Dual-purpose Chickens – 3 – Incubation

In fall of 2014 I decided I wanted to raise some dual-purpose chickens.  The main focus was on incubating my own birds to raise as “panfrys”, traditional meat birds frequently used in pan frying.  So let’s do some hatching.

 

Spring was rocking and rolling.  The nine hens were producing 6-7 eggs on average and it didn’t take me long to fill all 27 slots in my incubator.  I had purchased an INCUVIEW incubator off a recommendation from TSP Podcast 1373.  I really like this incubator as it’s almost “set it and forget”.  Periodic checking the humidity and straightening the rows of eggs are all that’s needed.  The last 10 days of my 5th run went unattended while we were on vacation.

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The Delaware/Buff mix produced a 74% hatch rate.  Having never hatched chickens before we spend hours watching the chicks work their way out of the eggs.

 

Then off to the brooder to be raised like the other meat birds.  This part of my plan went smoothly.

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-Jason

Dual-purpose Chickens – 2 – The flock

In fall of 2014 I decided I wanted to raise some dual-purpose chickens.  The main focus was on incubating my own birds to raise as “panfrys”, traditional meat birds frequently used in pan frying.  So I need some chickens.

 

After doing some research, I decided to try 2 breeds, Delaware and Buff Orpington.  I was really partial to the Delaware breed as they were initially bread to be a meet bird, but were quickly overshadowed by the current Cornish-X breeds.  However, I’d raised some Buff Orpingtons the year before.  I liked them so decided to try both.

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I purchased 4 hens and 2 roosters of each, along with 2 guinea hens that I also wanted for hatching eggs.  That gave me 8 new layers, plus and extra leftover Buff hen from 2014.  Having two of each rooster would allow me a chance to choose a well behaved rooster of either breed.  By spring I had decided to keep a Delaware rooster based on  having local resources to get more Buffs and the desire to really give the Delaware breed a try.

 

In early spring, the guineas decided to gang up on a hen.  Ganging up is apparently typical behavior for guineas, but given my limited number of hens, I was unwilling to risk losing birds so the young guineas became dinner.  I local store also started carrying guinea chicks to replace our dwindling free range flock, so I wasn’t too concerned about not having eggs for hatching.

 

So by the end of spring, I had my established flock, a Delaware rooster with 4 hens and 5 Buff hens.  I was ready to hatch some eggs.

 

-Jason