A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara
There has been a tremendous decline in egg production on Miller Farm. Perhaps the chickens are just commiserating with those who have Avian Flu. Perhaps the grumpy game bird hens are intimidating the others by staying in the nest boxes. Perhaps it is a result of a decline in the chicken population – several have died over the past few weeks. Whatever the cause, Assistant CW Rachel decided to address the issue by hatching eggs.
It actually started when she was asked to incubate peacock eggs. As long as she was setting up the incubator, she might as well fill it. As long as she was filling one incubator, she might as well fill another one. After all if one is good, two is better – right?
The peacock eggs were not fertile. It turns out the birds were too young. That left us with 48 chicken eggs. These were not all from our chickens since our chickens seem to be on strike. Rachel gathered eggs from three different flocks. She carefully marked each egg in order to determine which flock had the best hatch rate.
One of the incubators did not hold its temperature very well. The other one was in her closet away from drafts or heat from the windows. Rachel was afraid the variation in temperature would kill the developing chicks. She bought a special light for “candling” eggs to see which were fertile and still alive. She carefully marked the air sack on each egg. That way if one pipped – poked the first hole – outside the air sack, she could help it along. They were set to hatch on Friday, June 26.
Thursday morning we got up to swim and Rachel discovered a chick had already hatched – an overachiever. As it called out other chicks began to hatch. We cleared off the brooder in the garage and began the process of moving chicks outside as they hatched.
We ended up with 32 chicks.
Hopefully most of them will be hens and we will be able to replace our older birds.