Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fast Falls the Eventide....

...but I don't need to fear or fret

because I am basking in the soothing, glowing, warming light of...


Yep. The Erskine State Park is now in the chicken egg hatching business!

Olivia received a small incubator for Christmas. It has been sitting in the box - waiting for Spring.

The other day, Brillo Man returned to the house from his daily trek to the chicken coops. (Note - I said 'coops' - we now have two. More on that in another post)...anyway, he returned with five eggs in hand and gleefully announced, "They're still warm!!"


Okay - so he grabs the incubator (which was "some assembly required".) I told him he was on his own as I was busy cleaning the laundry room.

A few minutes later, he brings me a rectangle of aluminum foil and asks me if I can cut it in half.

Are you kidding?

Okay. Done.

The correct positioning of the foil is apparently essential in reflecting the heat from the small light bulb onto the eggs....


The temperature is critical. It must be between 90 and 102 degrees fahrenheit. Preferably closer to 100.

Three hours later...we are still waiting for the temperature to rise to the occasion so that the eggs may be placed.

Isn't it too late?

What do you mean?

Haven't they eggs been sitting out on the kitchen table too long. I mean...they're no longer warm.

Doesn't matter.

Doesn't matter?


Why not?

Because the hens will leave the eggs in a pile for awhile before one finally gets in a "brooding mood" and begins to sit on the eggs.

Oh. (What do I know? ...nothin')

SO...finally, after about four hours, the temperature is high enough that the eggs may be placed inside. By this time, Olivia is home from school and simply beside herself with excitement. She drew an "X" on one side of the eggs and a "deeley bopper O" on the other side of the egg. (Every "O" which Olivia draws contains a smiley face and antennae - or rather - deeley boppers.) We've got eggs with deeley boppers.... And they must be turned. Three times a day. The X's and Deeley Bopper O's will make it easier to keep track of which side is "the opposite" side.


For three days now we've been turning eggs three times a day.

How long do we have to turn these eggs, anyway?

21 days. Or maybe 22. But for sure, 21 - but never less than that. (...says Olivia, the chicken egg hatching expert.) And you ABSOLUTELY CANNOT TOUCH THEM WHEN THEY START TO HATCH!

I knew that.

So how do we know if these eggs are fertile? How do we know they're not going to just sit there and rot?

Olivia informs us that she knows they're fertile because she saw the rooster jumping on the hen. Which, by the way, how does that work? (I'm thinking I'm not ready to have that conversation yet....)

SO....moving right along. I've been told that we will candle the eggs to see if there's an embryo developing.

Wonderful. When do we do that?

Neither Brillo Man nor Olivia has any idea.

Well...maybe we should find out.

Because I just went over and turned the eggs...and I'm detecting a fowl (pun intended) odor.

...I'm thinkin'...Tractor Supply will be selling baby chicks in a few weeks...isn't that easier?

For all you reality TV fans, stay tuned for...The Hatching....(the miniseries...)


She lays her eggs on the ground
and lets them warm in the sand...
-Job 39:14


Diane said...

Hmmmmm, a 'brooding mood'. Well, that explains all my bad moods then! I never had eggs to hatch so wasted all that brooding. Thanks Deb, I never knew being a 'sister' would teach me so much about myself! ;-)

Many hugs.........


Mrs. Mac said...

Ahh .. there is just something about warm eggs (after the hen lays them;) to snatch from the nest and bring in on a chilly day .. these eggs are best .. what an adventure you guys will have with the chickens :) wish I lived closer to help out (not that I know how to help with chickens .. just always wanted to do that) Enjoy!