Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Chick update

I had a bit of a scare last night. The chicks that had hatched were still in the incubator along with the eggs that still hadn't hatched. I awoke to bright flashes of lightning followed by our electricity going out. The first thing I thought of was our freezer full of meat. Then I thought of our future meat in the incubator! Yikes! I immediately got up, fumbled in the dark for my cell phone and palm pilot (which I had previously put the electric company's number in) and called to report the outage. They came, fixed it quickly, and then even called to be sure we had electricity. The total time without electricity was only 30 minutes. Not bad. Meanwhile the incubator did cool off some. You could tell by the condensation on the viewing window. I covered it with towels to try to hold the heat in while waiting for the electricity to go back on.

This morning I checked on them and egg #9 with the "twins" was still unhatched and still moving and trying. Egg #11 was also trying to hatch. One other egg had hatched during the night. One more egged hatched this morning.

I spent some time this afternoon getting their brooder box ready. I'd decided that we'd get the hatched chicks out of the incubator and then if the two in the process of hatching weren't done, we'd just help them. I know, you're never supposed to do that. But you're also never supposed to open the incubator during the last 3 days because it decreases the humidity. I knew of at least 3 occurences of it being opened yesterday by children who were excited and didn't know better. Stephen was able to tell me about another incident or two. What happens then, is that the chick trying to hatch gets dry and sticks to the membrane. Chicks in egg #9 looked really dry. Most of the egg shell was gone, but it was dry. Egg #11 had a foot and beak out, but appeared to be stuck. We also figure that these cute little chicks will lose their cuteness and get to eating size before they are ever able to reproduce, so we won't be carrying on a weak line of chicken.

So Stephen and I cleaned up a place to put their box and started moving chicks. There were 16 cute fuzzy chicks that we moved and they all seemed delighted to have food and water now available to them. He did the "c-section" on the twins and I did the other egg. We both agreed that aside from the membrane sticking to them, they seemed fine. They are currently still in the incubator to finish drying out and get some rest before we put them with the rest in the brooder box.

Then, being the homeschooler that I am, and Stephen being the inquisitive, animal-interested person that he is, we went outside and "disected" the last 6 eggs. We were fine not waiting on them. None of them were alive and none had even finished developing. I will spare you pictures of those! We didn't take any.

16 in brooder
These are the cute little fluffy chicks in the brooder box.

3 in incubator
These are the still wet chicks that are drying in the incubator. We'll let them join the others when they are dry and fluffy.

So we ended up with 19 chicks from 18 eggs, but 24 eggs total.

Off to try to get something done besides stare at eggs now.


1 comment:

George In Auburn said...

That is so cool! We live on a small farm in Alabama that we bought after my retirement. We ordered our first chicks from McMurrays and have been blessed with prolific layers.

I am about to move into raising pheasants and quail.

Congrats on the chicks!