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I’m proud to share that we had our first 100% hatch rate using the Brinsea Octagon Advance. Generally we have 1 or 2 eggs that don’t make it and are happy to see all of them hatch this time. We had 16 total chicks hatch, with 2 black star, 3 rhode island reds, and 11 easter eggers.
Someone bought all of our chicks we’ve been hatching so we moved the guinea keets inside to grow with this batch. They aren’t quite big enough to go with the pullets we have in our bigger stock tank out in the garage. Our buff orpington and barred rock pullets we’re keeping to breed with our adults are doing well too and growing quickly. The buff orpingtons are exceptionally vigorous and outpacing the barred rock.
I start saving my eggs for the incubations about a week before the current batch hatches. This allows us to be prepared to have little downtime in the incubator. After the last egg hatched, we only had about 6 hours of downtime. I use an air compressor to blow out all the dust from inside the incubator and wipe it down really well. Baby chicks put off a lot of dander and downy fluff when they start to dry in the incubator.
As always when raising day old chicks make sure to keep the brooder at around 95F. After a week you can start dropping the temp 5 degrees farenheit each week to start to ween them off of the supplemental heat. If they are kept in an area where the temperature will fluctuate pay keen attention to your thermometer. We keep ours in a spare bathroom where the ambient temperature will be between 65-70F.
Always use clean water and avoid city tap water if possible. City tap water often contains chlorine and fluoride which is harmful to chicks (and you.) Use well water or distilled water. Also, a drop of oregano oil in their water works as a natural antibiotic. For the first weeks we use chia and flax seed, rolled oats, and millet. They also often receive some fresh oats and pea greens from our garden that we are using as a cover crop. Fresh greens of any kind are great for your chicks. If you have some spare spinach, lettuce, or chard just chop it up for them and they will love it.