Saturday, December 11, 2010

Hatching results

I apologise for not updating you sooner! The results for the hatch were 3 very cute and fluffy Wyandotte chicks.

Sadly, none of the Dorking eggs made it, and one Wyandotte chick was too weak, and passed away this morning. It's been a huge learning curve, and as a result, we'll be selling our incubator and getting one that is more automatic. Marty and I really didn't enjoy the stress that came with incubating, and the terrible hatch-rate was heartbreaking for both of us.

But, you just have to look in the brooder box and see the little chicks running around, pecking, eating and flapping those cute fluffy wings, to cheer up no end. :) See?

Until next time.


  1. You both gave it your best shot that's for sure. Those chicks are just so cute, and look so healthy too. All the best :D

  2. Before giving up on your incubator, try sourcing some local eggs. Summer isn't a great time for fertility, as the heat knocks the parenting stock around. Try a little closer to autumn - that should give you some time to hunt down a local fresh egg source.

    Many incubators are blamed for low hatch rates. In my own experience with my own stock, the best hatch rate I got was in the first set in spring. The later batches into summer got progressively worse.

    You'll find many selective breeders won't sell eggs in the summer months, simply because they know hatch rates are lower. You either want to catch eggs early in spring or heading into autumn.

    If you can source some eggs from a local person, even if they're not Dorkings, and give the current bator another go - you could find success has everything to do with when the fertile eggs were laid and how little distance they have to travel.

    Don't give up on yourselves by believing a full automated system will do the job right next time. A person can do just as good a job - if not better, than a machine. Even with a fully automated system though, you will lose chicks after they hatch too. Everything hinges on your gene stock.

    To have no Dorkings eggs hatch at all, when you had 4 hatch from the Wyandottes, tells me there was something wrong with the eggs. This is not to accuse the breeder of deliberate scaming, but rather the further you source your eggs from the nest, the more problems that can go wrong.

    Consider the heat when you went to the auctions. Would it have been over 37 degrees celcius at any point? Hatching starts at 37 degrees and the problem with transiting eggs in hot weather, is unless the eggs are insulated from the heat, you'll start to incubate your eggs before they even make it to the incubator.

    I'm telling you all this because it's important, and you shouldn't be wearing the wrap completely as incubator operators. There are so many other factors and the brilliant part is that you're going to learn a lot more if you decide to continue hatching your own eggs. That's whether you persist with your current bator, or try something new.

    I tell you what though, word of mouth is a precious thing. If you find a supplier of fertile eggs that gets the stamp of approval from someone else, take their eggs over an unknown quantity any day. I've heard the lady who runs Shrimani Farm (you may have seen her on the Backyard Poultry forums) has an excellent following of satisfied customers.

    Here's the link to her website:*~weeklyfertileeggsales~*~

    I haven't visited the forums for a while, so I don't know if her reputation is still good, but I noticed from her website that she had a pen of Silver Grey Dorkings. Drop her an enquiry via email anyway. She'll be able to tell you the success rates she's getting from any Pen, as I understand she runs test batches.

    Anyway, I love the photo of your baby Wyandottes. Ah, the memories, LOL. They are such an adorable breed. Well done Manda and Marty!

  3. I am deeply jealous - all I got was one chicken. And as Chris says - it is more down to the fertility/viability of the eggs than the medium by which they are produced, though in my case, the latter was the determining situation (too many interruptions in the hatching process). Well done, and don't beat yourselves up.

  4. Thank you Susan! :)

    Chris, I understand completely what you're saying. It was very hot at the auction, and it was a long drive home in the heat also. The Wyandotte eggs were quite local, about a half hour drive away in cool weather.

    We won't give up - we still want our Dorkings after all! :)

    Jo, I'm sorry to hear you only got one. I hope it is a pullet at least!

    PS: These Wyandotte chicks are certainly the cutest things ever. :) They must be growing fast, because they're eating a lot of food! We put them on shredded paper for the first time today, and they've learned how to scratch around already. They're in the loungeroom, so we see and hear them all the time. Their cute little "pip pip pip" noises are just adorable. :)

  5. Sorry about the loss of your chicks. But the live ones are adorable. I am sure you will have a larger batch next time.