Chicks are expensive.  At our local farm store they are $4 to $7  each – more for specialty breeds. If I drive about 30 miles there is a much larger farm store with many varieties at $3 each  but you have to buy 6 minimum…not usually a problem for me!  What if every spring you had plenty of new chicks but you never had to buy them? Could you save a lot of money over the years? You bet!

For many years, we’ve been hatching our own chicks.  That doesn’t mean I don’t like to purchase some new varieties but for the most part we can hatch what we want.  Here’s the first peck in the shell!  Can you see it?

We had a large incubator but it was over 20 years old and finally quit working. We purchased a smaller table top incubator the “Harris Farms Nurture Right Incubator | 360 Degree View”.I liked some aspects – it turns the eggs, it’s got a nice view for the kiddos and it holds the temperature perfectly.  It also has a countdown timer that was really accurate so you know how many days left to hatch and it has a strong built-in light for candling eggs.   However, there were some things I didn’t like.

The humidity level was really hard to keep steady.  I needed to add water to it several times a day…difficult to do if you have to be gone for several hours. When the chicks hatched it was hard for them to walk around – they got their little legs stuck in different places. It was also not the easiest thing to clean.  We are looking for a different  model to try.  When we find one we like, I’ll be sure to let you know.

I thought my grandkids would enjoy seeing chicks hatch. They peck in a pretty straight line all the way around the shell – it seems to take anywhere from 8 hours to 24 hours to get that done. 

Some mornings I would get up to peeping and found several had hatched over night.

We began removing them pretty quickly so they didn’t hurt their legs.  Not ideal because it drops temperature and humidity which can make it more difficult for the others to hatch.

We then bundled them up and took them outside to the brooder where they are raised until they are big enough to go to one of our smaller coops. Aren’t they the cutest things?

Have you ever seen a chick break free of its shell?  Here’s a really quick video I took when my grandson and I were watching this happen!

For a small investment in an incubator, you can raise your own chicks year after year.  You can also raise turkeys, guineas and other fowl.  We raised some pure-bred chicks but we also raised many mixed breeds and love the variety in their feathers and their eggs! We were also able to bless some families by giving them chicks to take home and raise!

If you are raising chicks and have an incubator you love, please let me know in the comments!

Blessings,

Cheri