Friday, 22 April 2011

We're Going All Natural

Last night, after careful consideration and much procrastinating, I turned off the incubator. But worry not! Because I gave the three fertile eggs to the serama pancake formally known as Vera. To my amazement and great relief, she looked at the eggs in front of her and then tapped them a bit with her beak. After a moments consideration, she scooped them under her wing one by one and wriggled about a bit until she was comfortable. I have officially placed all of my precious eggs in one basket.

I decided to go down this route for several reasons. After candling, I was relatively certain that Vera only had two fertile eggs. But the egg shell meant that I wasn't entirely sure, so I left it another twenty four hours and candled again. The egg lit up like a fairy light, but I could still see a dark mass. And the dark mass appeared to be slowly moving. It was definitely not as developed as the other embryo's, though, so I assumed that this embryo had died at some point and I decided to discard it and give Vera the remaining eggs. Once she was happily settled, I took the dud egg in to the kitchen.

Bracing myself, I decided to crack it open to see exactly what was going on. It took me a few minutes to pluck up the courage. Like most novices, I am so terribly afraid of getting it wrong. I had visions of cracking the egg only to find a tiny, viable embryo. In my rather over-active imagination, I could see a tiny chick turning to me with a reproachful look, and then I'd have to stick my head in the oven to make amends for wanton chick murder. Of course, when I cracked it I found a perfectly formed but unfertilised yolk. With slow dawning, I realised that the dark mass I'd seen slowly moving was probably this exact yolk suspended in the albumen. What a muppet.

So now it's all down to Vera.


  1. Hello! My family and I are about to start keeping chickens and I'm anxious to get it right from the word go. I've just ordered a wooden chicken house and have been investigating all the different things that can infest them and hurt the girls. Feel free to ignore my question but you seem very knowledgeable in matters chicken - I was wondering if it may help to paint the inside of the chicken house before introducing the chickens, to fill in any nooks and cracks mites may live in?

  2. Hello Kim :)

    I have heard of people painting the inside of the coop with a gloss paint. It makes cleaning out easier, too. However, you do need to be careful that it won't be dangerous to your hens if/when they decide to eat it . I've also heard of people using silicon sealant along all of the internal joints to make it harder for red mite to get a strong hold. I personally don't, I just coat the house in creosote once a year (inside and out) and use mite powder liberally in the coop when I clean out once a week. However, I've never yet had red mite .

    What type of hens are you getting? :D

  3. Thanks for that - it's good to know that you've not had red mite, I think it proves the point that prevention is better then cure from the back foot!
    As we're new to chickens I'm looking at hybrid birds, I went on a chicken keeping course last week and totally fell in love with the Bluebelles - however my daughter wants a Lohmanns so she can call it Ruby. We're going to start with three, mix and match hybrids - we're limited to our garden so I'm trying not to get too carried away with numbers. Trying being the operative word!
    Thanks so much for the advice,
    Kim x