Trying some new things this year, including a new coop setup.
Modern Game bantam birds
I’ve never had modern game birds but I think they are awesome. Velociraptor chickens:
The day-old chicks are coming by USPS from Ideal Poultry. They have a good rep and are in Texas which means priority usually gets there in a day. We’ll see how that goes.
Uncommon birds like these are generally unavailable at the feed stores so you usually have to buy chicks (or eggs, see below) and have them shipped.
Note: Potts says their chicks will be in the first week of April, and some may come in very late March. Stay tuned!
I’ve never incubated eggs but it seems interesting and some breeds are only available this way. I ordered a dozen assorted barnyard birds off eBay; they have a substantial subsection of hatchable eggs.
The shock of transport can mean that shipped eggs hatch rates can be down in the 30%-50% range. But if I can make it work it opens up a world of interesting, heritage, and unusual birds.
Retail incubators are rather expensive for what you get but many people build their own. I have a ratty blue igloo cooler I am working on for my ‘bator. The crowd favorite for temp control is this amazing little $15 digital temp controller. Fifteen bucks, and it will control separate heating and cooling circuits to within a half-degree. Seriously? That’s awesome.
I used a jigsaw and cut a viewing port into the lid. There is some scrap glass behind the barn which I’ll cut to fit, tape the edges, then adhere into the (kinda inset) port. I was surprised to see the lid was double-walled but otherwise uninusulated.
Most people use an incandescent one- or two-bulb setup for a heat source although ceramic and wire solutions are also used.
[NOTE: at this point in the blog I got a call from the USPS and the modern games came in a day early.]
I’m giving serious thought to using a spare PC supply as a power source. An unloaded PS consumes about 20% of it’s rated wattage. In the case of the spare 185w PS in the closet that’d be 37w, assuming no load. The PS can be convinced to power on without the mobo attached by making or buying a simple jumper. The warmth should be gentler as most would be blown out the cooling fan rather than radiated from a discrete point like a bulb.
I also have parts for a two bulb solution if the PS isn’t optimal: one 25w red bulb for constant use and a 60w heavy duty bulb to cycle for temp control.
My rubbermaid/tupperware brooders worked but were small, cracked too easily, and did not stand up to sunlight (drying/storage outdoors).
I was thinking about this and was trying to figure out a cheap solution. I remembered that Potts had plastic barrels and that might work. I used the jigsaw and cut them in half, cleaned, and dried.
One had a clear, odorless liquid in it. The other had something cinnamon (and a few bees) in it.