Wednesday, July 29, 2009

After resting in the incubator overnight, the boys and I moved the chick to a temporary "brooder". This is a box under a light that has a warm side and cool side so the chick can regulate his temperature. When the chick is completely dried off and steady on his feet we'll put in food and water. The poor little guy looks lonely... We are still hoping that one of the eggs left in the incubator will hatch. One is showing signs of progress this morning.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

This first little chick has been very active since he popped out of the egg an hour ago.

One of the eggs is hatching today -- we're hearing lots of peeping and that chick is really struggling to get out. The other egg that started hatching last night still looks about the same with one little hole in the side and movement every once in a while.

Monday, July 27, 2009

It's been a long day with the incubator. This morning the boys and I "candled" the eggs with a lamp and gave up on five that weren't developed. (This is the edited version of the story...) Things were looking grim as the day wore on and there were no signs of hatching from the other eggs, but tonight two eggs are pipped (see photo -- the two eggs on the right are the ones). There are little holes in two of the eggs, and I heard peeping from inside one! If we even get one chick to hatch I will be very relieved. We'll see what happens overnight...
Well our "hatch date" was yesterday and still no chicks. I'm not too hopeful at this point...

Friday, July 24, 2009

The eggs are in the last few days of incubation and are due to hatch Sunday. Today we entered full "lockdown" mode -- which means you're supposed to keep the incubator closed to keep in the humidity.

I'm very anxious for at least some of them to hatch -- there are so many variables. With our homemade incubator and the recent hot weather, I've had trouble keeping the temperature constant. The thermometer beeps when it gets too hot, and I've had to manually open the lid to cool things off to the target temperature of 99 degrees. Twice it was beeping for an hour at the borderline temperature of 102 degrees when I wasn't around. And last night after making adjustments to keep humidity in, the incubator ran at below 95 degrees overnight. People who do this a lot say things like "a one degree variation in temperature can ruin your hatch". But then there are others who point out that "eggs withstand a lot of variation in nature so don't worry". I went ahead this week and bought the cute little chick feeding tray, 20 kg of feed and the water dispenser.

Saturday our family will be at Playland Amusement Park all day for Richard's company picnic, so fingers crossed that we don't come home to a beeping thermometer!

Friday, July 17, 2009

I've been "candling" the eggs with a lamp every couple of days to see the development. So far all of our eggs show veins inside and an embryo moving around. Here is an image from day 11. The dark spot is the eye.

We're hatching some chicken eggs this summer and have them in a homemade incubator. The eggs are from a farm in Langley, BC that breeds "ISA Reds and Auracanas". Our eggs are different shades of whites and browns so we should end up with a variety of types of chicks.

I got our eggs on July 7 and the incubation period is 21 days. Our incubator keeps the temperature at 99-100 and humidity at around 40%.

The "X" marks on the eggs help in knowing which side is up since we have to turn them a couple times a day like a mother hen would. The reason for turning the eggs is so that the developing embryos don't get stuck to the inside of the shell.

Anyhow, assuming that half of the eggs hatch (like in nature) and that half are hens, we'll have three hens to keep in the backyard. (Not that I'm counting them yet...)