On Christmas, we gave Charli Beth an incubator as a gift. It's seriously nothing fancy but after some research I found that it would do its job and give us many memory making days. To say the least this gift was perfect, and is already the gift that never stops giving and growing.
In March, I started asking asking for someone to buy fertilized eggs from to start our project. Let me just say that we are blessed to know many kind, loving families that quickly wanted to share with us. We went with a family friend who also babysat Charli Beth as a baby. She had maran, Araucana and wynadotte eggs.
The perfect combination for all of our wants.
So we picked our eggs and marked them on one side (we used marker and that was a big mistake apparently. I never even thought of the damage it could do but after reading I realize pencil is best. As my 8 year old self would say.."duh!")
The reason we marked the eggs is because we were turning them three times a day by hand. Typically you can find egg turners for a cheap amount at TSC. But I wanted to give this a try and let Charli B stay more engaged - not that she would ever have a problem doing so. We placed them within the incubator and began our journey of incubating chick eggs.
It takes 21 days to hatch. 21 long nerve wracking days.
Are they too hot? Is the Humidity too low? Is this storm going to make us loose power?
It's literally like being a Mama hen. Don't laugh.
You can start to see life forming around Day 6/Day 7.
The veins are spreading and the embryo is very pronounced. Isn't this amazing? It's literally like a chick egg ultrasound. This process is called Egg Candling and is done by a special flashlight.
Day 10 candling already shows movement! I'm not certain that the videos will post along but I will add them to my Facebook page - Boots, Bows & 5-oh
Day 14 was the day to officially throw out eggs that had stopped growing or were not fertile to begin with. On this day we tossed 5. I did crack two of them just to investigate. If you see more than a blood ring within an egg, I do not advise this. The two I opened never started forming after being implanted. There are many reasons this could've occurred.
(This is a bad egg with a blood ring)
Day 18 is the last official egg candling day. This is also known as, "lock down day." After you candle for the last time you shut the incubator and do not open again until hatching occurs. The eggs need to keep their humidity so the shells do not become soft once pip holes begin. This is SO hard.
Day 20 arrived and of course no hatchings started. I literally thought we had killed them all until the next morning came and a little hole came about. I wanted to stay home all day just to watch, but work calls. We were all so anxious that it was hard to wait. We had to make deals of which kid would be the first in the door to check the incubator. By no surprise, Charli won. But no action had been made. We literally ordered pizza and sat by the incubator until Charli and Bryar went to bed. I returned to my perch after tucking in and reading stories. At 12:20 our first chick hatched. I tried waking little Miss Mama hen, but she didn't budge so I ran back in to start a video for her. It was literally...
The ugliest thing ever, but so very cute and sweet at the same time! I listened to it peep all night long as it not so gracefully walked around to cuddle other eggs.
As time passed one thing I noticed with our incubator is that it did not help chick dry off properly. I'm not sure why this is, or what I can help do at this point. For this time I spent an Friday night bathing them with hot water on a cotton ball, then blowing drying their little feathers. After this they each immediately went into our brooder under a heat lamp.
As other chicks started to hatch and Charli was sound asleep, I decided to do a live Facebook video. This hatch took 48 mins, and yes 17 people watched the entire time. I'm so glad that I'm not the only person who was anxiously awaiting hatchlings to arrive.
The chicks are now around 3 weeks old. This a latest photo of some from Easter.
We hope to start a new hatch in a few weeks when life slows down a bit. For now, I believe we'll continue researching and learning from this experience.