We spent the morning getting our incubator ready for a fresh batch of fertilised eggs. At the moment, we have one gorgeous rooster and thirty lovely hens. Every year, at least once a year we incubate some of our eggs.
This time, I will be putting the eggs in the incubator so that our latest chickens will hatch just as some very special visitors arrive to see us from New Zealand.
The incubation process takes 21 days. For 19 days, each member of our family takes turns walking over to the shed to turn the eggs twice a day and check the water. There are incubators available that will automatically turn the eggs and measure the humidity level inside the incubator. I find though, that there is something really special about checking the eggs everyday and anticipation builds as we wait for that first star shaped crack to appear in an egg. Once we get to day 19, we leave the eggs alone for a couple of days, watching instead through the perspex at the top of the incubator. If all goes according to plan and the eggs are fertile, we don't have any power failures and we avoid electrical storms (a factor we have been told can prevent hatching), we will have baby chicks to share in a few weeks time. These chickens are farm chickens. They are a blend of genetics from chooks that have been inherited from friends and family. Our chickens will then be shared again with friends and family.
Checking for new chickens that have hatched is really exciting. We'll share it with you in a couple of weeks time!
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