Tuesday, July 24, 2007

We have a miracle

It was 3 ½ weeks ago when I put 13 eggs in an incubator. This incubator is a loan from a friend and is an old manual one – you lift the cover to control the heat, manually turn the eggs every day and make sure there is humidity in the incubator at all times.

When I first started it, I got the temperature up to the optimum temperature of 100°, put the eggs in and marked them for turning (you put a 1 and a 2 on opposite sides so you know where to turn to, and make sure they are turned once every day). I had carefully chosen the biggest brown and green eggs, some nice eggs from layers that were consistent in their laying, hoping to get some lovely pullets.

Within several hours after putting the eggs in, the temperature spiked to 110° and alternated between 110° and 115° for several hours. I got it down to the 100° I needed, then it dropped to 90°. I had killed the baby chickens!!

But decided to leave them and pray for a miracle. Thursday the miracle came. As I was checking and turning the eggs, I heard a peep! Then saw a microscopic hole in an egg.

Thursday was the day that I had chosen to have my sister and her family over for supper. When grandniece came, I took her out and showed her what was happening. After I cautioned her to not lift the lid any higher than it was (she could see the egg through the crack), I allowed her to go check any time she wanted. She managed to drag everyone out to see the progress and I got reports nearly every 20 minutes.

That night while closing up the hens, Norm came out with me and we watched the chicken pop out of the egg. The next morning he / she was dry and ready to move to a heated area. I made a corner for her (she IS going to be a pullet, I am SURE), gave her food and water and heat.

Grandniece said her name was “Peep” … a very fitting name, don’t you think? We feel sorry for her because she is obviously lonesome all by herself.

This morning I buried the other eggs and am going to try again. After the first several days of spiking and dropping, the temperature maintained an even 100°. I am starting to collect my choice eggs, again. So maybe this next time we will be luckier.

We are also getting new broilers next week so little Peep will not be lonesome for long.

As far as the broilers, this group we just butchered was a total success. They survived severe heat, didn’t die of over-eating and are very tender and great eating. So this experiment was more of a success than last year and we will continue to raise our own each year.

Our Buff Orpington pullets have been moved in with the big gals. They were pretty nervous for a while, but are managing to blend in and are enjoying going outside into the big wide world.

It will be hot today – hope you have beautiful, comfortable day!

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