs to make up for. So, a word of warning: if you’re dreaming about buying chickens for free food, think again.
Were you prepared to go wrong when you incubate your baby chicks? What about your relatives, your grandchildren, etc.?
The incubation and hatching of the chickens is the most beautiful sight. Hey, much of it. And it might have been catastrophic. Successful hatches don’t happen overnight, even if you’re doing the right thing. Eggs are also obviously not fertile. They are always fertile and start developing, but then they die very early, for reasons that are not always understandable.
Are you able to find a blood ring when you might light an incubated egg? When are you going to explain this to your children? Occasionally a chick hatches, but he has serious physical issues. And often, at the very point of birth, a chick dies, or shortly after. Hatting is a complex process, and a newly hatched chick is a delicate one. There are a lot of things that can go wrong, even if you’re experienced.