When quarantine first started i thought it would be fun to raise some baby chicks with Otto. We could use a few more and it would give us something productive to do. I found out one of my friends sells a variety of bird..eggs. I agreed to buy them without reading the find print at first. I was buying fertilized eggs not chickens! I always tend to do these kinds of things. Jump first look later. But it was a happy accident! We ordered an incubator off of amazon as well as a hydrometer and a candler. As soon as they came in we headed to Everbrooke Farm to pick up our eggs.
We decided to go for mixed breed rainbow egg layers because who doesn’t love a basket full of gorgeous eggs. Well that is our goal at least. It took me a few days to get the incubator to stay consistent with the needed hatching humidity (50%) and temp (100.5) but two days in we were ready to rock and roll and place our eggs. We followed the instructions to place them into the incubator with the large round end up and shut the lid. For the next 18 days we watched the humidity and temperature, adding water to the tray when it go too low. I candled a few eggs on the 7th day and 18th day and while it was hard for this newbie to gauge I had a good feeling about it.
On day 18 I set the incubator into “lockdown” to get ready for hatching. I raised the humidity 70% and checked just a few more eggs. I noticed one had a slight crack and I thought I damaged it but put it into the incubator. A few hours later our first chick was hatching!
it was an incredible thing to watch but also where my hatching process took a wrong turn. We were SO excited to see the baby chick hatch that we made a big rookie mistake, we took the lid of the incubator off too long which dropped the humidity and prohibited all but one other chick to hatch.
I did want to know what stage our other eggs made it to so I did one of the yuckiest things I’ve done yet on the farm and that is perform egg autopsy outside. Sadly we would have had about 8 out of 12 eggs hatch if it wasn’t for my error. Trust me, the image of that alone is going to forever prohibit me from opening the egg incubator again.
So all of that work and we have two baby chicks. I learned a ton though and we are currently in day 2 of giving it another go! Now that I know where we went wrong the first time i’m hopeful we will get a better hatch the second time around. Otto named the yellow chick “banana” and the grey one is still nameless.
Even though we made some mistakes farming is all about learning. It was amazing to watch otto’s excitement every day as we checked on our “chicken nuggets” in the incubator. Now every time he walks by it in our laundry room he yells “ARE THEY HATCHING!?!?” This has been a huge bright spot in our day while we are staying home during Michigan’s shut down.
He loves to feed and water our baby chicks and make sure that their light is warm enough for them. I stuck the end of my hydrometer under the heat lamp to check the temp for them (95 is a good temp). They currently live in our laundry room which is now our hatchery. When joe came home after 3 weeks away to an incubation hatchery in the laundry room.. he just shrugged. He’s used to it by now.
Stay tuned for round two results!