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Farmette 1769

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Egg hatching season has arrived! By the time our newly acquired eggs hatch, the weather will be softening up. So, I purchased a set of fancy half breed eggs on Ebay. The keeper has all purebreds, but the different types are all loose together. Since they consisted of fancies that we were planning on crossing anyway, this purchase seemed right.

You take a great risk getting eggs in the mail. I am not sure if it is true, but egg sellers claim that postal x-rays will kill the embryos. Temperature is the most likely culprit of getting unhatchable eggs delivered and, of course, breakage. Once the eggs are on their way, there is no control over what happens. I carefully weight the cost vs. risk factor. Hatching eggs are normally non-refundable.

Some egg sellers get defensive and focus on “operator error” as the most likely cause of a bad hatch. I don’t buy eggs from sellers that rant and rave about this particular issue in their description text. I am sure that they are doing everything right on their end, especially since most of the eggs that I have gotten are so well packed. But finger pointing at customers is immature. A seller can sometimes act like the “God of egg hatching” while buyers are merely “amateurs that screw everything up”. Most egg buyers are pretty responsible. It does take some practice, but when you get pretty good at incubating, a “no hatch” batch’s most likely culprit exists in the transit part of the process.

The new eggs are in the incubator. They have been in for several days, so I candled some to test for fertility/life. Things did not look promising. I checked a few sites about egg candling that confirmed my feeling that the eggs were probably bad. Up until now, I have kept questionable eggs in the incubator for the duration of a normal hatch, but was seriously considering tossing this batch early.

So, I took an egg out randomly to crack open into a container. Much to my surprise, although EXTREMELY small (now exposed in a white, kitchen, soup bowl), I could see the little heart of a chick embryo beating in the yolk. It just kept beating too. NOTE: A humane way to put a life like this to sleep is with ice, cold water.

I found a site that has a few “questionable” fertile egg pics. It gives a better range of visuals for reference. My eggs look a lot like the “undefined” examples on this site.

The lesson for the day is – give your eggs some time. When I get some more obvious visuals of healthy growth for these bantam, chicken eggs, I will record the timing and hopefully remember to post it to this blog site. I’ll try to get a good candling pic too.

Here are our eggs in the incubator;

Started growing 02-11-2011

The two with the “X” marks are from our Polish bantam rooster and Showgirl Silkie hen. They produced great chicks last year, but we lost the offspring that we kept to a predator raid on the coops. I am looking forward to raising all of the new chicks – in critter-proof cages.

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