I apologize for not making a post for over a week but my new hobby has taken up all of my time lately. What may this new hobby be you may ask? It's called being sick! I have had the worst bout with illness for the last week that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemies. It's started with the flu almost three weeks ago and ended up with a bevy of secondary infections including sinus and conjunctivitis in both eyes.
But enough about me, I want to give an update about my chicken hatching hobby. The ones that I hatched a little over a month are huge and way too big to be inside but it's way too cold to move them outside to the chicken coop. So, we have them in the basement in a big galvanized trough until it warms up enough.
They are a mellow group of babies. Their daddy is our buff orpington rooster, John who is a mellow fellow himself.
Now for an update on the incubating eggs. I candled them on day 7. Candling is a method of holding an egg in front of a focused bright light to see what's going on inside. I used a bright small flash light and hold it to the top of the egg. It works pretty good but I'm also very new at this. So, I'm not always 100% certain at what I am seeing at this early stage. Especially with the dark marans eggs which are much harder for me to understand what I'm seeing.
Here's a tally for the 24 eggs that we started incubating on 3/3/09:
4 eggs have been culled, 2 due to infertility and 2 were what we call "quitters." They stop developing in their first week of development for unknown reasons, possibly bacterial infection.
17 eggs (8 cuckoo marans & 9 from our own flock) look like they have developing embryos. The little buggers actually move a bit...it's really exciting to see them!
3 of the cuckoo marans eggs I'm giving a big"?" because I do believe that I am not seeing any chicks in them but they are too dark for me to be certain.
I crack my eggs into a cup when I cull them to see if there is any development and to reaffirm that I made the correct assessment. I haven't been wrong in my short career as an egg candler but I am so afraid that I might make a bad call on these dark eggs and kill an embryo that was developing. I'm going to give them a day or two more before I decide to cull or not. It's a double-edged sword because with the inside of the incubator at 99.5F you could either be growing a chick or one heck of a stink bomb! If a rotten egg explodes and splatters on the good eggs they could become damaged by any bacteria or toxins from the bad egg. It's not a good thing.
I'll have to get off the fence at one point! I will keep everyone posted on the three "?" eggs.
To be continued....