My apparent inability to successfully hatch out any number of chicks from the last two incubations is driving me nuts.
Last year's hatching rates were good. Well, except for the fact that I slow cooked the first batch of hatched chicks. Ugh. The first cooked batch started out with twenty-nine eggs and seventeen hatches. The second batch started out with thirty-eight eggs and 20 hatches. I was darned happy with a 50%+ live hatching rate.
The second batch - my "new" hens - are doing well. They started laying just at six months old. And some of them seem to be
My hens get a 9% feed along with whey, extra milk or runny yogurt (more to come on the runny yogurt, btw) as well as all the kitchen scraps from our kitchen and Mom's kitchen. We also allow them to free-range, so fresh greens, seeds, insects, lizards and even the occasional mouse is on the menu. The older hens are two and three years old and the newer hens are just under eight months old.
I haven't determined if it's the eggs from the new hens or the old hens that aren't fertile, but since the new hens outnumber the older biddies, I suspect that it's mostly the new hen eggs that are duds. The "good" eggs in the incubator also look to be from the older hens as they are a little larger than the rest.
Are pullet eggs not fertile? Does it take time for their eggs to be of hatching quality? Are my roosters shooting blanks?
I know it's not for lack of chicken sex. I can't walk from the house to the barn without tripping over fornicating poultry. One of my hens even has to wear a chicken saddle because she's such a little tramp.
Has a representative chicken from Health & Poultry Services come onto our homestead without our knowledge and started handing out pamphlets about planned parenthood with packages of chicken contraception?
Are my hens now clucking about sexual revolution whilst locked up in the coop at night?