Notes from Windward: #70


Incubation and Candling Notes

Opalyn hones her skills

     The Warmerator was designed to provide a warm space for many different projects. It is currently being used to incubate eggs (top shelf), provide a hatching space (lower shelf with screen), culture goat's milk into yogurt (middle‒next to the humidity tray), and space for the young hatchlings to wander around while drying off (very bottom‒covered with wood chips).

the warmerator‒up and running

closeup of the top shelf

closeup of the hatching shelf

     The ducklings have taught me many places for improvement in the Warmerator. The water trays are tuna cans that now have a piece of sponge as well as water to keep the little ones from climbing in and drowning. The screen was added to keep them from falling through the slotted shelf but they still managed to get below and would get too cold so now I keep a layer of fresh wood chips lining the bottom shelf. The wood chips also keep the Warmerator smelling fresh as the carbon rich chips absorb the nitrogen rich baby poops.

the still air incubator filled with eggs
from our Cuckoo Marans (the darkest brown eggs), Rhode Island Reds, Silver-Laced Wyandottes,
and Indian Runner Ducks


     You can Click Here to look at last year's candling efforts and to learn how we built the candler.

Opalyn candling a duck egg‒translucent and glowing‒just collected from the nest

     The eggs of our Indian Runner Ducks are the easiest for me to candle accurately. Andrew was kind enough to take some photos while I was improving my x-ray vision.

this egg is a few days old
and you can see a mass developing

a developing duckling

looking down on the same duck egg

this duckling continues to develop
about two weeks along

this embryo has stopped developing

another view of the same dead egg

     Applying these skills to darker eggs has allowed me to improve my skills, but still, every once in a while, a non-developed egg sits in the incubator for 21 days before I crack it open only to find that it was not growing into a chick.

     It is a good idea to change out the wood chips and wipe down the Warmerator every other week to keep the air quality high. If the Warmerator is also being used to culture soft cheese then try to not let the cheese spill out. If it does, then change the chips immediately since the bacteria count will quickly go up and lead to lower hatching rates.

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 70