By Tim Warrington
If you are planning on keeping a collection of chickens in order to supply the hatching eggs market then you will need to first decide what breeds of chickens you are going to have. You can buy in your breeding stock and it is probably a good idea to start off with about six different breeds. A variety of Leg horns are always a good idea and piles and Aruacana's are also popular birds. You may want to start off with adult birds and then you can immediately begin to collect the eggs. The first thing you will need to do is start to incubate your own eggs. There are various incubators out there that can hold different amount of eggs and you don't have to incubate on a grand scale. Hens will lay on average an egg a day but you must remember that in the winter month's egg laying will diminish and may disappear altogether. The time to collect and incubate your eggs is during the spring and summer. There is also a market for small chicks and POL (Point of lay chickens). However the most popular age to purchase chickens is about 20 weeks simply because most of the hard work has been done and the chickens are fed on adult chick pellets and this is also a good age to sex the chickens.
Hybrid chickens are also extremely popular and many people will want to purchase hybrids in order to have their own eggs. You should keep all breeds separate however and hybrids will need to be in their own enclosure, as will all of the other breeds. Keeping cockerels is a must if you are going to sell the eggs for hatching but one cockerel of each breed is enough. If you have more than one cockerel you run the risk of them fighting and sometimes they will fight to the death if they are evenly matched. Having more than one cockerel also can bother the hens and they may become restless. If there is constant fighting in the chicken pen this can cause stress and hens will temporarily stop laying.
Once your breeding stock is established you will be ready to start to advertise your eggs, remember to label and date your eggs to ensure you know what chickens they have come from and when they were laid. Once an egg has been laid it must be stored in a cool place and turned every day and all eggs shouldn't be kept for any longer than 10 days as every day after an egg has been laid it's fertility will reduce 2% every day.
ukchickens off a wide variety of chicken breeds as well as a wide variety of hatching eggs. We also offer advice and information on keeping chickens. http://www.fertilehatchingeggs.com
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