Bantam chickens are smaller than regular chickens and tend to be friendlier and easier to handle. They also come in an assortment of colours and patterns. Bantam chickens require less space and feed and make less of a mess. Bantams are quick and adept at eating bugs in your yard. Because the eggs are smaller, two or three eggs equal one standard egg in recipes. Raising bantam chicks from eggs hatched in an incubator can be a fun and educational experience.
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Things you need
- Heat lamp or emitter
- Rearing house or chicken coop
- Water dish
- Chick crumbs
Set up your incubator following the manufacturer's directions. Maintain a temperature between 37.5 and 37.7 degrees in forced draft incubators or between 38.3 and 39.4 degrees in still air incubators. Place the eggs in the incubator. Maintain humidity levels of between 55 and 60 per cent. Err on the side of less water in the incubator until the eggs start to pip (or shell starts to break in the shape of diamonds). Turn the eggs at least three times each day in a back-and-forth pattern.
Keep the chicks in an enclosed area with a heat lamp or ceramic heat emitter at one end of the enclosure. Maintain a temperature of 38.9 degrees directly under the heat lamp or emitter, with cooler areas in the enclosure. If the chicks are too hot, they will pant and scatter to the edges; if too cold, they will huddle in the middle and cheep loudly. Provide the chicks with chick crumbs and water in a shallow dish so chicks won't drown.
Transfer the chicks to a rearing house or chicken coop at eight weeks. The coop should be large enough for all of your chicks and food and water feeders. Provide a gallon water feeder for every dozen chicks.
Separate the hens from the roosters at 10 to 12 weeks. Hens will start laying eggs at 18 to 20 weeks. Provide hens with extra calcium in the form of crushed oyster shells.
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