chickens before they’re hatched

I’ve mentioned the trouble we had acquiring chicks this year, so we cast a wide net for our options. We bought the lavender pullets, but we needed a couple more hens. Specifically we wanted Salmon Faverolles. They are, as you can clearly see, the most adorable chickens on the planet with their lovely beards and feathered feet. Levi tells me faverolles are the “three french hens” mentioned in the “Twelve Days of Christmas,” so they go way back.


Photo borrowed from the Faverolles Fanciers of America

Unfortunately my attempts to source day-old faverolles chicks were extremely frustrating and I learned a lot about the genetic stock available at big commercial hatcheries. This led me to the Backyard Chickens forums (Those BYC people know everything about chickens. I’m serious!) where many people recommended a breeder in Oregon who sold hatching eggs. There was a waiting list for eggs, which we signed up for. I ordered an incubator, which was back-ordered but arrived just in the nick of time. The eggs arrived, full of hope and potential, packed into shredded paper and wrapped in bubble wrap.

We installed them in our new Brinsea incubator, where they will spend the next 21 days growing into happy, healthy baby faverolles, hopefully. The Brinsea Mini Advance is the smartest incubator we could buy. It turns the eggs. It controls temperature and humidity. You can even set it for a daily cooling period to mimic a broody mother hen who gets up to go eat and drink. Hopefully it can help eliminate a lot of rookie mistakes. Plus it’s a clear dome so you can see everything that’s happening inside. The incubator holds seven eggs, so that’s how many we bought.

We placed the incubator near Krista’s favorite gnome, who can watch over the eggs and read them stories.

We might hatch anywhere from zero to seven chicks. I’m trying not to, well, count them before they’re hatched but it’s difficult not to be hopeful. And yes, I do feel like we’re kind of crazy for doing this, but now that it’s happening, it feels like the most reasonable and exciting thing. So, stay tuned for future incubator updates: from candling to countdown!

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19 Comments

Filed under chickens

19 responses to “chickens before they’re hatched

  1. This is very very exciting and it seems to me a perfectly reasonable thing to do. I can’t wait to see how things unfold.

  2. That chicken looks like something straight out of Dr. Seuss with its hobbit feet!

  3. Hillary

    So exciting!

  4. babies! what’s the plan if you get boys? (not trying to be a jerk, really just curious–my bff has yard hens and i’m interested in how this all gets sorted out).
    xo
    kittee

    • Since we bought a rare breed with good genes from a reputable farm, we plan to sell the little roos to people who are interested in breeding this unique and peculiar bird. I’ve heard of some local farmers who would be interested in them and there seems to be a demand for salmon faverolles cockerels on our local craigslist. I just hope we’re successful enough at hatching them that this is a problem we have to deal with.

  5. Jodi

    We ordered eggs from Texas and they were delivered to the Post Office in Oregon all safe and sound…9 eggs, and after 22 of the most nerve wracking days ever the 1st chick hatched like it was no big deal, and 4 more followed! I felt like that was a decent hatch rate, we had counted on 6 after candling, but something happened to that last little guy and it never started to hatch. We ordered Cochin Frizzles and none of the 5 turned out to be Frizzles, but they are so cute it doesn’t matter. 1 Roo and 4 Ladies is what we ended up with, they are 6 weeks old now. And I just used a styrofoam incubator from the feed store, nothing as nice as the Brinsea. Good luck, it has been an awesome experience at our house!

  6. My mom told me she was considering getting chickens and I’m not sure how far she’s gotten with that project. I’ll be sure to share this post with her :)

  7. Aw, the gnome is such a nice touch! Best wishes to the parent-to-be. Can’t wait for the post of the new arrivals.

  8. When I saw you mention hatching grocery store eggs on twitter the other day I was like huh? But this is really cool. Esp. that incubator! And the gnome. So lovely. Good luck! You are my chicken icons.

    • The grocery store eggs is a totally different thing! I am just amazed that you can successfully hatch eggs that have been washed, refrigerated and trucked across the country. Talk about will to live!

  9. What a lovely chicken. I’ve always wanted chickens, but we live in the city, so it’s not allowed, and we have no room anyway. I hope you get some chicks. Would love to see pictures of them.

  10. This jogged a memory for me – watching the eggs in an incubator in my Campfire Girls leader’s house. I spent every day after school over there so I got to watch the eggs, then the chicks. It was an amazing process. We were glued to the side of that thing. Sending good wishes to all your little to-be chickies!

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