After doing it the easy way and buying six pullets (female chicks) from Tractor Supply, I was talked into hatching my own eggs. The friend who did this cajoling gave us about 20 eggs from his own coop and also lent us an incubator.
Things were going swimmingly until day 17 – which is a crucial day in egg hatching, because that’s the home stretch. Eggs will generally begin to hatch on days 18 through 25, but on average day 21 is the sweet spot.
On day 17 the incubator decided to go haywire, and all of a sudden my heretofore steady temperature skyrocketed to dangerously high levels… my eggs were in danger of being cooked. I lifted the lid, cracked all the vents, added more sponges to maintain the humidity and managed to get things temporarily back on track.
In the meantime I went in search of another incubator. Tractor Supply to the rescue!
Because my temps were high, most of the chicks hatched on day 18.
Out of the 17 chicks that were viable, I hatched about 7. It was disappointing to some extent, but I was amazed that I hatched any because of the incubator glitch.
In fact, it was a better hatch rate than our friend had ever achieved – I was now the egg hatching queen!
So when my friend approached me about hatching more I agreed to try because this time he promised me Australorps and Americaunas, and one little Sebright egg (which unfortunately wasn’t fertilized). This time I hatched 22 out of 28 eggs; the new incubator worked flawlessly.
That batch produced the promised Australorps and Americaunas, and I got a Maran, an Olive Egger and one that has a face with puffy feathery cheeks. But my favorite surprise were the two painted roosters. I don’t know if that’s a term or if I made it up, but that’s what I call them.
This is Renoir. He has a cousin, Dali, who looks similar, but Dali doesn’t have feathers on his feet.
Aside from his looks, I love his temperament. He isn’t aggressive toward the other roos, doesn’t seem rough with the hens, and he’ll get close to me but he’s friendly. I can’t pick him up and pet him, but he doesn’t see me as a threat and respects me. He’s perfection.
I wish I knew what amalgamation of chicken he is but all I can say for certain is that he has an Australorp tail. The rest baffles me because I don’t know what his parents were. What I do know is that he’s gorgeous and mother nature is the best artist of us all.