Thursday, March 26, 2009

21 days and counting

My lovely niece let me borrow her incubator this year. Three days ago I plugged it in and got the temperature ready. Two days ago I put in seven eggs, and yesterday I added another six. Today I'll add some more, and again tomorrow. And hopefully, by the middle of April, we should start seeing a few little fuzzballs hatching out.

This is the first time I've used an incubator. I'm not sure what to expect. Some people have great luck, some people only get a 20% hatch rate. If I had the electric fan and automatic turner attachments, I think I'd get a better hatch. But I don't, so I'm planning for the lower rate. Which is why I'm putting so many eggs in there to begin with.

I have to turn the eggs twice a day. One side of each egg has an X, the other an O. Before work and before bed I open the lid of the incubator and gently turn the eggs. If the water level looks low, I add some. Then I quickly put the lid back down before the temp drops too much.

I also ordered some chicks from McMurray this morning. I guess the chick-selling business is going gang-busters this year. Which is good, in terms of people wanting to raise more of their own food. But it is also bad, because the earliest I could get my chicks mailed to me was June 8th. They're sold out of everything before then.

In a week or two I'll set up the brooder pen in the basement. I use a kiddie pool filled with wood shavings surrounded by chicken wire. Add a brooding lamp, waterer, feeder and you're ready to go.

Twenty-one days and counting...


Anonymous said...

yay! I'm so glad you're able to use the incubator! Just make sure you don't touch those silver wire things that heat it up... They are super hot! I've burned myself a couple times from those.
I would suggest turning the eggs a third time right before bed, so they're not sitting on the same side each night.
That's so cool how you have colored eggs. I hope they hatch!!!

Jo said...

Thanks Em! Some ppl say to rotate twice, some say to rotate thrice a day (cool word, aye?). I'm lazy, so I'm doing twice. So far, no burns from the wire. Knock on wood.
I tried to time the hatch so that it would happen when you visit at easter, but getting the temp leveled off at the right point took a couple days longer than anticipated. Sorry! You'll have to stay an extra three days to see the little fuzzballs. Which would be great -- school shmool. Ask your Mom!

Karen said...

I read that comment!!! Emily is already suffering from the "senior slide syndrome!" Don't encourage her!! Good luck with the chicks! We enjoyed the button quails that Emily hatched.

Jo said...

There's nothing wrong with senior slide -- she's already accepted into college, right? So there's no reason to worry about getting good grades.

Besides, with Em, it would take alot more than missing three days to drop her A+ average. So let her stay!