Notes from Windward: #68
Oana tells of the summer's hatch
I've been incubating chicken eggs for a month now, and most of it is
pretty routine. Check the temperature (100 degrees Fahrenheit, +/- 2),
check the humidity (50% - 60%), add water to increase the humidity if
necessary, and write it all down.
September 20. Noon. Rather dark and stormy-lookin'.
I check the incubator as usual, every 3 hours. This time... [dun dun
dunnn] I see a broken, empty egg. Who took my chick?!
The mystery was immediately solved by the chick itself.
cheep! cheep! cheep! Apparently it had fallen and was hiding on the bottom of the incubator
beneath the egg trays. I ran into the kitchen with it, excited and
happy. In a minute we wondered what to actually DO with it. Opalyn
remembered that the brooder was in Vermadise, and we went to set it
up. She put some wood chips on the bottom and Katie crushed up some
chick feed. We got the little guy nice and cozy with an incandescent
lamp and some water to drink, and hoped another chick was on its way
to keep it company.
September 20 (same day). 3 pm.
By noon the second little chick was already pecking its way through
the shell, and by the time I opened the incubator again, it was on its
back, stuck in the hole of an egg crate. I picked it up and put it in
the brooder with its slightly older pal.
September 24. Sunny.
Within the past few days, six chicks hatched, and that's not the end
of it, as there are about 10 eggs left. The main reason we wanted to
incubate this past month was to check whether Jan and Noel's eggs were
being fertilized by the rooster in their pen. The first and the sixth
chicks are from Jan (or Noel's) eggs. Since Jan and Noel were born in
the middle of winter, it means they are hardier in cold weather--
genes we would like to emphasize in our flock.
While we wait for the rest of Jan and Noel's chicks to hatch, we spend
a good amount of time playing with the chicks. Hopefully this will
make them more friendly towards humans as they grow up. The chickens
in Ebb & Flow are pretty aggressive and peck us relentlessly anytime
we get close enough. Those beaks are pretty pointy, too.
[Walt: 'terns quickly fall in love with our goats, lambs, ducks and such--the chickens, not so much.]
Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 68