As I type this, I cant help but notice the silence. Not completely silent, obviously. With three children, the house is never completely silent but the office area is much quieter than this time yesterday.
You see, after 28 days of buzzing, the incubator has been switched off.
Some 28 days ago, 22 eggs were lovingly placed into it and it was switched on.
A problem arose. Doesn’t it always?
The previous year, there had been an accident where the incubator fell off the table it was on and the automatic turner stopped working.
Despite ordering a new one, it still wouldn’t work so I took the unit off the rocker and proceeded to manually turn the eggs.
In the rocker removal, one egg cracked so I had 21 eggs which I turned three times a day for the remaining incubation period.
Day 21 came and I could see an egg pipping. I was so excited. It doesn’t matter how may times you hatch eggs, I defy anyone not to be thrilled at the little, wet birds that emerge from the shell.
The hatch went on until day 25.
Ten had been born originally. Once in the brooder, one looked dead but when I picked it up, it was breathing so I rushed it back to the incubator to revive.
Revive it did but I think there was actually something wrong with it because that was the first casualty of the hatch.
Two unfortunately died (accidental death rather than illness) and I resigned myself to the seven chicks.
I was at my computer on the night of day 24 though and I heard the tell tale noise of cheeping. Another chick was on the way and I could see the pip in the egg.
On the morning of day 25, I could see the pip had not grown any bigger and I googled it. There is a fine line with humidity levels once chicks have started hatching and I was trying to be cautious about adding water because I didn’t want the chicks to get wet.
It seems my caution made the hatching of my last chick difficult though because the shell was very hard.
I added water at several intervals that morning and sure enough, out popped the chick.
I don’t know if it is because it was an unexpected one but she is my favourite and has a little line of colour on each side of her face.
I mainly hatched araucanas and they are the yellow chicks. I asked the lady who I bought the eggs off for a mix for the others and, despite since asking her what they were, she didn’t get back to me so who knows.
Hopefully the eight remaining chicks will make it now.
Some of the earlier hatchlings have already got little feathers growing on their wings and they are very active eating, drinking and pooing ( a lot).
It is amazing to see the rapid life cycle of a chick from egg to chick to juvenile to chicken.
They will stay under heat until they are six weeks old or fully feathered-whichever comes first.
I only have one brooder so I can’t hatch any more until these chicks are three weeks old. I have them on order though.
My first hatch was only 52 per cent (I’m not counting the egg that cracked) but it is still relatively early in the season and the cold weather has not helped with some layers at all.
Hopefully many more chicks will be making an appearance this year. A third hatch all depends on whether I get fed up manually turning the eggs. Mother hen, I am not.