April 6, 2011
Chicken Update: The 1st Set of Eggs is in LOCKDOWN!!!
OHMYGOODNESS. I am a nervous wreck! As of 2:00 today my 1st set of 16 eggs are in the hatcher on lockdown!!! What is lockdown, you might ask? Well, for the past 18 days the eggs have been in my incubator getting turned 5 times a day at a humidity level of around 40% where they have been taken out and candled often. If being hatched the old fashioned way a mother hen would be getting up to eat, stretch, and poop so having the eggs come out of the incubator for brief periods isn't that big of a deal. But now, they have been moved into my homemade hatcher where there is a strict hands-off policy and the humidity level has been upped to about 65%. Here they are!
And getting the silly eggs in the hatcher was not as easy as it seems like it should've been. I've read a lot about folks using these pulp egg trays to keep the earliest chicks that hatch from playing kickball with the remaining eggs and decided it was the way to go. I got lucky and scored a whole huge box of them off of craigslist from a super nice couple and will now be set once these eggs turn into my lovely egg-laying hens! It also helps keep them more in the position they were incubated which will hopefully make for easier hatching. Anyway, so I put all of my eggs into the pulp tray and then realized I was not going to be able to simply carry it to the hatcher and stick it in. Visions of my perfectly developing baby chickens crashing on the ground went racing through my mind. So plan b took much longer. And much longer meant my perfectly heated hatcher got cold. So from what I've read the eggs cooling for about 20 minutes is about the longest you really want to let them go. So here I am watching the clock tick away, staring at the thermometer that is just not rising quickly enough. 15 minutes later I start to panic. The hatcher does have an adjustable heating pad underneath so there is a bit of an adjustment, but on full blast it was not going to cut it. So I ran upstairs, grabbed my blow dryer, and it only took about 45 seconds to get that thermometer up to 100 degrees! It cut the humidity, but I knew my trusty froggy humidifier wouldn't have any trouble getting it up there. Wpheeewwww. It was right at about 20 minutes and I nearly had a heart attack! But now, almost 2 hours later, we're happily at the perfect temp and humidity.
Here's a quick look at the rest of my eggs in the incubator. I'm down to 4 Cochin eggs of which I only think 1 really stands a chance at hatching and 7 blue Ameraucana eggs of which ALL are developing nicely!!! And although I am very sad about my Cochin eggs I am happy to say that I contacted the seller and they refunded me for the eggs. So at least there's that! I've decided to see how these hatches go and then decide if I want to try again with another set of Cochin eggs - this time from a more reputable source! Here they are!
And just for fun as I was laughing at myself and how I've totally gone off the deep end obsessing over chickens and staring at my thermometer and hygrometers, I thought some of you may have wondered, "How exactly does one incorporate a chicken hatcher into their decor?" So here she is!
Will is truly a tolerant husband. Never did he even blink at the idea that I was going to move my huge aquarium-turned-chicken-egg-hatcher into our family room. Now that's love.
Here's to what will hopefully be a very exciting next post!!!!
Maggie again. How exciting is this process?! Chicks are coming into the world right.this.minute... I can't tell you how much I wish I was home to cheer them on! As soon as Mama Chicky can step away from her new babies, post some video and photos and write an update, I'll post it here!