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First time hatching and I have some questions please

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My serama broody has been sat on her eggs now for 6 days and I have some questions please.

1. I know I have to candle them on day 10 and I've been looking on Amazon and am bamboozled at the array of candlers.  Can anyone recommend one - do I buy an expensive one or are the cheap ones adequate? 

2. I've been taking my broody off the nest once a day for about 20 minutes - can I take her off more than once?

3. When/if the chicks hatch can I feed both mum and chicks on chick crumb and should the crumb be medicated or not?

4.  I have another serama who is very attached to my broody - can I allow her to stay with them and if so will it be ok to feed her on chick crumb too?

😀

 

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I would avoid any candler that uses an LED as in my opinion they are far too bright. The first thing that forms are the very complex eyes and I'm not convinced that they won't be damaged. So a cheap one will be fine, but don't be surprised if you can't see much on day 10.

I would think it safe to take her off more than once. The time will depend on the air temperature and that will be your judgement.

I'm not a fan of ACS medicated crumb. It does inhibit growth but also treats against coccidiosis. Unmedicated crumb will be fine for broody and will build her strength up but I don't know about medicated as she will consume a lot. She will have developed natural immunity to coccidiosis and medicated crumb may upset that? Coccidiosis occurs naturally in the ground and chicks develop resistance to it after 6 weeks. Ideally they should be kept off the ground for the first few weeks and introduced to it for increasing periods afterwards. Not sure how practical that is for you. We kept our last hatch in a large trailer.

Your broody is going to be very protective of her chicks and may not accept her friend near them. I think best keep them separated but in view of each other.

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I agree with much of what Beantree says above... 

Torches: I just use a normal torch and a cut down loo roll inner to candle eggs. Doesn't need to be anything fancy.  If you look online, there's a massive array of reference photos showing you what to look for.

I normally pop broodies off twice a day - for their own health as much as anything, but it also give me a chance to see if the eggs look OK.

I do use Medicated crumb for the chicks, but pop a coop cup of growers for the mum up out of reach of the little 'uns. The mother tends to prefer that to crumb anyway. 

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2 hours ago, Beantree said:

I would avoid any candler that uses an LED as in my opinion they are far too bright. The first thing that forms are the very complex eyes and I'm not convinced that they won't be damaged. So a cheap one will be fine, but don't be surprised if you can't see much on day 10.

I would think it safe to take her off more than once. The time will depend on the air temperature and that will be your judgement.

I'm not a fan of ACS medicated crumb. It does inhibit growth but also treats against coccidiosis. Unmedicated crumb will be fine for broody and will build her strength up but I don't know about medicated as she will consume a lot. She will have developed natural immunity to coccidiosis and medicated crumb may upset that? Coccidiosis occurs naturally in the ground and chicks develop resistance to it after 6 weeks. Ideally they should be kept off the ground for the first few weeks and introduced to it for increasing periods afterwards. Not sure how practical that is for you. We kept our last hatch in a large trailer.

Your broody is going to be very protective of her chicks and may not accept her friend near them. I think best keep them separated but in view of each other.

Thank you so much Beantree 😀

5 minutes ago, The Dogmother said:

I agree with much of what Beantree says above... 

Torches: I just use a normal torch and a cut down loo roll inner to candle eggs. Doesn't need to be anything fancy.  If you look online, there's a massive array of reference photos showing you what to look for.

I normally pop broodies off twice a day - for their own health as much as anything, but it also give me a chance to see if the eggs look OK.

I do use Medicated crumb for the chicks, but pop a coop cup of growers for the mum up out of reach of the little 'uns. The mother tends to prefer that to crumb anyway. 

Thanks DM - So you use medicated crumb and Beantree doesn't - can you tell me what the benefits and drawbacks are of each?

Funny you should say that about the cut down toilet roll and torch I just had that exact same thought - and I managed to drop one of the eggs! 😪

 

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Oh no 😞 Better now than in 10 days time though.

How exciting!!! I really want to hatch again.

I candled using my phone torch - it worked fine.

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12 minutes ago, mullethunter said:

Oh no 😞 Better now than in 10 days time though.

How exciting!!! I really want to hatch again.

I candled using my phone torch - it worked fine.

I'm going to have a go in a minute.  Did you use medicated chick crumb Mullet?

I'm going to have another go in a minute and hopefully not drop anymore! 🙄  Did you use medicated chick crumb Mullet?

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24 minutes ago, mullethunter said:

Yes I did but I hatched in an incubator (after a disaster where my broody ate her first hatchling 😳)

Oh my goodness - don't tell me that!! 😱

I tried candling with the torch but perhaps it's too early - it's actually only day 5.  The egg that I broke today though was definitely fertile! 😪

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13 hours ago, mullethunter said:

I found candling quite difficult my first time and much easier at 10 days than 5. 

That will be Monday then - I'll update on here!!  😀

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One thing.... don't be tempted to help them out of the shells if they are a little slow to hatch; I advised someone of this on a different forum and they went ahead and picked bits off. The chick died. It was an incubator hatch.

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Get a piece of cardboard, cut a small hole in it. Fix a cardboard tube over the hole, place on top of a decent torch. Voila, egg candler! Yes, prob not as clear as a professional device, but enough to see if your eggs are fertile. 

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2 hours ago, The Dogmother said:

One thing.... don't be tempted to help them out of the shells if they are a little slow to hatch; I advised someone of this on a different forum and they went ahead and picked bits off. The chick died. It was an incubator hatch.

That you DM I will bear the in mind 😀

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It is very tempting when they are taking their time to hatch or appear to be struggling. Bear in mind that a struggling chick is often doing that for a good reason and may well go on to be a 'fail to thrive' case. I always hatch under broodies, so never really get involved.

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I commonly use my iPhone torch as a candler and it works well but the Brinsea OvaScope is much brighter and works a lot better. I’d candle from Day 10 so you can be sure.

I use I medicated crumb as that’s what my feed store has and I’m hoping to have ducklings which need unmedicated - I can also get medication quickly which others may not be able to if they have a Coccidia outbreak. If I had the choice I would use medicated for peace of mind.
 

20mins a day will be fine, they can get a bit grumpy when you go to take them off. I’d separate others but the adults will be fine having crumb if not. 

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48 minutes ago, The Dogmother said:

It is very tempting when they are taking their time to hatch or appear to be struggling. Bear in mind that a struggling chick is often doing that for a good reason and may well go on to be a 'fail to thrive' case. I always hatch under broodies, so never really get involved.

Yes, I'm hatching under a broody too DM ☺️

10 minutes ago, Lewis said:

I commonly use my iPhone torch as a candler and it works well but the Brinsea OvaScope is much brighter and works a lot better. I’d candle from Day 10 so you can be sure.

I use I medicated crumb as that’s what my feed store has and I’m hoping to have ducklings which need unmedicated - I can also get medication quickly which others may not be able to if they have a Coccidia outbreak. If I had the choice I would use medicated for peace of mind.
 

20mins a day will be fine, they can get a bit grumpy when you go to take them off. I’d separate others but the adults will be fine having crumb if not. 

Thanks Lewis - I think the general consensus is to use medicated chick crumb then ☺️

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