I can hear chickies peeping from the incubator. I just put another tub of water in to increase the humidity. Upon lifting the lid Kael and I saw that a second egg had started to break – this time it is an Araucana. Yay!
I was starting to get concerned that nothing had really happened with our 9am egg, so I’ve just been on the web finding out how long it takes for chickies to break free of their shell once they start pipping it. Twenty-four hours plus! So no need to panic, thankfully.
I also found out that most people don’t help chickies out of the egg, but if they do, they won’t help until it’s been 48 hours. Hopefully that won’t be an issue.
Xav still likes the idea of raising two or three chickies himself, so we’d better get to work on that brooder box for inside.
On another note, I’ve done the second coat on the brooder. Looking good. However I’ve decided that I won’t be painting any other designs on it today. Instead I’ll be doing things like a final clean out of the brooder, disinfecting feed and water containers and mowing the lawn! Oh, and making lunch for the starving hoarde 🙂
Okay, the Araucana chickie has hatched! From it’s colour I’m guessing it’s one of the wheatens. It’s so tiny!
The incubator day counter ticked over to day 21 at about 9pm tonight. Nothing’s happening yet… Everybody tells me they should hatch fine. Me, I’m not so sure. If there’s no sign of hatching in the morning I’ll be disappointed, even though I’ve been telling myself it will be a terrible failure and they won’t hatch coz I don’t want to get my hopes up.
Went to the Benalla craft/farmers market today and spoke to Tony the chook man. He had a couple of wheaten Faverolle girls with cute little ear muffs and I was sorely tempted. But with the imminent arrival of a bunch of chickies I’ve nowhere to quarantine them. Oh well, maybe next time. I told Tony that when my next hen goes broody I’ll get some Plymouth Rock eggs off him, hopefully he’ll have some by then.
Started painting the brooder this arvo – the first coat is done. I’ll do the second coat in the morning tomorrow, and if I’ve got time I’ll see if I can paint something intresting on it too. Maybe a mother hen and some chickies. Right now I’m trying to think of a cool name to give it but at the moment all I can think of is “The Chickiebator” or “The Broody Hen”.
Just starting the first coat
Xav doing his bit
While I was painting Kathy phoned to say that two eggs had hatched! An Araucana and one of her bitzers! Whoohoo!! Meanwhile nothing was happening in the incubator. And still nothing was happening at 5:30am when I staggered out of bed to help Xav. However, at 9am this morning, one of the Light Sussex eggs has started to crack! Still, as the saying goes, ‘don’t count your chickens before they hatch.’
Well it’s day 20 now and these eggs should be hatching over the next four days. I’m really nervous. What if none of my $50 eggs hatch??? I’m hoping for an 80% hatch rate as I think it’s pretty unlikely to get a 100%, although that would be pretty awesome, but really I’d be happy with 50%.
Spoke to Kathy last night about what we’re going to do once the eggs hatch. We’ve decided that we’ll let each other know when the eggs start hatching and I’ll bring over any chicks on Sunday and Monday nights (if they’re hatching on time) to put under the broody.
After two days Kathy will bring the broody and chicks to my place and we’ll house them in the chickie house (need to paint it this arvo then and give it a good clean out). I think I’ll put it under the olives out the back near the kids’ sandpit.
If after two days we still have some unhatched eggs we’ll put them in the incubator for a couple mored days and see if we get any more chicks hatching. I’d better have a brooder ready just in case. I’ve got the box, just need to figure out how to do the light.
Well it’s day 18 now for our fertilised eggs. If all goes according to plan we should get some little chickies hatching in the incubator in the next few days.
Of course my experience with chickens of late has shown me that rarely do things go to plan and it really is “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch” because the chances of all twelve eggs hatching are very slim. Not that I’ve got twelve eggs – seven are in the incubator while the other five are under Kathy’s broody hen.
Not sure what happens once the ones at Kathy’s hatch. Do we leave them with her broody? Bring chicks here after they hatch and put them all together? Leave the broody with one chick? Or just leave them with Kathy and I’ll get some fertilised eggs off her later? Guess we’d better sort it out pretty soon.
Tim and I tried candling the eggs last night, but obviously we have absolutely no idea as it was a complete failure. I’ll have to look it up for the next time we do it so we know how to do it. But what I did do was take the eggs out of the turny thingy and place them on a tea towel on the tray and refill the water so the humidity is high for the next few days.
Apparently I should hear pipping from the eggs on about day twenty, although the incubator is quite noisy so maybe we won’t… I’m just hoping we get a decent hatch rate and I didn’t waste my money. Guess I’ll know in a few days.
Scales went broody again, so after umming and ahhing for a while I ordered some fertilised eggs. This time of year finding eggs is a little tricky as all chooks everywhere are going into moult and their laying drops right off. So my order of Araucana and Light Sussex eggs arrive on the same day I notice that Scales doesn’t seem quite so broody!
Sure enough, after letting the eggs rest for 24 hours (important to do after receiving eggs via the post) Scales is most definitely NOT broody! To be sure I locked her in the nesting box with a couple of unfertilised eggs. She was hanging to get out the next day. Needless to say her lack of said broodiness sent me into a bit of a tail spin. I’d paid $50 for these eggs and now I was without nature’s perfect chick raising machine, meaning I was going to have to do it myself. Problem, I don’t have an incubator! Aaaah!!!
I’ve heard tales of people incubating eggs in an electric frying pan, but when push came to shove it was very hard to find reliable information out there as to how to do it, yet an awful lot of people believed it to be possible or had heard of someone doing it. In fact one of my friends hatched some guinea fowl eggs in one, although they only had three days to go and just needed some extra help. Anyways, it’s got me more than a little curious, I’m so curious I’m going to try it later, but with some less expensive eggs! When I do I’ll blog about my experiences.
After checking out the frying pan option I finally remembered there were people I could call who are a wealth of information when it comes to chooks. Only took me a couple of days to remember, and the first one I called had a broody hen! I went over the next day (which happened to be a Saturday) with my precious eggs and Xav. Upon arrival I was told there was someone else with another broody hen or duck and an incubator! So after a cuppa and some very yummy Anzac slice (the biscuits had all run together) we went off to meet my potential saviour.
They had ducks, chooks, geese and turkeys, two dogs, a cat (with which Xav was extremely taken) and numerous other animals including a cow and some sheep. Anyway, after much talking and getting to know each other I was presented with an incubator and shown how to use it. It’s now sitting on the fooseball table lid merrily humming away with four Araucana eggs and three Light Sussex. The other five I left for the broody. Sixteen days later the broody is still sitting and the machine is still humming away. It is well and truly time to candle the eggs to see if any of them are fertile. Not that I’ve ever done it before and I have to admit that I’ve been putting it off – I’m a teensy bit scared that I may have wasted my money. Maybe tomorrow…