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Incubator Report

Colonel's Blog, Earthdate 15 March 2023...

Hey Y'all!

Good Wednesday morning from Free Missouri! It was a cool 31 degrees this morning which felt better than the past few mornings. The milking machine wasn't frozen so Shelley's hair dryer was safe. We actually brought our heating pad to put on it tomorrow morning...we'll see. All of the animals were good and the beef cows are loving their new hay. The pics above show them stuffing their bellies. You can also see some bare spots on their fur where they are scratching to get rid of their winter coat. Update on the dairy cows and calves: Betty is having some issues with her back teats getting cut. It appears that Holly is a rough eater and is responsible for Betty's issues. We decided to keep Holly shut in the loafing area and just feed her a bottle twice a day to allow Betty to heal. Stella still gets out to nurse during the day. Both calves are healthy and spunky, growing quickly. We worked on the milk barn, put electric net around the garden, and built the new hog paddock yesterday. Today we are going to go sign our tax documents and move the hogs to their new paddock.

The chick that I mentioned yesterday that wasn't doing well didn't make it. There is another this morning that isn't going to make it either. We have two different types of incubators and tried both types to see if there was a difference. One holds 9 eggs and we have two of the other type that hold 12 each. The two that hold 12 hatched 8 each and the one that holds 9 only successfully hatched 1. So, of the 33 eggs we set to incubate, we have 17 chicks--just over 50%. We do NOT consider this a failure. This is our first time ever even plugging in an incubator and we now have 17 more layer chicks than we had a week ago and it cost us nothing. We bought the incubators from a guy that was getting out of the bird business and paid about $20 for the three of them and they have been sitting for a year and a half. We decided we have nothing to loose if we give it a try, and so we did. We will learn from this first attempt and try to do better next time, but even if we always get a 50% hatch rate, it is still worth it. We think the 9-egg incubator may have been a bit too crowded due to the large size of the eggs and thus the automatic turner wasn't turning them completely. Our research describes that as the cause for the issues we encountered. Thus, we will put a couple less eggs in that one next time and see if it makes a difference. If it continues to be a dud, we will take it out of service and only use the other two. We decided that we would just keep eggs in the incubator and have new chicks about once a month. If nothing else, we are learning to be self reliant in the egg department!

If you haven't seen it yet, check out our YouTube Video as we moved the beef cows to a new pasture.

Local Farm Report for 14 March 2023:


38 Chicken eggs

13 Duck eggs

1 Goose egg

6 Gallons of milk



Farm additions:

2 Layer chicks--17 total from this incubation

Cheers! Psycho & Shelley

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Hey y’all! It’s really cool all the new things y’all are doing. We have chicks but never tried the incubation part. Just curious to see what your hen to rooster ratio was out of your 50% hatch rate?


Hey Rob! We don't know how many are hens vs roosters. Give us a couple of months. The next batch is in the incubators now. More chicks in two weeks!!

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