Day 2, plus news from the coop!

Today is Day 2 in incubation land! Since last evening, I’ve been having difficulty controlling the temperature in the incubator… I read a really interesting thread on my favorite website [ http://www.backyardchickens.com ] about temperature and humidity, so I changed the temperature last evening. The problem is that now I’m having trouble getting it where I want it. I just checked, and it’s 100.2. Good. But the humidity is reading “low”, so I’m going to have to adjust that.

Poor Ron (who is having back problems again)… He went to lay down in bed for a little while. I walked in, stopped, and said, “I think I’m going to plug in the other incubator in here tonight”. He just looked at me and sighed. I decided that it wasn’t a good time to tell him about the other 3 batches of eggs I ordered. I am just determined to get this incubation thing down! My hatch rates last year were lousy, and I am determined to get this figured out!

As a sidenote, one kind of egg I ordered is the Sicilian Buttercup, named for the comb shaped like a “buttercup” (credit for this picture goes to another cool website http://www.feathersite.com). There are literally hundreds of varieties of chickens! Some breeds are cold hardy, some aren’t. Some are skittish, some are friendly, and some are mean. Some breeds lay a lot of eggs, some hardly lay any eggs at all. Some are good for eating, and some are scrawny. I am looking for friendly egg-layers!

Here’s the latest from the coop: I assumed my rooster Hugh wasn’t getting lucky with his ladies. I mean, he’s at the awkward teenage stage. Gangly, trying to be manly and strutting around, but just not there yet. So today, I was getting ready to eat breakfast. I cracked open the egg, and yowza! Hugh is a man, I mean rooster! I was so happy!!! My baby has grown up. So, the next time I go out to the coop and find a small pinkish egg, it’s going in to the ‘bator!

FYI: no, there wasn’t any chick. The eggs have to be maintained at the proper temperature for awhile before anything happens. You can tell if an egg is fertile by looking at the blastoderm: all eggs have a white spot – not the white cord thingy. Sometimes you have to really search for it, which can be hard to do without breaking the yolk. It’s a small solid white dot on the egg yolk. If it’s solid – and all grocery store-bought eggs are – it’s INfertile. If it looks like a small bullseye, it’s fertile! Look closely at the egg yolk below, in the lower left hand corner of the egg. Yep, a bullseye! It’s fertile! By the way, this is a picture of the egg I broke open today. Neat! The white cord thing is called the chalazae, which anchors the yolk in the center of the egg. That’s all it is. It’s not an umbilical cord!

In other coop news… Check out our eggs!

My hens were not laying any eggs, which can happen in the winter due to decreased sunlight.  So, gasp, I had to go and buy eggs from the…. store…. I haven’t had to buy eggs in quite a long time. The next day I went out to the coop and found two eggs waiting for me. The store-bought eggs are the white ones. They are labeled “Large”. I’m not sure what size my eggs would be then. Maybe XXL? The problem with having eggs this large is that they don’t fit into the egg cartons we have. The light brown-pinkish egg on the right side is the same size as the white eggs, and this was the “magic” fertile egg. (I left the feather “cap” on the egg I found first thing this morning. So cute!)

Well, that’s all for tonight. I’ve been trying to work on this blog for a long time now. I’m on vacation this week, so I have the time right now to figure this out. 4 more days off, then back to reality.

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