can aciphex cause weight gain can i get a sample of viagra seroquel 25mg cost acai online overnight shipping how long does one dose of azithromycin take to cure chlamydia s club 7 songs don;t stop movin; minocycline 100mg cheap how to purchase celexa online what is arjuna for can order aricept canada baclofen in the uk where toradol injection consumer buy drugs online from canada no prescription generic advair diskus overnite shipping frozen acai berries sale buy accutane with isotretinoin 10mg buy suprax 400mg online elavil prescription online cheap cefixime 100 mg keppra side effects long term use discount canadian pharmacy motrin purchase flomaxtra where is singulair made cialis professional sale 5mg generic benadryl tablets phenergan for daily use canada where can i buy doxycycline in singapore pharmacy buy drugs fucidin omeprazole over the counter dosage order vantin 200 mg buy diclofenac gel pills fucidin no rx mail-order fertomid is apcalis sx available over the counter levitra professional no prrescription how to take yasmin 21 day pack pariet 20 mg /rabeprazole sodium 20 mg prednisone tablets from buy what is clomid pregnancy aciphex side effects uk buy levitra professional online with mastercard canada doxycycline tablets online hydrocortisone boots cipro dosage for uti in men amlodipine spc buy renagel astrailia suppliers of singulair in us alli simpson wiki metronidazole flagyl dose infections recommended dosage of zithromax for chlamydia indian generics online allegra cheap rumalaya india medicine from mexico pharmacies altace over the counter canada safe ventolin no precription nitroglycerin pill shortage peomethazine without prescription toprol xl generic release date can you get high off meloxicam 15 mg nizagara lawsuit canada what is the mechanism of action for cozaar online pharmacy usa tramadol para que sirve el aciclovir tabletas 400 mg canada order tenormin zaditor billig kaufen cialis no prescription electronic check payment where to buy cheap generic synthroid levlen lawsuit canada ampicillin price coupon buy rumalaya gel without rx risperdal tablets price pariet for sale philippines cost of risperdal consta mexico colchicine vente de apcalis sx au quebec vantin dosage adults ranitidine next day shipping walgreens mail order pharmacy reviews how to order chloroquine online can you buy proventil over the counter acai pharmacy lisinopril medicine side effects best generic cardizem review what do cialis pills look like sale canada yagara language elavil user reviews top 100 rx drugs in canada where to buy otc asthma inhalers buy rosuvastatin no prescription fast delivery is my synthroid dose too high order generic xeloda digoxin and low potassium reviews on cholestoplex ctd labs piracetam review bactrim western australia post cycle therapy doxycycline synthroid online pharmacy american blopress calan without prescription miami accutane discontinued market resources for trileptal pharmacies alphagan eye drops cheap zaditor user reviews seroquel quetiapine what does tetracycline do order bactrim ds no prescription purchasing voltaren online uk generic dilantin in usa brand ventolin for sale buy depakote us divalproex sodium generic prandin order canada pil perancang yasmin website viagra soft generic 2013 drugs diflucan medication price over the counter fertility pills uk how to buy nolvadex online actonel delivery london cephalexin cheap price is generic zyloprim effective buying retin-a 0,05 from canada no prescription antabuse online overnight shipping ampicillin buy canada cost of lamisil cream american trental cheapest place for zyrtec fucidin online overnight can i get pregnant on keflex temporal parietal lobe function buy united states generic acticin discount tamoxifen mg pharmacy buy drugs augmentin actoplus met mail order india can you buy voveran in ireland avandamet shop net best viagra prices 100mg cialis nexium side effects uk levitra non perscription countries celebrex dosage for dogs yasmin sewell tumblr discount meclizine of canada where can i get chlamydia medication cialis sublingual online usa no prescription purchase cheap generic lamisil cephalexin dosage for strep throat malegra dxt in the uk brand cialis order in the us lasix 20 mg injection amoxil buy canada anxiety medication for children over the counter buy meclizine usa long time side effects kamagra buy alli online in singapore cheap propranolol online buy cialis jelly bulk nitrofurantoin daily use reviews acheter du hoodia gordonii 10mg citalopram weight gain med cab tamoxifen shelf life of prednisone liquid buy cheap order alesse without buy combivent fast shipping plendil no prescription reviews avapro pharmaceutical company dostinex medication overnight delivery januvia refills phone in order for beconase aq aldactone buy online top 10 online prilosec sites zoloft medicine side effects buy flovent greece premarin cream no prescription com canadian cleocin gel tablet where to buy pure hyaluronic acid generic uk paypal artane atorlip-5 canada prescription allegra 100 review emsam order online buy zofran perth australia hyzaar no prescription buy generic can you take 40 mg of levitra long time side effects rocaltrol phentermine 37.5 mg canada robaxin pharmacy coupons what are the four forces of nature from strongest to weakest alli coupon discount success rate buy levaquin 15mg online amoxicillin 500 mg with pregnancy kamagra espan~a is there a real generic viagra generic singulair no prescription viagra soft pills drugstore prandin uk next day delivery buy depakote no prescription mcneil health co uk motilium vermox without prescription miami buy viagras montelukast dose for infants brand cialis ordering online pharmacy buy retin a online ireland aspirin overdose nhs order prednisolone without rx where coumadin cancer some where erythromycin discovered levothroid side effects terbinafine 250mg tablets and alcohol where to speman very cheap buspar can you take abana daily purchase glycomet cheap where to buy fertility drugs online birth control pills fucidin mupirocin calcium cream acne xenical dose diaria overseas pharmacy no prescription lady era +nizagara ayurslim price in malaysia zyprexa generic robaxin medication online user reviews for xenical drugs weight acivir 400 dosage norvasc generic walmart prices for wellbutrin xl 300 is synthroid a prescription drug buy rumalaya forte order generic advair diskus order aricept 120 mg order coumadin online no prescription with a echeck ventolin hfa 100 mcg aerosol what do amitriptyline pills look like buy colchicine with generic generic pills for xeloda vermox 30ml suspension oral 2 what is the normal dosage for synthroid zovirax eye ointment medicine rosuvastatin dose equivalence skelaxin on line zyban cheap uk klonopin no prescription overnight delivery precose no prescription canada how much will leukeran cost mail-order tinidazole artane costco herbal viagra factory omeprazole side effect long term deltasone cheap cheapest cholestoplex tablets uk current price alli half life of metoprolol succinate er free or low cost feldene uroxatral mg buy where to buy cheap generic buspar amantadine 40mg plavix sales representative genesis today acai 100 juice altace medication ramipril order zestoretic cheap shipping isotretinoin tablets acne propecia generico espan~a mircette next day delivery mexican pharmacy no prescription evista how long after flagyl alcohol where to buy generic valtrex aspirin dose for back pain birth control pills abilify buy ethionamide inhaler canada tegretol 40 mg online lincocin overnight delivery frumil fast usa cialis 20 mg price walmart vigrande fiyatlar? viagra plus drug class metformin er 500mg 24 hr tabs v-gel online ordering can bupropion tablets be cut in half strattera without a rx actosol msds cipro xr side effects lipitor overseas can you get paxil over counter celebrex uk brand name non prescription torsemide pharmacy buy imitrex astrailia promethazine hcl buy phexin with paypal zanaflex tablets online phenergan 100 review comprar medrol buy flonase usa peco an exelon company advair generic name Purchase propranolol 10 mg acai ordering no prescription tetracycline coupons lipitor drugs information what is lantus mg used to treat comprar aceon portugal buy cefadroxil mg metronidazole mechanism of action rosacea urispas prices at costco bentyl generic 2013 drugs celebrex commercial location bicycle minocin drugs for sale keflex cost walmart how long to take premarin cream amantadine online order cheap lyrica order elavil online viagra next day side effects 2mg alprazolam no prescription brand levitra generic reviews acquistare brand levitra in italia what is a z pack doesn;t work very cheap evista wellbutrin available nhs purim tablets himalaya buy luvox mg erythromycin ethylsuccinate 500mg buy valtrex pills online reglan medication uses promethazine codeine syrup in canada kamagranow co uk tablets american female viagra gasex lithium dose bipolar 2 can you buy sinequan online buy genuine glucophage uk canadian pharmacy blopress can you buy propecia on line protonix 40 mg en espanol ciproxin 750 mg side effects cephalexin spain over counter amitriptyline dosage for migraines can you buy dramamine in the uk prilosec buy online ireland where to buy paxil cheap chloromycetin lawsuit canada low cost deltasone dramamine no prescription canada rosuvastatin free shipping propecia prescriptions online buy estrace 10 where to buy zaditor eye drops generic avodart overnite shipping paxil anxiety pills comprar cleocin online flovent hfa 110 mcg coupons adalat xl and weight gain order brand levitra discount lincocin otc best pharmacy to order lithium is it safe to order celexa gabapentin and alcohol use can you only get casodex on prescription buy vasotec online no prescription usa order lopid lowest price apartments to buy liverpool where to buy zoloft without a prescription zyvox 600 mg best price online pharmacy ordering effexor xr on line yagara tablets online prednisolone side effects uk order retin-a 0,025 online uk lowest price haridra glycomet tablets uk bentyl price order no prescription elavil online diovan discount medications can order sominex online apo-azithromycin 250mg tablet colchicine generic fda can we trust advair diskus online buying ventolin inhalers original coreg online como comprar viagra portugal natural foods that act like viagra proventil over counter uk buy serpina online pharmacy most reliable place to buy cleocin online lowest priced apcalis sx norco sight killer b frame irbesartan spc emc elocon without script plendil no prescription canada revia to buy from europe how long does it take for baclofen to leave your system noroxin generico online side effects of smoking pain pills propranolol overseas where can i buy plavix cheap cheap pain meds without prescriptions how to order accutane online best price femcare buy styplon mexican pharmacies buy tegretol 50 birth control pills strattera original meclizine online tablet for long time sex in india genuine voveran 100mg betnovate n cream wiki zyvox order by phone colchicine drug in canada pharmacy over counter zoloft lisinopril in italia online cheap allegra order allegra low cost overnight dramamine female viagra for daily use canada can you buy celexa in ireland anti-inflammatory dose of prednisone in dogs the canadian drugstore largo eldepryl reviews for men buy over the counter acai online misoprostol miscarriage did not work where to buy cialis in philippines where to buy medrol ointment order lisinopril online no prescription with a amex goes you order decadron canadian amoxil buy uk female viagra medicine what is kamagra gold used for order tadacip from india without prescription lopressor dose for anxiety buy pulmicort next day tadacip in croatia safe retin no prescription comprar pariet en argentina alliance and leicester standing order form azithromycin uses for chlamydia oral zovirax over counter can you order promethazine pharmacy isoniazid fda approved to buy without prescription order domperidone no prescription zofran morning sickness dosage where to buy brahmi powder does cipro work in india coversyl medication for singulair order online generic plendil usa pharmacy best site to buy chloromycetin what strengths does cozaar come in online pharmacy buy tetracycline generic can buy antabuse over counter furosemide pharmacies african black ant vs viagra cheap genuine tadapox online innopran xl max dose buy pamelor singapore lamictal pill shortage robaxin drugstore differin gel 0.1 legal buy prescription drugs online india propecia dangerous pregnant women cheapest price synthroid generic myambutol cost order micardis online no prescription buy brand advair diskus doses lasix medication australia normal bactrim dose for uti any difference between propecia and proscar where to zocor pariet 20mg prec,o generico aap ki adalat online is generic mevacor available in usa cefixime azithromycin gonorrhea order bupropion online viagra pfizer patent expiration viramune to buy from europe best online pharmacy canada no prescription paypal and levitra metoclopramide tablets pregnancy order cialis on line usa can you get pregnant while on synthroid como se usa benzac ac cheap doxycycline usa isoptin 40 mg w cia;z.y lotensin for men sale in uk what is methotrexate purchase erythromycin lowest price diclofenac pill canadian propecia over counter best price buy propecia best price for real provera half price rogaine 5 where do i proventil in mexico generic nexium online pharmacy lozol in the uk purchase abana 3 tablets viagra super force uk can you buy altace online canadian pharmacy are there legit online pharmacies accutane ulcerative colitis class action lawsuit sumycin pill canadian comprar minocin pela internet side effects of finasteride tablets over the counter medicine that acts as dostinex medrol dose pack package insert effexor xr low dose birth control geriforte syrup to buy from europe can you only get prograf on prescription research tadalafil ic 351 casodex rx is generic liposafe effective difference between proscar and propecia zoloft without a script what is generic viagra legal ponstel drug class zantac class action lawsuit prilosec generic costco buy atrovent online no prescription united states best price generic lipitor promethazine tablets uk effexor xr overnight delivery nitroglycerin synthesis mechanism walmart alli weight loss zyrtec prices walgreens eulexin order in the us ceftin online forum mail order danazol cheapest tretinoin 0,05 real canadian superstore pharmacy phone number kytril medicine online buy kamagra reviews methocarbamol tablets usp cheap leukeran no prescription stieva a forte cream tretinoin 0.1 florinef 100 mcg can you order allegra products kamagra pharmacy online order xenical from how often should a man ejaculate for healthy sperm purchase trial erection packs 2 cheap cialis professional online mexico buy order asacol online hong kong pet medications canada without prescriptions canada deltasone tablets online buy albendazole paypal accepted order viagra now cialis erection packs 1 generic canada acquisto amitriptyline sicuro online buy amitriptyline tablets uk canadian is vasodilan available over the counter buy promethazine boots can you get zyrtec d over counter ordering viagra soft here in canada buy allegra visa levaquin by email prescription who takes echecks for pills propecia price comparison uk buy innopran online with out prescription buy neurontin online from usa dramamine over counter uk nitroglycerin usage how to identify fake viagra keppra generic brand what is zyprexa side effects lamisil delivery fertomid tablets 150 mg staxyn canada pharmacy how to buy zebeta in london fosamax order in the us why has lopid been discontinued otc allegra price roxithromycin online hydrochlorothiazide canadian source zyvox cost canada 600mg sale norvasc online generic cytotec reviews for men vpxl echeck buy asacol 800 mg crestor cost in canada
Know how

Article categories

Grow your own

Whatever the scale of your ambitions or plot you'll find something useful here.

Make your own

Reduce your footprint by making your own, from knitting to soap-making to adorning your home.

Livestock and pets

Find out about rearing livestock from the farm to the garden, and doing the best for your pets.

Energy efficiency and construction

Discover how to adapt, change and even build your own home to enable you to tread more lightly upon the planet.

Cooking, preserving and home brewing

From the home brewery to ambitions of chefly grandeur. Find out how to do it all here and really taste the difference.

Wild food

Subsidise the larder in a sustainable way. From fishing, to shooting, to foraging safely, find it among these articles.

Conservation and the environment

Conserve our world for future generations. See how you can help in these pages.


From shopping with a conscience to building your own enterprise. Find advice and encouragement among these pages.

Everything else

Sometimes the diversity of downsizing can throw up an unusual topic.


Past editorial items from the downsizer front page.

You are here: Home arrow Articles arrow Livestock and pets arrow Hatching and raising chicks


Hatching and raising chicks

Written by Chez

Hatching chickens takes 21 days. The easiest way to hatch a batch of chicks is under a broody hen. Put six or a dozen eggs under her - depending on her size - sit her somewhere where she won't be disturbed by other hens trying to lay in her nest; and like magic, three weeks later, chicks should appear.

But what if you don't have a broody? Well, you might try borrowing one. Or you could borrow or buy an incubator.

Hen and chicks


Manual Turn Incubator - Maino

Incubators come in all sizes, from ones that will take seven hen eggs upwards. The main choice that you need to make is whether you want a manual one or an automatic. If you choose a manual one, you will need to turn the eggs twice a day for the first 18 days of the three-week hatching period. If you choose an automatic one, this will turn them for you (and you will need to stop the auto-turn on Day 18 ) - the downside is that they tend to be more expensive. However, a lot of people start off with a manual and then upgrade to an auto-turn - so there are often second hand ones for sale on poultry websites or on eBay. You can also buy kits to make your own, or build one from scratch yourself.

Autoturn Incubator - Brinsea

When you receive your eggs, let them rest point down at room temperature for about 24 hours before you put them under the hen or in the incubator. It is also a good idea to run the incubator for 24 hours before you put the eggs in, in case you need to adjust the temperature. Each incubator is slightly different and you will need to read the instructions to see how much water to add (to keep the atmosphere slightly humid and mimic the underneath of a hen) and how to set it up.

If you are turning manually, mark a cross on one side of each egg and a circle on the other, in pencil. You will then be able to see clearly to turn the eggs.


If you want to, after 9 days, you can 'candle' the eggs to see how they are developing. This is a good idea because discarding the 'dead' ones reduces the risk of disease and makes more room in the incubator for your hatchlings. However, some eggs, particularly dark-coloured ones, are difficult to candle.

There are all sorts of 'light boxes' that you can buy to candle your eggs - but the most simple way is to hold a small but powerful torch to the 'fat' end of the egg, so all the light is focussed inside. You should then be able to see what is going on inside.

There is a good article about candling here and another here.

The hatch


A day or so before they hatch, you might hear the chicks 'pipping' inside the eggs - starting to peck at the shells to get out. It might take 48 hours before all of them hatch - if you have enough space in the incubator, leave them in for a few hours until they dry off - they live off the remains of the yolk inside them for the first couple of days, so they don't need food or water. However tempting, DON'T keep opening the incubator to check on them! However, every few hours - four or five, say - you can open the incubator, take out and discard any broken shells and remove dry chicks and transfer them to your brooder.

Sometimes chicks DO get stuck inside their eggs and it is considered bad practice to help them out of their shells. However, I don't think I know anyone who has hatched their own eggs who hasn't been tempted to give a helping hand at some point or another. If you do do this, be very, very careful, don't do it too early and be aware that you might end up with a deformed or sickly chick - there is usually a reason that they can't get out themselves.

When you have moved all your chicks to the brooder, make sure that the clean your incubator thoroughly, ready for next time.

Brooding chicks

Day old chicksA 'brooder' is basically a warm area where you keep your chicks until they have enough feathers to survive on their own.

There are various types of brooder - the most common is a lamp on a chain, with either a special red coloured bulb or a 'dull emitter' ceramic bulb in it. You hang the lamp up, so the bulb is a foot or 18 inches above the floor and you allow the chicks space to get away from the heat if they want to. Often this is done by making a circle of corrugated cardboard 3 or 4 feet across, with the lamp at the centre. You can also hang your lamp over one corner of a large cardboard box or get special 'brooder pens' to keep the chicks in. You can also get a system called an 'electric hen' which is a heat-pad for chicks to sit under when they are cold. Someone I know broods her chicks very successfully in a cardboard box by her aga.

For more information about setting up a low-cost brooder for a dozen or so chicks, have a look at our article about designs for two simple brooders.


If you are using a heat-lamp, the temperature at ground level directly under the lamp should be about 37 degrees centigrade on day 1. You will be able to tell whether the chicks are too hot or too cold by their behaviour. If they are too hot, they will move away from the lamp. If they are too cold, they will huddle underneath it. You can adjust the lamp up and down accordingly.

Gradually, over a few weeks, as the chicks develop grown-up feathers, you raise the lamp a few inches at a time and eventually start turning it off during the day. It's very difficult to give a rule of thumb for this, as it depends on the weather and the temperature of the building your chicks are in. For example, in a hot summer, you might be able to start putting two week old chicks outside in a pen on grass for an hour or so every day. But in February, you wouldn't. As a guide though, even in the coldest weather, I would expect to have finished with the lamp completely by six weeks and in warm weather perhaps by four weeks.


Barnevelder and Light Sussex chicksYour brooder needs to be somewhere dry with a steady temperature, free from draughts and safe from predators such as cats, rats and crows. You can keep it in a spare room in the house - but remember chicks grow quite quickly and after two or three weeks will probably start outstaying their welcome.

To start with it is very important for the chicks to have a non-slip surface under their feet. They can be subject to something called 'splayed leg', which is made worse if they can't grip properly. Put them on corrugated card (rather than newspaper) from hatching to three or four days old, or a deep layer of woodshavings.

After two or three weeks, as they get bigger, some people keep them in a greenhouse - or put them out in to a greehouse in daytime. This tends to work well in spring or autumn - if it's very warm weather the greenhouse will be too hot for them. Also, however small they are, chickens are incompatible with growing plants!

Weak chicks

Quite often with each hatch there will be one or two chicks that after a day are two are obviously not quite 'right'; nature usually takes it's course with these, but you can cull them if you want to. I prefer to leave them to it and see what happens - sometimes they survive despite everything.

Food and water

Barnevelder and Light Sussex chicks

Your chicks should be fed on baby chick crumbs for the first six weeks of their lives. You can supplement this with leafy vegetables like cabbage or lettuce; or carrots or apples hung up for them to peck at. This keeps them busy and supplements their diet. Chickens are omnivores - but chick crumbs will provide them with all the nutrients they need to start with. I also give them mixed corn after a week or so.

The advantage of having them on corrugated card to start with is that if you put chick crumbs down on the card too, when they peck at them it makes a noise - this seems to encourage them to get the hang of feeding. Alternatively you can scatter the chick crumbs in an old cardboard egg box or something similar for a day or two - anything that makes a noise when they peck it.

To start with you should provide them with a shallow dish of water, that they can't knock over or drown in. A deepish saucer with some pebbles in it will work; or there are special 'chick drinkers' that you can buy.

After six weeks you should move them on to 'growers pellets' rather than chick crumbs.

Despatching Cockerels

My personal feeling is that it is irresponsible to hatch if you are not going to be able to despatch any birds that you don't want - because they are weak or because they are the wrong sex. If you can't do it yourself, make sure that you have someone you can call on to 'do the deed' for you. The ability to kill quickly and efficiently is, in my opinion, an essential part of keeping any kind of poultry.

A friend of mine was met at her back door by her cockerel who had had a run in with the fox. He was very badly injured and both she and her husband were traumatised because killing their birds in an emergency was not something that they had thought about. They coped very well under the circumstances - using a hand axe. But it's better if you have thought through the possibility that something like that might happen and have a plan in place first.

Also, what will you do if you hatch extra cockerels and don't want them for the pot? Having a plan in place, rather than just working it out as you go along, is definitely best. Many auction houses don't accept single male birds. Many auctions that DO end up selling the cockerels to cock fighters as 'practice' birds for their game fowl to get a taste for killing with. Farms where your well loved cockerel can live out his days happily are very few and far between.

Hatching is a responsibility as well as a pleasure.