Each year, when Summer turns to Fall, our team at McMurray Hatchery begins the annual process to hatch and raise our breeder flock for the following season.

We hatch and ship day-old, baby chicks from January through October each year. It takes between 18 and 22 weeks for a hen to reach maturity and begin laying eggs. For the new hens to be ready by January, our team must begin setting chicks in brooders in September. Next year will be our 102nd season. Over the next few months, follow along as we raise our flock for the new season.

In this first video, watch as McMurray Hatchery Vice President, Tom Watkins, and the rest of our team begin the long process of setting new chicks in the brooders. Each brooder area is set up with hanging heat lamps, waterers with Quik Chik to help give our chicks a good start, and trays of chick feed. The chicks are brought over to the barns from the Hatchery where, one by one, each chick’s beak is dipped in water and it is added to the flock. This process can take several weeks.

Check back every few weeks when we check in with Tom, his team, and the chicks as we count down to the beginning of our 2019 season.