I hinted earlier in the week about my grand plans for future egg production on our farm. 19 days ago my friend kindly gave me 15 fertilised eggs and loaned me her incubator in lieu of a chicken mummy and away we went!
Since then I have been turning the eggs 3-5 times daily (that’s what the pencil X and O are for on each egg) and candling them at 7, 10 and 14 days to remove any non fertile eggs. Candling is the process of holding a light up to the egg, I used a small but strong torch with my hand cupped above it in a tube. This allows you to see inside the egg for signs of fertilisation, a dark spot is the embryo and little web lines indicate the beginnings of life. It is so exciting to know that little chick is growing inside that egg! At the 10 day point there was only one egg that was clear and unfertilised and at 14 there was another that hadn’t produced a chick. I removed them as they can release gases that can poison the other eggs.
Amazingly when I was looking at the eggs at 14 days I saw one that had little feet pressed up against the inside of the shell! Last night, when I was turning eggs I heard a distinct cheep so tonight Huwyl helped me turn the eggs and again we heard a couple of little peeps from inside the eggs. He stood as still and quiet as is humanly possible (it’s a sliding scale, we take what we can get) while we waited for more cheeping. We were rewarded with a few more little cheeps, a taste of what is to come.
We have all of our kit in place and tomorrow I’m going to work with the boys on getting the brooder set up. Like good homeschoolers we are using this as a learning experience and reading up on chickens and chicks. I’m sure Huwyl will be world expert in chickens and their care by the end of the month!
In accordance with the saying I’m not counting my chicks until they are hatched so we’ll just have to see what Saturday brings. The anticipated rate of hatching is 50-75% so we could get between 6-10 chicks and we’ll have to wait a while to see how many of these are female for my egg laying master plan. Hedging my bets, like any good farmer-to-be, I’ve ordered 4 ready to lay hens from our local feed and seed who will be ready for their new home in July. Although we don’t have a house to live in we are laying (no pun intended) the foundations of our future farm, of our future life.
Stand by for excessive pictures of yellow cuteness in the next week!