My latest attempt at hatching chicken eggs gave me a boost in confidence. My first attempt left me a little frustrated. I had better hatching rates and improved vigor this time around.
With my first hatch, I ended up with 12 out of 25 eggs hatching. Those new chicks started failing after about 3 weeks. I believe the feed that we picked up was to blame. They just had no strength and stopped growing. We have since lost 4 out of the 12 that hatched.
The latest set of eggs we incubated have done exceptionally well. We set 15 eggs in groups of 5. We turned the eggs 3 times a day instead of 2, which I believe help tremendously with the hatch rate. We hatched out 12 of the 15 eggs. We lost one due to my error of leaving the water bowl in the incubator and it drowned. But that is a very good hatch rate and I am very pleased with the outcome.
We went back to the brand of feed that has worked well for us in the past. These chicks have shown no sign of illness or weakness and they look healthier than the first batch. They are growing fast and will soon outgrow my brooder box.
Now that I have these new chicks, I will most likely have too many roosters. In the past, farms dealt with this issue by caponizing the young roosters. Caponizing is a process that surgically removes the young rooster’s testicles to stop the affects of testosterone. What you end up with is a calm, hen-like male, that can gain weight without getting tough and stringy. Plus they make great brooders for young chicks.
Before the popularity of the bland tasting Cornish-cross chickens, Capons were the table fare of choice. Special tools are needed to caponize with success. And since the adoption of the Cornish-cross, the art of caponizing has almost been lost. But thanks to Ebay and You tube, I have an antique set of tools and I am armed with enough knowledge to give it a shot.
Before my next update, I will hopefully find the time to Caponize the young roosters and I will let you know what I think the the process.