Sunday, 24 March 2013
The chicks are hatching
Three weeks ago we got 12 fertilised hen eggs (the breed is cream leghorn) which we put into our new incubator. As we thought the eggs had been laid a few days before we bought them, we were expecting the 21 day incubation period to end mid week. I had the BBC visiting me on Wednesday and I was hoping to show them some hatched chicks. By yesterday morning, when we went to the Beekeepers' Convention, we had given up hope that the eggs would hatch and assumed that they were not fertile, or we have made mistakes with the incubation process.
Last night, I decided to take a final look at the eggs. They hadn't hatched. But then I heard a very quiet chirping sound. One of them at least had a live chick inside which was getting ready to hatch out. This morning I checked the incubator again and there was a little chick inside. Throughout the day, more hatched. We now have 6 and it looks like at least two more are about to hatch as well.
The chicks will stay in the incubator until tomorrow evening when they will be transferred to a chick brooder. They have enough strength and nutrients from the eggs to allow them to survive the first couple of days without feeding. In that time they recover from the hatching, dry off and build up their strength ready to leave the nest and start eating. The time will give all the fertile eggs the chance to hatch.
So, our little venture has worked and it is all the sweeter as we believed yesterday that we had a complete failure on our hands.