Thursday, June 18, 2020

Chicken Eggs and Hatching

Well we decided to get backyard chickens! Wednesday evening, May 13th we picked up the eggs from a local lady I found on Facebook that has chickens of her own. It was about a 15 minutes drive from us. We paid $10 for a dozen eggs. Thinking only about 8 or so would fit in the incubator. Our end goal is about 3-4 hens. Since our city doesn't allow roosters we took into account those and then losing some eggs in the process of incubation. My brother mailed me his incubator which we had turned on and ready earlier that day. 


Drove out to the country to get the eggs. I brought an egg carton but she had one she gave me the eggs in. We got a mixture of Easter Eggers, Olive Eggers, Americana's, and Blue/Black Marans. The rooster is a Blue/Black Maran and when you mix a Maran with an American you get an olive egger. We've learned that olive egger is basically a chicken name for 'mutt'. So yeah our eggs are pretty much Chicken Mutts, lol. 

We got them home, wiped them off just a little and got them set up in the incubator just around 5:00pm that Wednesday evening. All these eggs had been laid on Tuesday the 12th. The lady said she has had a high rate of fertilized eggs and when she cracks them to cook she can tell they are fertilized. There's a trick to this, which I was unable to figure out in the one egg that wouldn't fit that we ate the following day. We got 11 eggs to FIT! Turns out it's a 10 egg incubator not an 8 egg like we thought, but yah!


The X's on the eggs help know which way they are turned since we have to turn them 3 times a day for the first 18 days. 

We kept a close eye on them over time. The hatching process is suppose to take 21 days (3 weeks). Besides turning them and then eventually candling it was a long waiting  process and taught the kids patience. After we had the eggs we began to start on the coop building that weekend (I'll make a separate post all about the coop, quite the process) 

May 17th Four days in:

My brother came for a visit May 21st through the 26th. We waited for him to come for the official night of candling. We waited til it was dark because this was the easiest time to see. I had take a few peeks earlier in the week when I would do the nighttime turning. Isaac stayed up with us and was the photographer: 



May 25th, looking again


May 28th, Day 15

Looking again May 28th, Isaac is the photographer again




And then there were eight. We could tell the 9th didn't make it around day 16/17. Two more days til LOCK down. Which is when you close up the incubator, stop turning the eggs and wait for them to hatch. You don't open it until they have hatched and are DRY. 

Waiting and watching. It was a Sunday evening we did our last candling before locking it down. We were so surprise to wake up Monday morning to see THREE PIPS!!! WHOA that happened SUPER fast! We got the broader ready, making sure we had a thermometer and then I later filled it with some wood chip shavings. 


It was a very exciting day of watching, I think I even skipped my workout on Tuesday due to the excitement. But by noon on Monday we had our FOURTH PIP! They were coming fast! Nothing like the birth's I had, lol. 

(I'm not sure the videos work in this blog... sorry if they don't)

At 6 PM on Monday June 1st our first chick HATCHED! It's our only white chick and we named it BeepBeep because it was crazy moving in it's egg and it was VERY chirpy! 

It was all by itself for that first night. At about 8pm we had our 5th pip! They were all pipping away. But when we went to sleep we only had one hatched chick. 

I had woken in the night, probably Harpo, he's developed this lovely habit of needing to go outside in the middle of the night EVERY NIGHT. And I'd rather drag myself out of bed to let him out then clean up a mess the next day. Kyle and I take turns. But I checked on the eggs about 1am. BeepBeep was starting to get fuzzy but no other chicks had hatched yet. 

But then by 6:30am Tuesday morning we had TWO chicks! 

We knew the others weren't far behind so once the second chick was dry we took them both out and moved them to the broader: 

Tuesday was very EGG-citing.

At about 10 am we got to watch the third chick hatch. 

The first two just hanging out staying warm and dry

Then at 10:15 the fourth one was coming out. It took only 25 minutes for the 4th one to fully hatch.

Then by 1:00 we had another so 5 eggs had hatched. 2 moved to the broader and 3 in the incubator it was getting REALLY humid in there. 


Okay at this point I'm getting lost with all the incubator chicks. Long story short 6 eggs hatched on Tuesday. We waited til they were dry and moved them over to the broader. Leaving ONE lone egg in the incubator. There was a pip, or what we thought was a pip so we wanted to keep it warm and hope it was just a late hatcher. 


Egg number 8 in the incubator. 

We made the kids wait 24 hours to hold the chicks, they were so excited! 


Mary had made a crown for her chick, lol. She put it on while Emma was holding beep beep


By the end of Wednesday we were starting to lose hope in egg number eight. It was not looking well. We ended up waiting til Thursday but taking it out. It was starting to get STINKY!

Thursday morning everyone was begging to hold the chicks again. We try to hold them or handle them daily so they are used to us. 

Thomas wanted to hold one too but was turned off by the scratchy feet. He had settled for just petting them since then. 

So here they are! They are two weeks old now as I write this but this was their first photo shoot at just a couple days old. Since then I have taken weekly photos to watch them grow. I'll share that in another post. But for now I'll leave you with these cute little fluff balls! 

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