Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hooked on hatching

I have become obsessed with hatching eggs. I recently bought the new incubator pictured above. I'm very excited about this incubator. It has a much larger viewing window and has been preset to hold the temperature at 99.5 degrees. My first thought was that I would stop using the old incubator but then I decided to hatch guinea hens and chickens so I use the old one for the guinea eggs.

Here is the new incubator loaded with Maran eggs that I ordered through the mail from a breeder in Texas. The eggs are gently rotated back and forth like the mother hen would do while she sits on them. With my old incubator I rolled the eggs at least 3 times a day by hand.

I want to raise chickens that lay very dark brown eggs and from everything I've read it seems like Marans are a good breed.

There are also some Araucana eggs in their from my own hens. I still want to have some blue and green eggs too.

It takes chicken eggs 21 days to hatch. Guinea eggs hatch in 28 days. I check on the eggs several times everyday. Even after hatching 6 different batches of eggs I still get a thrill out of seeing the first signs of a chick starting to break out of the egg. I love being able to see the moment when the chick finally breaks the egg open. They lay there wet and exhausted, looking nothing like the adorable fluffy chicks you think of. Chicken chicks seem to take much longer to break out of their eggs. Guinea chicks burst out of their eggs not too long after you see the first "pip" in the shell. I have had chickens the took more than 24 hours to break out of their eggs.

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