From Family to Nursery

In retrospect I can say that May is bird month around here. We have fourteen incubator hatched chickens in the coop that are approaching seven weeks. And we have had a wild goose family staying around with their four chicks.

At the end of March I posted a video of a the pair of nesting geese, before they had chicks, chasing off another couple. Now that their goslings are several weeks old, they have a whole new attitude. What was one family has grown to three families, with twelve goslings in all. They have been here for a couple of days now.

 

Early Birds

earlybird

The early bird…

With a day still to go, according to the electronic countdown on my incubator, there are seven chicks and counting making a racket in the incubator.

Early this morning, there were two, and those two are beginning to look cute and fluffy.We called them early birds. Now, in the early afternoon, I see that they are a few hours ahead of the game, and stronger and more aggressive than the others already.

I always thought that the expression, the early bird catches the worm, meant that if you were prepared and got up early in the morning, you would be rewarded. But now I’m wondering if it first came from the idea that the early bird, the one that breaks free first, would surely get the first worm from its mother…

Feedback is welcome. 🙂

 

Eggxiety

 

I am down to the last three days of incubation of nineteen eggs. I have found that I have had to constantly adjust the thermostat on the incubator in order to hover around the ideal temperature. The humidity has been even more unstable. I’ve done my best to keep it around ideal by pouring small amounts of distilled water through the vent hole, without opening the incubator.

Yesterday was the big day when I opened the incubator for the first time since I candled the eggs about two weeks ago. It was time to take the eggs out of the automatic egg turner. I had marked the eggs that I thought might not be good after inspecting them. One of those marked eggs was moving around on the plate I set it on, so I’m glad that I didn’t dispose of the ones that I thought looked too porous. I lined the screen at the bottom of the incubator with cheese cloth and laid the eggs back inside. Since then I’ve seen a few more of the eggs move around a bit. Continue reading

Candling Inconclusive

This lonely rooster was attacked by the adult hens as soon as his mother abandoned him.  He wound up in the crock pot.

This lonely rooster, our only hatch from a broody hen back in 2014, was attacked by the adult hens as soon as his mother abandoned him.

I decided to try an incubator this year, having given up hope on my hens’ maternal instincts. A week into the process I was having doubts, like a first time mother, and decided to give my egg candler (a flashlight,) a try. After candling my eggs, I can only say that it was awkward, and I feel like I should have left well enough alone.

I have gone from having twenty one eggs in the incubator to having 19. One of the two I removed turned out to be unfertilized as I suspected. The other one, which I removed because I thought it looked very porous, turned out to have what was probably a viable chick growing inside.

Continue reading

Incubator Ignorance

heathumidity

This temp. reading is lower than on the eggs below. The humidity is a little too high right now…

My incubator has counted down from 21 to 16 days until hatch day with perfect regularity. But when it comes to temperature and humidity its behavior is more erratic. I have turned the factory set 100º all the way down to 97º in order for the thermometer that is on top of the eggs to hover around the correct temperature of 99.5º to 100º. I might have cooked my eggs in the first couple of days. I’m really not sure, but I’m operating on the premises that I did not.
Continue reading

Getting to Know my Incubator

incubatortemp

This morning at around 6:30, I took the leap and plugged in my incubator, without any eggs in it. I poured warm distilled water into the grooves in the bottom of it and put the lid on, and the humidity immediately shot up to 75% and the window got all steamy. The booklet says ideal humidity tops out at about 60%, and warns that excess humidity  will damage the circuitry and void the warranty. So, I dumped all the water, and decided to test the humidity without any water in it all. Continue reading

Ready for a First Date

incubator

It’s almost time to test the incubator.

The delivery man came speeding up my driveway this morning as if the delivery of this incubator was an urgent matter. It really wasn’t but maybe he was just feeling the urgency spring. The lines for garden supplies at our local nurseries indicate that he is not the only one with spring fever.

I asked around, (mostly homestead and chicken groups on-line) and felt reasonably safe about dancing with this incubator. At just over $130 including tax, it was definitely more expensive than if I had made one myself, but sort of mid-range in price over all. Continue reading

About that Incubator

When we first started raising chickens I really didn’t know anything about it. Mr. Mims remembers that his grandfather kept chickens, in Greenville. When he was young he once moved a chicken coop for his grandfather and then planted a garden in that spot. We read a few books on the subject, and after Mr. Mims constructed the coop, we took the leap. At the time, when I read about the whole incubator thing, I said to myself, why use an incubator, why not raise chickens the natural, old fashioned way?

nomommyeggs

Eggs without a broody hen…

We have kept a rooster with our hens for three years now. The idea was that we would raise our own chicks for meat. Now, I can tell you that our rooster has been doing his part of the job, and when I crack an egg, I can see that it is fertilized. But we have had just one broody hen that sat on one egg twice, giving us two chicks in three years. Continue reading