How to become Ms or Mr. Mother Hen – Hatch Day May 11, 2012

Hatch day–finally! I’m not sure how it can seem as if it takes forever to get here and also as if it’s hardly been 21 days, both at once. It does seem like it took no time and forever, though.

So, there were no power outages during incubation that would cause  problems. The temperature and humidity stayed right on. Everything looked good. But… well first, let me just break the suspense. This story does have a happy ending:

First baby chick hatched

I did have a good hatch.

 

But while you’re waiting, you never really know how it will work out. I’ve had terrible hatches before. Presuming you do candle a couple times as you go, you can sometimes be forewarned that a bad hatch is coming. If it was a problem with rough shipping, for example, a lot of times the eggs just won’t develop, and you can see that early, when you candle the first time at 7 or 10 days. With this batch, though, I knew almost all had at least developed, so shipping was probably not a problem.  I had noticed one clear and one quitter, and several eggs with an air cell that looked a little off. I thought those might have trouble hatching.

So I was beyond excited when I saw the first couple of pips. It was very early in the morning when it began, and still dark.  I was bleary eyed and a little tired, but anable to sleep from the anticipation! It was so early that my rooster D’artagnan hadn’t even begun crowing yet. Still, the first thing I did before I even started the coffee was to check those eggs…. and there they were. Unmistakable cracks in the egg shells had started to appear. The chicks had begun to hatch.

First pips!

It's such a relief when you hear the peeping and see the first progress to hatch.

It can take 24 hours or more for one to finish hatching out, though, so I made my coffee and tried to work while I waited (how can you work during hatch day?!!!). That is takes a while isn’t worrisome, just frustrating. Finally, it happens, though.

Zipping out

It takes a while... but it's like they just unzip the shell.

One chick began unzipping. Sometimes they unzip fast, and sometimes it takes forever!

chick pushing out of the shell

This part of hatching chicks at home is mesmerizing. See the little foot?

It’s still so dark, I can hardly get a good shot, but what I like about my Brinsea is that the viewing area is so large. You can really see every egg, and every little bit of progress.  Once the shell is unzipped all around, one little foot goes over the edge, and then the chick PUSHES against the top of the egg shell to escape.

The chick gets her head out

Finally, she "pops the lid off" so to speak.

Don’t tell anyone, but I did a little dance around the kitchen, consisting of awkward kicks, sort of a cross between the Snoopy happy dance and the Elaine Benice seizure dance. Luckily, my husband wasn’t up yet.

Chick resting after hatching

ZOMGs, you are so cute.

As it gets lighter out, the pictures get a little better, and I can start seeing little faces. Yup, the others begin popping out, too.

More chicks hatch

Three is company!

You never know for sure when hatching is finished. You can have late hatchers. What I do is this: when all the eggs that have had pips have finished and dried, I move them all the the prepared brooder. Then I leave the incubator on for a while to see if anything else is forthcoming.  Nothing happened for a good while… then one more hatched.

Moving the chicks to the brooder

This little baby will finish drying under the heat lamp.

In the end, 14 hatched out of the 20 eggs I received, so about 75%. (I slipped in a couple of my own eggs to help fill up the incubator, and one of those hatched, too, for a total of 15 chicks.) I usually count on hatching about half with shipped eggs, but I’m fairly pleased even when only a quarter of them hatch. It’s disappointing to hatch fewer than that… but it does happen. Shipped eggs are such a gamble.

I like to check those that didn’t hatch to see what may have gone wrong. In this case, it looks like the air cells were indeed misplaced on a number of the Ameraucana eggs, just like I thought during candling. How disappointing.  Only one of the babies from those eggs with misplaced air cells made it out… and it was an awkward escape, so I’m not sure if she’ll be all right. I will have to keep my eye out on her.

The final count was this: 4 lavender orpingtons, 6 black copper marans, 1 barnyard mix (from my flock), and 4 Ameraucanas (three black and one blue).

Chicks snuggling

They look so pretty all snuggled together into fluffy piles of contrasting color, very artsy.

 

Notice, please, that the chicks I was least interested in hatched best. Not interested in Black Copper Marans? Well, then 100% of those eggs will hatch. Dying to have Ameraucanas? Only 40% of those will hatch. The lesson in that is this: NEVER TELL ANYONE WHAT BREEDS YOU REALLY WANT. The infamous Murphy—of Murphy’s Law—may hear you and arrange for your disappointment.

But, I’m happy, honestly. I’ve learned to never really count on any particular result when hatching eggs, so I am a lot less likely to be disappointed at the end. The hatching was successful overall, and at least the hatching is done. The suspense is over… right? Right?!!

Lavender orpington baby

The lavender orpington chick is too lovely for words!

Well, no, the suspense isn’t completely over because I won’t know for three months or so which are hens and which are roosters.

Please, fellow chickenmaniacs, keep your fingers crossed for me—I want mostly hens!

____________________________

ENTER TO WIN!

Brinsea wants to celebrate Mother’s Day with you by providing a Mini Advance Incubator for one lucky My Pet Chicken blog commenter located in the US! Plus, My Pet Chicken will be offering the winner six assorted fertile hatching eggs you can use to fill your fancy new incubator for the first time. That way you can become Ms. Mother Hen… or even Mr. Mother Hen, as the case may be!

To enter the contest, comment on this blog post below telling us how you prepare your brooder! (Please note that complaints about particular incubator manufacturers, particular suppliers of hatching eggs, particular candlers, etc. will be disqualified as entries.) Contest ends May 13, 2012.

Keep watching our blog for updates on Lissa’s hatch in our “Ms. or Mr. Mother Hen” blog series to find additional opportunities to enter. Enter once on each blog entry in the series. This is the last entry in the series! If you missed your first opportunity to enter, do so right here.  The second opportunity was here.  The third was here. The fourth was here.

187 Comments
Aslan May 11th, 2012

Congratulations! I’m so happy for you! I do wish more of the breeds you wanted successfully hatched. I have six ameraucanas right now, a few weeks old, one blue and the rest black. I just put a cardboard box with a heat lamp next to the incubator and put them in after they’ve dried off a bit in the incubator.

Michele May 11th, 2012

My brooder is a big Rubbermaid stock tank with several mason jar feeders/waterers. I use shredded junk mail as litter and a hanging heat lamp. I have 28 birds in there right now, 5 buff orphington pullets, 20 cornish roasters, and one rare chick which I think is a silver laced polish rooster!

Julie Puckett May 11th, 2012

Fabulous looking Lavender sure looks like a girl to me !! My Brooder is ready a week before hatching time because I am so impatient, Small brooder in the house with heat lamp, large brooder in Garage first step outside, Bigger Brooder in Barn so they can hear all the hustle and bustle of the hens then finally into their own coop for a while before being introduced to the flock. sort of my 12 step program ahahaha

Kristen May 11th, 2012

Congrats! They are absolutely darling!

Well, I haven’t prepared a brooder yet as I have yet to hatch but I have been checking out the Brinsea Ecoglow that I have seen others use and it looks like a good safe choice for a brooder heat source.

Brandon May 11th, 2012

I don’t have a brooder to prepare because I haven’t hatched any chicks yet. 🙁

Courtney May 11th, 2012

My brooder is up 24/7 from the time I turn on my incubator so there isn’t much preparation needed.

Vanessa May 11th, 2012

Haha, nice hatch! How I prepare my brooder: it’s all in the box. Literally! I get the perfect box, often heavy plastic. Then I carefully fill it with “safe” shavings…not the kind that can cause respirtory problems. Then The little waterer and feeders (along with several tests) and the heatlamp. I’ve only raised chicks once…but I made them (3) little beds they loved!!! In a small plastic container, I stuffed a newspaper patty (bedding wrapped in newspaper. One for each chick, they LOVED them!

jess s May 11th, 2012

We prepare our brooder by scrubbing it out, then lining it with wood chips. We add fresh food and water and a heating lamp, and then put the cat-proof screen lid on top. Our brooder is a smallish stock tank, so that’s about all it requires.

Theresa May 11th, 2012

I have a fish tank with a wire mesh top when they ate really little then I move them to a big tub when they start to get crowded. Congrats so excited you had a good hatch.

Garilyn Bardash May 11th, 2012

I have never had the eggcitement of hatching new life. I will soon try to get my babies from the feed store soon. I would love to win a new incubator and experience miracles too!

April Poulter May 11th, 2012

CONGRATS!! They are sooo cute. For my first brooder I used a large rabbit cage we had. I decided to go with sand as my bedding and used paper towel on top for the first few days. I made my own feeder out of a mayo jar and the bottom inch of a gallon vinigar bottle. I made my own waterer as well but quickly upgraded to a quart size one from tractor supply. I had my thermometer on the floor on the brooder unger the lamp side and had approx 50/50 for warm side /cold side. When I decided to brood ducklings I upgraded my brooder and I love it. Its made from a metal frame to a rectangle kitchen table, chicken wire painted to match the metal and a plastic tray large enough to fill the battom of the cage and about 5 inches deep. The lamp attaches to the inside of the brooder.

Valerie May 11th, 2012

My brooder its pretty simple, consisting of a couple heat lamps clipped on opposite success of a rubbermaid bin, a feeder and waterer and some pine shavings.

Hatch day for me is Monday! Here’s to hoping for a great hatch!

Samantha Nightengale May 11th, 2012

When we got day olds from the feed store we set them up in a large cage with a plastic bottom we had laying around. Threw some straw on the bottom and a heat lamp over top and they did very well.

Manja May 11th, 2012

Congrats on your hatch. I really want some lavender orps now. I just set up a brooder today. We use plastic totes with shavings and clip on a heat lamp. Later on we throw an old pet/baby gate on top so they can’t jump out. I have 6 buff orpington pullets hatched 2 days ago and 7 eater egger pullet which are about 6 weeks old and look huge next to the new babies.

Donna May 11th, 2012

Congrats on a successful hatch!! For me even one is successful when hatching Seramas. For some reason none of my hens are broody, except the silkie and she can’t sit on eggs all the time. I would love to try incubating the Serama eggs to see how it goes. I should get my first pair of Dutch Bantams at the Jersey show next week and I am sooo excited. Well home to check under my poor overworked silkie to see what’s going on. We have one more week before hatch and then she gets a much deserved vacation.

Lorna Violet May 11th, 2012

So far I’ve only had tiny hatches, so my brooder was an old fish tank. But I am going to have to come up with something better for the future. I was thinking of using a rubbermaid tub.

robin mcdowell May 11th, 2012

first of all congrats on the wonderful babies!! 🙂 I prepare my brooder when I do lockdown that way It is all ready to go when the chicks are dry and ready to come out of the bator. Ater it is cleaned and dry I put pine shaving in and fill up the feeder. I wait to do the water until the chicks go in because they need fresh water.

Promise May 11th, 2012

Eeeeeee!!! All SIX Black Copper Marans hatched?!? How can you not be interested in those?!? Their eggs are so COOL LOOKING!!! Though, after seeing that picture of a baby Lavender Orpington, they have OFFICIALLY topped my list. How cute can one bird GET??? My GOSH I want to win this contest! This has been really cool to watch, thanks for sharing!

Jackie Winkelman May 11th, 2012

Happy mothers day to you! Congrats. Success makes it worth it.

Norman Fryar May 11th, 2012

Congrats! I use a rubbermade container with a lightbulb hung over the top. Wood shavings make a great bed. At the school, where I assist with hatching, they purchased one from an online company. I was impressed how a commercial system was disigned.

Lisa C May 11th, 2012

Congrats on your hatch! they are lovely birds!
For our first batch of shipped eggs and our batch of barnyard mixes we just incubated, our brooder was a blow-up kiddie pool ( can be stored easy) Its lined with wood shavings and for the newborns covered with paper for a couple of days.. the heat lamp that is hung from the ceiling is on and the thermometer is on the ground under it making sure we are on target…

The week before our eggs hatched I (convinced we may not get any birds) bought 7 americaunas from a local breeder… so they went in the brooder first… and got along spendidly with the newborns when they came… But they are flighty and learned to hop on the edge of the pool very quick and even when we lined it with taller cardboard mastered that by 4 weeks…

So hubby built a brooder/coop outside… there is a brooder section that has a stationery heat lamp, food and water… and a door for a mini run when they get old enough and/or its warm enough outside…

So next time we hatch they will go straight out there (yeay no more dust in the sun room!) .. We have a broody that may hatch soon … so we are ready if she isnt good at keeping them warm.. (its her first time)

Sue Fischer May 11th, 2012

I love to use my wal-l in closet that has a door and is very spacious to put a large tote. My brooder is a very large Rubbermaid tote with high sides–I like to use the mesh looking rubber shelf liner for the bottom of the container, in addition to scent free shavings. Most important is the heat lamp–I make sure it is clamped to the side and in addition, I have a cord affixed to the clamp that hangs above and tied…so if the clamp comes undone and loosens and the light drops, it doesn’t go anywhere. No house fires!! I like the standard waterer with the red base and the standard little red feeder with the openings. I keep the feed and water away from the light…and I make sure the peeps have temperature choices–do they want to be in the hottest part of the brooder, or the coolest, or in the middle. Important to choose a brooder area large enough so that the peeps can instinctively choose… I have that peeps who are very noisy are probably either too hot or too cold…temperature is so important. I have been incubating eggs on and off for 5 years. I do not currently have an incubator and would like to start back up again with new peeps, as my flock current flock is over 5 years old.

Gwen May 11th, 2012

Congrats. I’m very excited for you.

Sue Fischer May 11th, 2012

I love to use my walk-in closet that has a door and is very spacious to put a large tote. My brooder is a very large Rubbermaid tote with high sides–I like to use the mesh looking rubber shelf liner for the bottom of the container, in addition to scent free shavings. Most important is the heat lamp–I make sure it is clamped to the side and in addition, I have a cord affixed to the clamp that hangs above and tied…so if the clamp comes undone and loosens and the light drops, it doesn’t go anywhere. No house fires!! I like the standard waterer with the red base and the standard little red feeder with the openings. I keep the feed and water away from the light…and I make sure the peeps have temperature choices–do they want to be in the hottest part of the brooder, or the coolest, or in the middle. Important to choose a brooder area large enough so that the peeps can instinctively choose… I have that peeps who are very noisy are probably either too hot or too cold…temperature is so important. I have been incubating eggs on and off for 5 years. I do not currently have an incubator and would like to start back up again with new peeps, as my flock current flock is over 5 years old.

Leslie Cates May 11th, 2012

OMG so cute! I am going to have to get an incubator regardless of whether I win or not, but I hope I win so it won’t take so long! Congratualtions on your hatchlings. They are simply adorable. I now have to add lavender orpingtons to my list since this baby is so beautiful. thanks for sharing your blog, it was almost like having them myself. Good luck with your future hatchings!

Patrick May 11th, 2012

I use one that my great great uncle built in a barn many years ago. Just give it a fresh cleaning with some new bedding and it’s ready to go!

Steve May 11th, 2012

Yay!

Leslie Burton May 11th, 2012

I use a huge Rubbermaid brooder for my chicks when I buy them. I buy pine pellets and set up the 250W heat lamp. Then I fill up the feeder and water, then add chicks!! I’d love love love to be able to hatch some with my own incubator someday!

Evonne Burris May 11th, 2012

to prepare my brooder, i hose it out, clean it up and make sure all the feeders and waterers are clean and that i have fresh heat lamp bulbs…

Happy Mother’s Day!!!

Promise May 11th, 2012

Oh no! I forgot to say how I prepare my brooder! Can you discount the previous entry? Since we’ve only ever had four to six chicks at a time we use a dark blue Rubbermaid container with pine shavings, and then we cut a slit on the side so the watered goes through there (so it doesn’t take up as much room and stays cleaner too!), and then I also like to put in a nice well-worn shirt of mine at one end for them to snuggle up with and a nice 2×2 across the other end to practice roosting with.

Amy Kehoe May 11th, 2012

I have a large galvanized wash tub, that I put straw into, hang a heat lamp above, and put waterers and feeders in as well. They stay there a few days to get their bearings and learn to eat and drink, then out to the garage brooder. I am constantly brooding something out there, whether it be eggs I’ve hatched or day old chicks from a hatchery. I do like them inside though for the first few days, easier to watch, plus we all like hearing the first little peeps. 🙂

Jessica shatley May 11th, 2012

What a beautiful batch!!! On a normal basis i set up my brooder in a back room st the house, we don’t have a good basement or garage to set them up in so a back room is what we use. Honestly I like that better, that way I know that its not too hot our too cold where the brooder is set. Then I set up my heat lamp on something I can adjust the height easily on and turn it on good and early so the box is nice and warm. Also that way I know at the right time if its too hot our cold in the box as well. I can’t wait to have babies again its killing me!i can’t wait to see who wins!

Kyle Bowser May 11th, 2012

I repurposed some wooden boxes I found in the attic, probably 3’x3′ once I combined two of the boxes! I use a clamp on heat lamp, have an extra incase something goes wrong and 2 backup bulbs!! 2 waterers and a long chick feeder and VOILA!!! I have a dozen 5 day old chicks in there as I type!! I cover the bottom with paper towels to give them some traction for there little feet, and just today I added some shavings, they are already practicing there foraging skills, so cute! Each morning I roll all the paper towels up and put new stuff in!!

Kiernan Hamilton May 11th, 2012

Yay! They are very cute. Would love to hatch my own!

Laura May 11th, 2012

This was very neat and exciting to read. Our 21st day of our very first hatch is this monday! I think I will be on pins and needles as you were! Thank you for sharing.

Rosemary May 11th, 2012

Can’t wait to share this with my daughter. She wants to do eggs so bad but we are not set up. I told her next year maybe if we have an incubator. So glad u had some luck!

Trisha May 11th, 2012

That is so super exciting! Fifteen new babies! I use a big plastic tub, a hanging heat lamp, a brick to put under the water to keep it out of the bedding and a chick feeder. In just a few days I put in little tray of dirt for them to do their bathing. Baby chick bathing is so cute.

Heather Braden May 11th, 2012

That is so wonderful, I am very happy for your new additions. I would have done the exact same dance when I saw them hatching.

Chel May 11th, 2012

Brooder prep is lamp on, bedding laid, and waterer filled. I also put out a little food. All ready and warm for my babies ahead of time! I dip their beaks in the water before I put them in.

Sherry Bowen May 11th, 2012

Congrats on the hatching going on, they are the cutest little chicks, I would l love to win that incubator so I can have this same experience. Awesome beautiful like chicks.

Melissa May 11th, 2012

Congratulations!!! My brooder is a giant rubbermaid tub with a cutout in the lid replaced with hardware cloth, a red lamp and homemade roosts which my babies love! I’m itching to use it again already!

cindy bowman May 11th, 2012

congraulations on your hatch. i was following you and was excited to hear most of them hatch. i love hatching baby chicks and raising them myself so once again CONGRAULATIONS

Leanne See-Garcia May 11th, 2012

Your chicks are just lovely! Congratulations on your successful hatch!

Elizabeth May 11th, 2012

Hi, my brooder is a huge Rubbermaid water trough 🙂 I put paper towels down first and then when they’re older pine shavings.

Leanne See-Garcia May 11th, 2012

Oops, hit return too soon. I have prepared a few brooders as they grow. I have a small animal enclosure with high clear sides for the first week or two and then they graduate to the largest rubbermaid tote with screening over the top. This has worked out quite well!

Christie Albertin May 11th, 2012

We now have my best brooders by far — they are simply boards 4ft x 4in x 1/2in that are hinged to make a square. I go 3 high and there’s a top and bottom. The top has two light sockets. It’s hard now to find heating lamps in my area. I just hope to find some regular 60watt bulbs for the beginning and 25watt bulbs for the end of the brooding period. I usually use wood chips bought by the medium bale. I set the chick waterer and feeder in and let my babies roam wherever the temperature takes them. I watch for huddling (I’ll add a portable heat lamp) or panting (I raise the roof door). I have plenty of room for 25 chicks for at least the first 4 weeks. By that time I can usually transfer them to a hutch I have next to my porch. The back half is mostly floored, has pastboard walls and roof and heat lamps in the ceiling. A portal allows the chicks to enter the wired cage on days when the temperature is nice. They stay there until i’m ready to introduce them to the flock. I spend a lot of time with the chicks when they are brooder age. I don’t handle them much, but I’m always checking food/water and talking to them. I love those soft colors of a new chick and can’t wait to see how they will feather out. It is so much fun being a chicken mama, especially when they come a-running (even when they are not hungry) when they see me in the garden.

Fallon Duncan May 11th, 2012

Such cute little baby’s ! Never really got to prepare for the the first time was a rush to get it set up as we’d just gotten 15 chicks when we just meant to stop and look lol And I didn’t want to jinx myself with this hatch ( lost all of my first hatch so was trying not to be overly excited about number 2 ) So I had to scavenge around for a tote so I could have these guys in the house for a bit (very protective of my first hatch-lings 🙂 )

Marilyn H. May 11th, 2012

I use a big cardboard box and a brooder lamp. Your chicks are so cute!

Elizabeth Morse May 11th, 2012

Yeah! Sure hope we get a chance to hatch at our house!

luther34 May 11th, 2012

My brooder is a big plastic tote with the little mason jar feeders and waterers and a big heat lamp clipped to the side of a chair for temperature adjustability. I set it all up before I got my chickies so I could make sure the temp was good.

Sharon May 11th, 2012

Thanks for posting your story. I have been planning what to do if I win the incubator. I have a large plastic tub with pine shavings and a heat lamp ready. I have a friend that can help me build a coop. Looking forward to starting my own flock!

Jenfa May 11th, 2012

Congrats on your new family flock! : ) I just recently got my very first 6 chicks. I’m very new to the chicken world and already in LOVE. I first ordered online 6 different breed chicks. Unfortunately they didn’t make it here in Maine alive. I was very heart broken. So I went to a local feed store and got 3 barred rocks and 3 comets all adorable of course. I made our brooder out of a plastic tote with lots of room for now but they are growing fast. My daughters and I really enjoy watching them as if we were watching a tv show. : )

Deb May 11th, 2012

We just got 17 chicks in early April. Our brooder was a large Rubbermaid tub covered with pine shavings. We laid a paper towel over the shavings for the first few days. We hung a heat lamp overhead. We placed marbles in the waterer to keep the chicks from drowning and placed both the feeder and waterer on wooden blocks to keep the pine chips out. This was all placed in the small room off of my daughter’s bedroom, so by the time they were old enough (last week) she was more than ready for them to go outside and give her room a thorough cleaning, but it must have been good enough for the chicks, because all 17 lived.

Nicole May 11th, 2012

Congrats!! =D

Cheryl Lindsay May 11th, 2012

Yeah, that is awesome!!! So excited for you, and your new chicks!!
Fingers crossed and still hoping to experience this with my daughter for ourselves, but we have enjoyed the updates. The next best thing if we can’t do it ourselves!!
🙂

Avery Robnett May 11th, 2012

I prepare my brooder by putting wood shavings in the bottom of a tub and cover the shavings with newspaper for the first couple of days then I put in a feeder and waterer and a heatlamp clamped to a chair.

Terry Russelburg May 11th, 2012

I have put my one week old babies out in the sun in an old playpen,of course with chicken wire top. They all seen to like it.

Lisa Palmer May 11th, 2012

I used two large boxes with a cut door to pass between for the chicks I bought at the feed store.Food and water on both sides, so no one cant find it. Then I add some wooden blocks for them to hop on and learn and be active. Heat lamp on both sides. Although if I brood in the summer here in Phoenix, I would put it in the garage and only use the lamp at night!

Danielle B May 11th, 2012

I prepare my brooder with wood shavings in the bottom of a plastic or metal tub. The newspaper on top idea is a great one! I clamp the lamp to a tall handled dust pan which stands about 3 feet high. That way I can slide the lamp higher as they need less heat. Love when they get fluffy and dry!!!!

sclinton May 11th, 2012

I don’t have a brooder. If I get an incubator and can finally hatch my own chicks, I will have to look into getting a brooder as well. Sounds like a good reason to shop!

Sandra May 11th, 2012

We actually bought a cardboard box that says “backyard brooder” on it! Haha, I know, it’s embarrassing that we couldn’t even come up with a cardboard box…but we aren’t good at getting things done and so I thought that would be the easiest way to insure we were actually set up when the chicks came 😉 We have a heat lamp over it (way above it as it seems to hold in a lot of heat) and of course pine shavings, and the typical chick feeder and waterer. Plus, a couple of toys my cats never played with, haha. And a roost bar of course!

Kristin May 11th, 2012

I have a wooden brooder my hubby build for me. I use corn-cob bedding instead of shavings because they weigh more and don’t seem to get kicked into the feeder and water as much. I also have an brinsea eco-brooder 20, which I love ’cause I’m paranoid about burning down the house with heat lamps!

Congrats on a great hatch!

Karen May 11th, 2012

Congrats !
My brooder has been upgraded from a big cardboard box to a extra large plastic storage bin. I use pine shavings which I cover with paper towls for the first 2 days so the chicks don’t eat the shavings. Someone told me they use those no slip shelf liners with the little holes in them you can get at the dollar store. To prevent sprade legs. I might try that next time. I have a red heat lamp hung over one end. I put a remote thermometer in it so I always know with a glance what the temp is from anywhere in my house. I use chick feeder and water fonts with the screw on jars. I give them bottled room temp spring water for the first 2 weeks then they get filtered tap. I give them chick starter and on day one I give them grow gel. Oh and the most important thing is I keep it in my bedroom. Yes I’m an over protective mom.

Elisha May 11th, 2012

So adorable! I set up my brooder box my husband made and it works great. It is on legs, just high enough for the little kiddos to peek in 🙂 Shavings down, water dish with marbles in it (just to be safe….) and crushed crumbled chick starter on a paper plate. Heat lamp hangs from above on whatever we can find to make it the right height. Nothing beats watching the little ones run around. I can not wait to have a Brinsea that I will be able to watch every single moment of a hatch- just as you did. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

L Fleming May 11th, 2012

What a miracle! You were so lucky to get to witness all of those wonderful creatures coming into the world. Most of us can only hope to catch a little glimpse of that now and then at a state fair. When I prep my brooder for the first time, I will call all of my experienced farm women friends over to eat some coffee cake and celebrate the new fluff babies, and then I will heed all of their advice as I step gingerly into the job of raising some happy urban chickens! Thanks for the fun blog and the great contest. Can’t wait to see who the lucky winner is!

Jennifer Solano May 11th, 2012

I don’t have my brooder set up yet, getting things ready now. I have eggs in the incubator that have 1 more week til their hatch date. I ordered eggs thru the mail so I’ll be happy with any hatching.

Lisa May 11th, 2012

Great job those lil’ gals did.
I always hear great results from the products brinsea has.
To prepare for a hatch, which I have never done, but am anxious to do…I would start with a Brinsea incubator and fertile eggs from MPC.
That’s how I’d get ready for a hatch….

Martha Whisman May 11th, 2012

How exciting!! I so wish I could hatch eggs with my grandkids!

S. E. Parker May 11th, 2012

congratulations on your hatchlings!! I haven’t hatched my own but have bought peeps …. my brooder is a large clear plastic tote lined with pine shavings, a brooder lamp, water & feeder with chick starter….. Yes, they stay in the warm kitchen next to the dog’s water and food bowl, they grow up already knowing the dog ( a hound mix ) and get along famously… the two newest chicks follow the dog as if she’s the mama hen…tooo cute ! Next move is into a dog crate that I keep in the garage, after they are big enough so as not to escape through the wire. On nice days I let them free range during the day and watchfully mix with the older hens. At night they put themselves back in their cage, I close the garage door, everyone is safe and sound…. In about another month they will be big enough to move into the main coop…..and yes I would love to have an incubator and do this straight from the egg ! kinda from the inside out… =)

Megan Work May 11th, 2012

I get chicks in the mail and I use a large rubber storage tub, the kind with a lid. I put air holes on the side, cut out the middle of the lid, and fasten wire/screen over that hole (we have cats!). So the heat gets in threw the screen, I can take the lid off the feed and water them, and its so easy to sanitize when I’m done! I love it. Plus they work great if you have to transport animals in the car.

Caroline Galbraith May 11th, 2012

How exciting!!! Congrats! I hope you get a lot of hens too, they are a miricle! I want to do my own hatching with my daughter too! Hopefully I’ll win! 🙂

Elizabeth Reeves May 11th, 2012

What a great hatch!

I have done a few methods preparing brooders. I actually like to keep them in a box with the heat lamp overhead. My favorite surface to put them on is either a really old towel (’cause I’ll end up throwing it away) or shavings. I love the little pile they make together, all snuggled up together.

I also keep the heat lamp to one side so, if they get too hot they can move away. Most ducks/geese I’ve hatched tend to crowd the lamp, while the chicks seem to give the lamp a little more space.

What beautiful chickies!

Heather Harris May 11th, 2012

I have to thank you for your blog. It was so much a joy to following along with you as you waited for your hatch. The pictures of your new baby peeps, well that was just awsome. I haven’t hatched eggs but I just received 11 baby chicks on wed 5-9-12. I use a small baby swimming pool, a ladder to hang my heat lamp, a water despencer, a feeder and pine shavings on the bottom. This gives them plenty of room to move around and the babies love pecking the decorating water bubbles. It takes care of two problems at once, keeps them occupied and helps keep them from pecking eachother. I have brooded two batches of chicks this way and it seems to work just fine. It’s not fancy I know but the babies don’t know that lol Heather

Elizabeth May 11th, 2012

75% hatch rate is amazing! I get my brooder ready by first cutting the boxes apart and taping them together. I next put down paper towels which will be replaced in 4-5 days. I fill up the feeder and water, the day they are suppost to hatch. I have a EcoGlo so I don’t have to have a red brooder light, or any other gadgets. Its easy sailing from then on.

Candyce Ramon May 11th, 2012

CONGRADS!!
I use a see thru plastic tote–put down paper towels that are raised so they have a foot hold on them. Little round feed & waterer with a plate on top. Large clip on light with a long neck that I can raise up or down. Change it twice a day, easy to roll up paper towels & replace.
When chicks are about two weeks, I move them to the chicken coop. (If not really cold out.) Have a large cage set up with cut hay, feed, water & a brooding light. Space is apart from chickens. I also have it covered around with plastic.
Oh, and a radio too—they have been inside hearing the tv, so it calms them. This way they can also get the chicken sounds too.

Judy Moser May 11th, 2012

The brooder I use is the same as the brooder I use for the wildlife rescue ducklings I foster,a large Rubbermaid storage tub equiped with a screen top for the light/heat source. I do use chick feeder and waterers though but the feather duster seems to work well for the chicks as it does for the ducklings.

Bobbie Clark May 11th, 2012

Congrats on the great hatch!
As for my brooder… I built a 4×6 brooder with a divider that I can separate it into a 4×4 or a 2×4 section. Or, I can open it up for a large number of chicks. It has a hardware cloth lid w/ hinges on it. When my chicks first hatch, they stay in the sunroom for a week or two in a large tote before I move them outside to the big brooder. I use flake pine shavings, a red heat lamp and chick waterers/feeders.

Lindelle Shaw May 11th, 2012

How exciting!. I have 4 eggs that are White leghorn hens with White bantam rooster for parents. Will be interesting to see what they look like. Just put them in the incubator last Saturday, but you can see them developing.

vanessa May 11th, 2012

I use a large Rubbermaid container with a heat lamp, pine shavings, along with feeders and waterers. Congrats on the new chicks, way too cute.

Michelle Bowen May 11th, 2012

Yay! I am glad you got at least a few of the ones you wanted:) My brooder is usually a rubbermaid container with newspaper on the bottom to absorb liquids, then usually alfalfa hay on top of that so they don’t play slip’n’slide. I use a chick feeder and waterer and then a brooder lamp attached to the top at an angle so they have a nice warm corner but also a corner that is not in direct light so they can get away from the heat. As our chicken family grows I hope to build a “proper” brooder with wood and screen on the top.

Pam May 11th, 2012

How amazing! Thank you for taking us on your hatching journey. We will be getting day-old chicks shipped, but you have made me want to try hatching too! Our brooder setup will probably be a giant clear Tupperware container, at least while the chicks are still small. We still have to get the heat lamp, feeder, waterer, and bedding but will be ready for their arrival in June!

K.C. Cowen May 11th, 2012

I use the Styrofoam incubator and whistle to my chicks while they are still in the shell. I also talk to them when I hear them peeping back. I use a 4 ft square wooden whelping box as a brooder with an overhead lamp for heat and pine bedding. When they hatch, they look at me as if they know who I am because they recognize my voice and whistle, just like they do when they create that bond with the clucking hen. So, I guess I am the Mother Hen.

Michelle Lynn Benge May 11th, 2012

Aww….I want more babies!!! They’re all grown up now. But I’m still working on my five little birds of unknown breed. I think they’re starlings, no matter they were without a mommy. Be flying away soon!!

Tonya Scott May 11th, 2012

First of all congratulations!!!!!!! My brooder consist of 2 clear totes i cut the sides off and put them together with rivets (or the hubby did) to make 1 large tote i like the clear so that they learn not to be scared when i walk up to them the first week i put papertowels in the bottom until the chicks learn what the food is i just dont like them eating the shavings and things untill they get a little older and understand things better but ive seen the shaving in other peoples and they do fine just my personal preference after about a week they get shavings I have a heat bulb (would love to have the new brooder that is not a light because i do worry about the heat lamp) over them and a teddy bear for them to snuggle on when they first hatch they love it and it makes them fluff out faster. I have a screen from a window to block the door to the room they are in I have a cat and if the chicks fly out and get on the floor she wouldnt mind taking care of them for me 🙂 after they get a few weeks old or start to fly out they get moved out to the garage to a very big box and when they get some feathers not just fluff i start taking them outside in the morning in a large cage and bring them in every evening and when they fully feather they get put in a pin outside for a couple of weeks to get use to it then i start letting them out at lunch and after a while i start letting them out all day. New chicks are always great to see and watch them learn its so fun. Tonya

Deleith Campos May 11th, 2012

Our brooder right now is a cage with the lower portion having wood around it to keep heat in. We have a heat lamp secured VERY well to keep it from falling or getting knocked down ( to be safe) Our heat lamp can be adjusted as needed as the chickies grow. Inside the cage we have bedding to accommodate the lil ones and help them get around and not slip and slide. We are adding on to our existing coop and will be making a permanent brooder set up with easy access and all permanent fixtures like a nursery.

April Brown May 11th, 2012

congrates on such a wonderful blessing they are so cute! I can’t wait until the day I get this chance with my own chickens. They truely are amazing and great pics we loved each one thank you.

Wendy S May 11th, 2012

Our brooder is ready and steady a few days before the hatch. Food and water are placed in when the chicks are put in (which in my case is when I bring them home from wherever I bought them)… I have never had any of my own eggs hatch 🙁

I hope I win!

Sue C May 11th, 2012

We tried twice this year to hatch some chicken eggs in my classroom with no success so it is very exciting to see someone else’s successful hatch!

Kimberly Sanders May 11th, 2012

Yay! Babies!! I have a large Rubbermaid bin, lay paper towels or newspaper down, and straw over that. I have some chick waterer and feeders in there with a heat lamp overhead. Right now my 6 week old silkie is in there because the bugger chicks pick on him 🙁 but I’m building a larger coop and enclosure to accommodate my flock plus the chickens I’m rescuing (just waiting on the call).

Nick Belton May 11th, 2012

I built a 4′ x 4′ brooder out of some netting and wooden stakes. Covered the bottom with some bedding and set up a heat lamp and temp gauge and just let the little peepers hop and play.

Rachel G May 11th, 2012

Congrats on all your new bitties!!! We got a gigantic tote, put a heat lamp on it, fill it with nice fluffy bedding, lots of food, water, and love!!

Mellissa May 11th, 2012

How sweet! My 5 year old daughter was very excited to see the pictures of the chicks hatching. I told her that we would get an incubator this summer so that we could do that too and she was very happy. I have never had an incubator before or a brooder but I plan to purchase both very shortly. I would prepare them both by setting them up ahead of time and checking to make sure everything worked, reading any instructions so I knew how to operate it (if there is anything more complicated than plugging it in) and finding that perfect spot to put it. I am looking at getting a nice brooder that I can safely put in the house because the summers here hit 120F+ sometimes and would like to get some more babies soon.

Torrie May 11th, 2012

Congrats! The babies are adorable!

Jenner Dunn May 11th, 2012

Oh my I want the incubator soooooooooooooo soooooooooooooooooooooo soooooooooooooooooooooooo bad I hope I win! 🙂

Paula Langhorst May 11th, 2012

I set up my first brooder this year. I stock tank with wood shaving, fresh water and yummy food. Congrats on your babies!

Jenner Dunn May 11th, 2012

I prepare my brooder by 30 or 40 minutes of the chicks coming or hatching (coming in the case because I have never hatched). I start by checking that the brooder box is clean and I put paper towels down on top of the mesh wire. Then I put the water in not where the heat lamp is because I don’t want hot water, and I put the feeder with feed in it, where the water is not. Finally I turn on the red heat lamp. Gee I can’t wait to see who wins! 🙂

Laura Spinale May 11th, 2012

So Cool!

Cheryl Martin May 11th, 2012

I had 21 eggs in lockdown and they hatched on the 9th. happy to say 16 hatched but only one of the silkies we have been wanting so badly. But the silkie hen has gone broody and is sitting on 8 of her own eggs and 9 eggs of the sultan/serama cross hen that shares her pen. Hopefully she will do better than the incubator did. I’m finding that the silkie eggs have a thicker shell and a tougher mebrane and the chicks have a lot of trouble getting out. Maybe with mama’s help.

Janetta Dobler May 11th, 2012

I have a homemade 6′ x 3 1/2′ wooden brooder that is divided in two. I start out newly hatched chicks on puppy pee pads and paper towels under an EcoGlow Chick Brooder, and I put out room temperature water with some save-a-chick in it and glass marbles on the bottom, and a dish of chick starter. Once the chicks are about a week old, I put pine shavings down. The two sides allow me to keep different age chicks and because they can see through the center door, they can be put together when they are ready to go out in the coop. I also use extra large rubber bins and bunny cages to brood chicks in when the brooder is full. I do not use heat lamps and am a BIG FAN of the EcoGlow.

Hector Plaza May 11th, 2012

I’ve never hatched eggs before but, this would be a marvelous opportunity to try. Reading about it makes me want it more because it seems so special! Thanks for the chance!

Trina Andersen May 11th, 2012

Congratulations!!! When my incubator was in my kitchen I used a storage container on the dining room table with a light hung from a hook in the ceiling. Very classy. I had my cousin and family over for dinner last year when this particular setup was gracing my dining area. Perfectly normal in our house… we thought nothing of it. She was afraid to eat with chicks in the kitchen. She was sure she would get Salmonella poisoning (seriously). My husband has since built me an incubation/brooding room in our barn. Insulated, heated and has a raised brooder for the little babes. I can safely invite my paranoid family over for dinner now 🙂

Jacob Bailey May 11th, 2012

Awesome story and pictures! Our first hatch is happening RIGHT NOW! We are using a Brinsea and love how it works – it has been so easy to use – it turns, it kept the temperature just perfect, the humidity was easy to manage (we don’t have the pump, but are thinking that’ll be our next purchase!). Now, the results are happening – we have one Partridge Silkie chick so far (our very first chick to hatch, ever) and another silkie is pipped and a lavender ameraucana is also pipped – this could be a long night for us!!! Congratulations on the successful hatch! Beautiful chicks!

Alicia May 11th, 2012

My brooder is one of a few things. I usually use either a larger rubbermaid tote or an old 10-20 gal fish aquirum.

First I line the bottom with old newpapers. Makes clean up easier if they dump any water out. On top of the newspaper I lay the blue shop paper towels. When they get a few days old I switch from paper towels to woodchips.

Next goes the food and the water. I typically start with the quail sized base for my waterer and move up to the standard chick size after a few days. Had a bad experience with chicks drowning at one day old in the standard size.

Finally, I add a light for heat. Voila!!!

Kelly Cassel May 11th, 2012

I use a large plastic tote for my brooder with a securely fastened heat lamp, and place it my living room so the kids can be with us all the time. I am big fan of pelleted pine bedding for bedding ( though for the first day or so I have paper towels placed on top of the bedding until the kids get their footing. The pelleted bedding absorbs moisture so much better and doesn’t have to be changed much if at all, it also seems to keep the smell to a minimum.

Krystal Tenny May 11th, 2012

My brooder is fairly simple; plastic tote, heat lamp, shavings, tiny waterer and feeder for a week or so and then they move to a larger box. They seem to grow so fast 🙂

Valerie Robinson May 11th, 2012

I’ve never hatched any chicks. However, I’ve bought chicks from “My Pet Chicken.” I use an extra large plastic storage container with very high sides. Everything is ready before picking up the babies at the post office. The wood shavings are already in place and have had the red heat lamp (clamped on the side) turned on a couple of days to get the area nice and warm for them. The water and food is added after they’ve arrived. This is all placed inside our garage. Since our cats have access to the garage, a wire panel from a dog crate is placed on top to keep the babies safe. At 3 weeks old, I place a wooden rod inside for them to get used to perching. This works out great for them. Would love to experience the entire hatching process, that would be so exciting!

Misty Smith May 11th, 2012

I have a small coop which the door opens and shuts to an enclosed wired part, which the chicks do not get to experience until they are older. I have a feeder and a waterer and I use pine shavings or corn cob bedding. They must always of course have a heat lamp and I use a red one to try to prevent pecking. Lol. I sure love my chickens and chicks when I have them. I love this site too!

JD May 11th, 2012

My husband and I have a large fish tank with bedding, a heat lamp, and food and water.

Megan Zielinski May 11th, 2012

Congrats! How excitingMy brooder is now sitting in my four season room waiting for Tuesday when it will have 4 day old chicks. I have a large box with a slightly smaller thick rubber container. A feeder & water container, red bulb up and hanging. I just need to get the shavings. I am sooo excited

Melissa C. May 11th, 2012

I’ve never hatched chicks, but have raised day olds. I set up the brooder completely, in a 30 gallon fish tank to start. The shaving, feeder, and waterer all go in and I turn on the heat lamp and let it stay on for about 12 hours, making sure it is working properly, and heating but not too hot. Then I add the chicks. They can stay in the aquarium for up to 3 weeks if their number is low, and then they all move into an old play pen with all the previous accoutrements. It works well for me!

Kelly May 11th, 2012

We use a big cardboard box for a brooder, not very fancy but the babies liked it. 🙂

Sandra May 11th, 2012

Congrats on such a great hatch! I set my brooder up in an old stock tank. I put the heat lamp at one end and a scratch box at the other. Feed and water are set up in the middle along with some pvc pipes for the chicks to start to learn to roost on! I love my chicks! i can’t wait to try to hatch out some eggs myself!

Karen S. May 11th, 2012

I only have a live brooder–a big fluffy yellow Buff Orpington ;o) and she does all the prepping.

diana May 11th, 2012

that lavender is TO CUTE!!!!!! When i get new babies i usally just get a large cardboard box, some shreaded news paper and a heat light and keep them in my bathroom. So we can spoil them and Until they get big enough to face the big world outside.

DeAnn May 11th, 2012

I used a container with a thin layer of shavings and papertowels on top for the first few days, cliped a brooder light and put a themometer in the bottom. When they got bigger I switched to a puppy pen put together to make a cage without a bottom untill the coop finally got finished being built. And the automatic chiken door is one of the best investment I ever made!

Than Angell May 11th, 2012

I set my brooder up in the coop with the adults out of scrap plywood and some chicken wire to keep the adults out and a heat lamp to keep them warm. When the chicks are old enough to mingle I just take down one panel and let them join the flock.

Lidia May 11th, 2012

Congrats! I hope to win the incubator so I can hatch my own chicks.

Cricket May 11th, 2012

We are just raising our first 6 chicks – 2 Easter Eggers, 2 Buff Orpingtons and 2 Barred Rocks. They are in a guinea pig cage but they are so big now (three weeks!) that this weekend we are making them a place in the barn. We’re making it nice and big, too. I’m pretty sure we’re going to need more cuties.

Oh, and my girls are busy placing bets on who is a he and who is a she. I keep telling them – it’s not over till the rooster crows!

Marissa May 11th, 2012

That was a good hatch! It always seems the ones you have your heart set on are not the hatchers but after a day or two you will adore the ones you have so it wont even matter! Good luck with the hen/rooster out come.. 🙂

Marissa May 11th, 2012

My husband drilled a hole in a LARGE dog kennel and put the cord to the heat lamp thru so its a nice warm safe place for my little peeps until its time to join the rest of the flock.

Sister Gabriel May 11th, 2012

I use a banana box and line it with old, soft rags, and a heat lamp. I have also found that chicks like rug samples. These I also use as they must help them stay warm and maybe have a texture that their little feet like. Water and feed is available to the chicks also.

Your chicks are absolutely adorable!

Betty Urie May 11th, 2012

It is so nice to read about your great hatch! Your chicks are beautiful! My brooder is a homemade one, wooden framed with hardware cloth sides and a thin plywood top. It is outfitted with a heat lamp, waterer, feeder and shavings. I do use shelf liner because it is somewhat sticky to aid in the chicks” getting their legs under them”. The brooder has a solid bottom which I clean with a dust pan – it works well to scoop out the shavings. I also have another brooder with a wire bottom that can be used in the barn so the droppings fall through. I did have trouble with chicks raised in this – being on the wire they were never exposed to droppings. Consequently when they were put in a pen with sawdust bedding, I lost many due to coccidiosis. Here’s to many more successful hatches!

Cindy L May 11th, 2012

We use a guinea pig cage with a light in our back bathroom. I do like to wake to the soft peeping sounds.

Beth May 11th, 2012

Yippy! Happy mothers day. Those are some cute chicks. It is so exciting to think that those little chicks will look at you and think you are mommy. I remember when I hatched quail eggs as a kid. I was so excited, it was hard to not help them. I held them in my hands for the last part of the escape and I almost cried they were so cute. Then they would follow me around the house peeping. I really want my kids to experience this.

deborah plessinger May 11th, 2012

I usually just have a few chicks so I’ll use paper towels or an old bath towel as the flooring. A bath towel gives them great traction and helps with warmth and they don’t poo enough in their first few days to make a big mess. After a few days I switch to shavings. They get a light for warmth and a little shallow container of vitamin water and chick starter once they are fluffy and start walking about. Then I dip each chicks beak in the water and they usually start drinking then. If they are making noise peeping loudly I know something needs done. They need more heat, or are wet or something. If they are happy they sit sleeping quietly or peck at the chick crumbles.

Carol Schanz May 11th, 2012

Whee! The chicks have arrived. Would love to win the Brinsea incubator so I may experience the excitement for myself!!

Dolores Becker May 11th, 2012

First let me say congatulation on your success. They are absolutly adorable.
We usually use a huge cardboard box fixed with the heating lamp,
Food and water but this time we had been given some chicks and had to use the box.So we used the bathtub in the guest bathroom. We put a towel down to help with them from slipping around and put shavings on top of that for comfort. My husband fixed it so the lamp hung from the curtain rod . The tub was big enough that if they got hot they could go to the other sidek of the tub and we kept the food and water on the other end so they would’nt walk through it.They seemed to be quite content.

Lin K. May 12th, 2012

You don’t have to wait 3 months to sex them. They are pretty easy to feather sex at about 1 week if you have several of the same breed to compare to each other. The pullets’ wings feather out noticeably faster. The rooster wings look very wimpy in comparison at one week.

Lissa May 12th, 2012

@Lin, no–unfortunately, feather sexing only works with specific lines that have been bred to be feather sexed, because the speed of feathering is dependent on the bird’s genes. If they don’t have the slow/rapid feathering genes, then you will just have random sexing results. We discuss sexing juvenile birds here on our website; you can also read about it here from the MSU extension office.

Tami Hall May 12th, 2012

After this blog I want to hatch my own eggs so bad! We are raising our first chicks, and are using a guinea pig cage that my husband added wood running up the back to attach the heat lamp too.

Brenda Davalos May 12th, 2012

I use a split lid storage tote with a light layer of dirt covered with pine shavings. I use the dirt because it absorbs the water that gets splashed out quicker (I have 6 chicks and 2 baby ducks the make a mess with the water) Because the wheather is getting warmer I have 3×4 bottemless wood box with a screen on top in the yard during the day they love running in the grass

Taryn M May 12th, 2012

Congrats on the new fluffies. They are adorable. We are on our. First batch of chickens ever and our brooder was an old chicken transport crate that we put an old metal grill tray on top of and set our heat lamp on that. Then when they outgrew that we moved them to an old baby crib that we converted into a brooder. They loved havin all the space in the crib to run around and it was much easier to clean since i could use shavings instead of paper towels that they would rip up and eat 2 mins after i changed it.

Jennifer Higgins Foster May 12th, 2012

I loved the pictures! I was so excited when I saw that the blog had been posted. I have been so excited to read the blogs and the chicks weren’t even mine. I really would like a good incubator so I could see my children’s faces, especially on hatching day! Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I hope that all the chicks do well…we always sat up those heat lamps you know with the big metal domes around them over some small boxes and increase the size of the boxes as the chicks grew.

Kay May 12th, 2012

Wow, they are all beautiful. No brooder yet but what a great excuse to start one!!

Michelle LCS May 12th, 2012

Loved reading this story! Loved each and every picture and step! Thanks for sharing. MY brooder is an extra large dog crate that my husband has fitted with an interior, smooth paneling, surround about 14″ high. In front of the crate door, he placed a clear acrylic panel so that my little grandsons can watch the chicks right at eye level! The red heat bulb is on a chain so the raising it in increments is really easy.Since it is in our garage and concrete floors can be cold and damp, he placed 2′ thick styrofoam insulation under the crate. Over the top we draped the thick, clear plastic used for paintining but left both end panels open for ventilation. Over that I placed an old patchwork denim quilt. The heat is staying at perfect levels now, The chicks are happy, growing so fast!.

Heather O'Keefe May 12th, 2012

Can I say I’m soooo jealous of you right now? Your babies are absolutely darling. And seeing them right now, really is raising my spirits at the moment. Just had to put my 17 year old corgi down, because of complications with cancer and not wanting her to suffer. Haven’t tried hatching my own yet, but my brooder set up wouldn’t be too much different from what I have already. Just using a smaller plastic tote and heating lamp set up till they’re a wee bit bigger. Food, water, and heating lamp to make sure they have the necessities for a good start in life. And me glued to the side of their brooder keeping careful watch over them to make sure they thrive. And I know my Foxy, she’d have been there playing mommy too, she always loved babies and got as sappy as me around them. And no, that’s not me using her for this entry, just my missing her and how her and I did everything together. She took to the chicks we bought two months back just as I had and was the other ‘mama hen’ in the house.

Elena Fiske May 12th, 2012

That’s the first Lavender Orpington chick I’ve ever seen – and it is really beautiful! Congratulations on such a successful hatch! What an exciting day! Yay!

Lisa May 12th, 2012

As to my brooder…it is a lg tote which my husband cut out the top and put screen and an attached pole to secure the red bulb heat lamp. There’s medi chick food ready and waiting and a special water mix. Water is in a plant saucer with flat marbles in it and the food is in a plastic egg tray for easy access.
Heat is at 90-100 degrees ready and waiting for when I bring them home.
Then I hope that they all make it.

Heather Schleifer May 12th, 2012

I use an old ferret cage I had kept for some reason from years ago, These chicks must have been why ??? Nice warm pine bedding, would be first, I then would make sure the temp was proper, and free from drafts,food and fresh water at all times, just waiting to receive those little peeping bundles of joy.
And of course some of this…quoted from you, “Don’t tell anyone, but I did a little dance around the kitchen, consisting of awkward kicks, sort of a cross between the Snoopy happy dance and the Elaine Benice seizure dance. Luckily, my husband wasn’t up yet.”
I would do the same thing, except I’d get caught doing it. Lol.

Jan O. May 12th, 2012

Congratulations!! What cute babies! I love incubating and hatching. I made my brooder out of a large clear plastic tote. Half of the top is cut away. Hardware cloth is duct taped over that half. For the first few days I use paper towels on the bottom then change to shavings. I put in the waterer with a quail waterer bottom. I have Silkies and some are so small. I don’t want them to drown in the larger chick waterer. After a few days I change to the larger one. In goes a small saucer of feed. I put a 100-125 watt bulb in the brooder lamp and set that directly on top of the wire. I never put it inside the tote. My brooder is in my front room so that I can keep an eye on them. After 2-3 weeks they are moved to a bigger wooden brooder in the chicken barn.

Brenda May 12th, 2012

haa they are sooooo cute I want to do this !

Cheryl Penninger May 12th, 2012

We made a huge wooden brooder (6 feet long, 3 feet wide and 3 feet tall). My 6 chicks are almost 4 weeks old and still have plenty of room. The brooder is kept in the garage to help moderate the temp with a 150 watt heat lamp. Between my son and I, we check on them about 50 times a day ! It’s so exciting to watch them grow. This is our first try at raising chickens and we have been very pleased, but we would LOVE to hatch some.

Irene fernandez May 12th, 2012

How egg citing! I would love to have some lavender orps! Maybe MPC will offer them next year . Hatching your own must be so amazing.

Jill Boling May 12th, 2012

Awwww! They’re so cute! I can’t wait until I become a chicken breeder and get to experience this all the time! ;D

christi May 12th, 2012

I just finished my first hatch with at borrowed still air incubator. I live in the city limits so I was desperate to determine what chicks were hens so I would know which to keep. I am thrilled to tell you that it is so easy to do. At day 3 or 4 look at the chicks wings at the emerging feathers. Females have two rows of emerging feathers and males only one. It was surprisingly easy to tell. I have one roo and 7 hens. I also read that the hens get their tail feathers first and that is confirming my sexting results! So easy, who knew! No more getting attached to those cockerels just to have to give them away! Good luck!

Niikki May 12th, 2012

I have an old horse feed trough that works perfectly once some hay is added 😉

Deb S May 12th, 2012

Congrats on your hatch!!! My chicks are going thru what I like to call their goofy looking pre-teen stage. Lots of feathers sticking out everywhere and lots of long legs!!! lol My brooder is a small cage with a plastic bottom and a wire top. I love it because I can set the heat lamp right on top. The first few days I line it with paper towels. I have tried other things in the past like corn cob bedding (that looks too much like their food) and wood chips (which are too big). I use a small bottle waterer and a jar lid for their food. I love the time right after a hatch because I keep this brooder in the room off my kitchen. I love listening to them “talk “to me all day.

Marie K May 12th, 2012

Yay! What suspense. I have been checking back several times a day to see the results (my way to watch your incubator). Next time I’d love for you to webcam it:)
My kids and I have been research the brooder step. So far we have pine shavings, a waterer and feeder. I have an old barnyard trough that I can use from my grandmother’s, but perhaps we will go with the rubbermade like the majority here. I plan to order an ecoglow for heat, wooden dowels of varius sized for roosting training, and my son has picked out a babycake to add. This first batch of chicks will be spoiled!

Prajna Faux May 12th, 2012

Wow! The pictures are amazing! I’ve never incubated eggs, but I would like to give it a try. As far as a brooder goes, I use a cardboard box with hardware cloth on the top. I set the heat lamp on top of the hardware cloth. I start with a very small box for the first week, then move up to a larger one as the chicks grow and need more space, height, and less heat. A taller box allows the heat lamp to be higher up, and the chicks have room to climb on small roosting branches and stretch their wings without hitting the lamp. I like to use sand in my brooder and scoop it with a sifter. This also allows me to give the chicks little treats because the sand functions as grit as well. The chicks seem to love the sand – my last batch started dust bathing at one week old!

Judy E May 12th, 2012

What a fun blog to read, Lissa! This makes me want to try hatching eggs myself.

I’m looking forward to my first chicks this summer. First I need to get the coop and brooder all ready. I’m anxious to read what others say about setting up brooders.

Thanks for you run blogs,
Judy

Lindsey Turner May 12th, 2012

Yay! Congrats on the hatch! I love watching those little babies make their way out of the egg. It really is amazing what those little guys go through. I just have a brooder cage with a heat lamp for my chicks. Hasn’t failed me yet lol

corey dull May 12th, 2012

I feed my brooder! Ha! Well. Ok, only when my ladies feel up to it but I always have one ready just in case of emergency adoption or a rejected chick. I would love to hatch my own some day! I’ve read Brinsea was the best but can’t afford it. Hope I win! I would love the test eggs too!

Shannon Krogmann May 12th, 2012

First thing i do to get my brooder going is to power wash it out with hot water to make sure it is very clean. Then i line the floor with fresh sawdust. Put a chicken feeder and a chicken waterer in there. Also hang two heat lamps cause my brooder is a little big 🙂 Not too far i put their chick starter in feeder and the fresh water cause baby chicks love to stay close to the heat sorse for awhile. Then when i add my babies to the brooder first thing i do is always dip the chicks beak in the water. I learned the hard way this helps prevent pasting. Which pasting means poop on babies butt and the poop gets stuck to the vent so baby chicks cant pass the poop away 🙁 very sad!

Melody Ludwick May 12th, 2012

I start with a good cleaning, starting with a bleach water scrub. Then I take it outside to let the sun do its magic germ killing, and drying. Then I bring it in once it is clean, and wash it again with a good antibacterial soap and water, then back outside for more drying and sanitizing with the sun.
After those two cycles, I turn on the brooder approximately 16 days into the incubation. ( I have had some hatch early and I want to be prepared) And then wait for the peeps and the pipping.
I would love to win the incubator.

Lucille Heidelmark May 12th, 2012

I haven’t started chicks in a long time, went to Tractor Supply for baby chicks but I missed their Chick Days. Would like to trying incubating again. Sometime ago when I received chicks in the mail, I used a very large cardboard box and a heat lamp on one end. Plain wood shavings, chick feeder and waterer, with added chick starter and electrolytes.

Brandy Noody May 12th, 2012

My current brooder (for my day old quail) consists of a small plastic tote. It has a layer of paper towels on the bottom, since they need good footing for their feet to develop properly. It also has a small jar lid with crushed feed in it and another lid filled with marbles and them water (so the little ones don’t drown in the water). The red heat lamp is clipped to a nearby lamp at just the right height. It’s a warm and toasty 100 degrees in there. My day old babies are seen either sleeping soundly or scurrying around like bumblebees.

E.A. Montgomery May 12th, 2012

I read this post before bed and had dreams of chicks hatching! Maybe it’s my future? ^_~

amanda l May 12th, 2012

My brooders have always been simple, bedding light a lond food/water, with lots of love comming from the family!

Gosh! This has made me just so excited about hatching, and shows me that I must get a better incubator! No more homemades!

*awsome pictures by the way!

gracie May 12th, 2012

how cute i am chick craving right now i need some soft cuddly cuteness right about now

Michaelle May 12th, 2012

we’ve only used our brooder one time so far. We prepared it ( a large rubber maid type tote) by cleaning it and lining it with wood shavings. Then we put in a waterer with marbles in it and put food in a pile on the brooder floor. then we put a wire cloth cover on it and put a heat lamp on that. All this talk of brooders and chicks makes me want to do that again real soon.

Jan DeBack May 12th, 2012

Congrats on your successful hatch! 75% is an awesome hatch rate. You are a proud “mama”. Enjoy your babies. 🙂

Tami Hall May 13th, 2012

Where can you find Lavender orpingtons? They are so cute

Brenda May 13th, 2012

Yay! They are very cute. Would love to hatch my own! hope they were all born with all there fingers : ) ……. And toes and healthy tee hee

Mary R May 13th, 2012

Happy Mother’s Day!!! Nothing more special than watching a miracle unfold. Can you imagine a life from an egg in 21 days!

Colleen v May 13th, 2012

So sweet! Happy Mday! My brooder is a cardboard circle. & a plastic drop cloth w chips and papertowels or pup pads! A heat lamp of course and 2x each of waterers and feeders though I’m prob late for entering 😉

Wan-Chi Punga May 13th, 2012

Congrats on the newly hatched chicks!!! This was my first year raising my own chicks and I used an old wood chest as the brooder with a red heat lamp and pine shavings. I covered the top with a screen that I could take on and off. My chicks are now old enough to be outside and the weather has been beautiful here in Seattle (shock!!) so there are getting plenty of sunshine

Cara S May 13th, 2012

Congratulations!! I borrowed my brooding box from a very nice friend. Then lined it with fluffy pine bedding. I put up the heating lamp and drop in the thermometer. Then I waited for a bit to make sure I had the right temp. Once the chicks arrived I added water and food!

Kemp Cove May 13th, 2012

Have not prepared one yet as I haven’t hatched anything yet, but I cannot wait to win this and then hatch my own! So many good tips listed here!

anke May 13th, 2012

Reading this blog and seeing the cute pictures make me want to hatch some eggs again after 2 years without not hatching so badly.
In the past I have always set up my brooder in a spare bedroom while the chicks were hatching. Still have all the brooder equipment, just a great new incubator is missing…..

Laura Jones May 13th, 2012

How special to have your very own babies. Maybe someday I will give it a try but need that awesome incubator!

Tricia K. May 13th, 2012

Congrats on your hatch. When I did my first hatch I had to think of a way to make a brooder my dog and cat couldn’t get in. But that my daughter could still see the baby chicks so my husband suggested an old bird cage I got at a garage sale. The babies did great in there. My daughter could watch the chicks and my cat loved watching them. I didn’t need a very big one at the time because only 2 hatched. (They were the only fertile ones every other egg was clear) I put in water with small rocks in so that they couldn’t drown and food on a tuppawear lid. I put wood shavings. But I changed that to just a towel for the second hatch that I did. They were constantly kicking the wood shavings into the water.

Brenda May 13th, 2012

pick me please have you picked yet? I soooo want to hatch my own the magic of life would be so cool to see.

Tim S. May 13th, 2012

Hope I win, I really want some more chicks!

Karen Doll May 13th, 2012

We prepare our brooder using a large rubbermaid bin, hooking up a heat lamp on a ladder over the bin, setting up the food and waterer and laying a thermometer in the center of the bin to record temperature first thing in the morning. The post office always calls us after lunch ! So, we know that when that call comes, our little chick house will be warm and cozy !!!!
Great pics ! I am hoping to be able to post my own picks if I am chosen to win the Brinsea Incubator !!!! Hoping, Hoping, Hoping !!!
Happy Mother’s Day !!!!!!

Kim May 13th, 2012

We take brown butcher paper folded in half and form it into a large circle. It is easier to deal with than corrugated cardboard for us. We fill it 2-3 inches with pine bark, a drown free water dish and crumbles, placing some feed on a paper towel to motivate scratching. Of course, we have a red heat lamp suspended from above to keep it nice and toasty warm. We keep it in our garage and make it all on a board of home insulation to keep the cold from the concrete from seeping in. We clean once a week, and add paper to the sides when more room is needed. By the time they can fly to roost on the sides of the paper, they are ready for the coop. We love our chickie-doos!

Ashley C May 13th, 2012

Congrats on your hatchlings! We are new to chickens and our first chicks are now what I refer to as teenagers. It has been a great experience so far. We brood our chicks in the garage. They have a large area with plenty of room to move around and a small branch that I keep low to the ground for them to ‘roost’ on if they want to. I noticed most of our chicks liked to jump on top of the water container though! I would love to share the experience of hatching chicks with my kids and teaching them about the process.

Marilynn Britton May 14th, 2012

Congratulations you got new babies for Mother’s day. When I brooded my baby chickens I used a reflector lamp in a cardboard box. I miss raising baby chickens. I would love to do so again. But in the city I would have to use an incubator and get my eggs from somewhere else because I can’t keep any roosters.

Lori S May 14th, 2012

Brooder????? Well you just never know what will be in Grandma’s bathtub!!!!!!!!I I have an extra shower curtain rod to hang lights from and 2 plastic totes, that work just slick…..Oh and the bathroom,,,
.it seems to be a very central place, with alot of bonding time…….

Laura Jenkins May 14th, 2012

Congrats on the great hatch…I did not do so well this year. Had a broody black copper and a friend gave me some eggs. To make a long story short…I thought the dozen eggs were too much for her so I put 6 in my incubator and really worked on the humidity this year. None of the eggs that I put in the incubator hatched and my momma was able to hatch three of her six. Last year when I was a novice and did not fuss with the incubator as much I did much better….oh well…there are always more eggs and my birthday is coming up…just what every girl needs for her birthday!!!!!

Carly Morganwalp May 15th, 2012

Our brooder is a plastic bin/box. We cut out the lid and put chicken wire it in instead. Then we put the heat light on what they call a reptile light post. Worked out very well for us and our chicks loved it!

Beth Clure May 17th, 2012

I have a box with a clamp light attached to the side. Congrats on the new hatches. Also Congrats to the winner of this contest.

Jan Rothe July 29th, 2012

Congratulations, I am hoping some of my eggs will hatch in the next day or two. I’m trying it the natural way. I had a broody hen so, I got some eggs from a friend that has a rooster. Tomorrow is 21 days. When I was collecting eggs from the other hens, I thought I heard a chirp!!!!! I was so tempted to check under my hen but, I read not to disturb her after day 16 so I just have to wait!!!!

Chick_mama Jnet March 5th, 2013

I feed my “brooder” extra treats while she is setting :). I haven’t used an incubator or brooder for about 8 years! Would love to have them so I can choose the breeds and times of the year :))

Janet Limer March 5th, 2013

I get so excited to watch baby chicks hatch out. I haven’t had the pleasure to own a incubator yet…but want one so badly . I have been raising chickens most of my life ( I’m 62 ) and always enjoyed them. I have a few Slikies now and they are laying. I guess I’ll get more chicks from the feed stores. 🙂

Kim March 19th, 2013

Oh! I don’t have the money for a heat lamp. How could you make a brooder with out one?

Lissa March 20th, 2013

You must have a heat source, since baby chicks will die at our comfortable room temperature. Read more about baby chick care on our website here.

Kim March 21st, 2013

OMG! I’d better get one!!!! I am SO dumb! I should of known! At least there’s still time before LOCKDOWN.

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