Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Waiting for Peeps

About a month ago, our family had a very sad surprise. A neighbor's dog made its way into our backyard and killed four of our six hens while I was picking up Princess from school. We had let the chickens free-roam while we were finishing up their run, just making sure that they were shut in for the night so that coyotes or skunks could not get them. Since they stayed close to the house, we had thought they were safe during the day.

Especially after making the effort to bring them on our move with us, loosing our girls was pretty tough. I was particularly heartbroken over Pearl, who was our sweet Delaware who had lost both her feet to frostbite when she was young. At least two of the girls, Sweetie and Starlight, made their way to safety.

After we got over our shock of losing our girls, we started planning how to build up our flock again. Brady's sister sent us a really wonderful present in the form of a big box with lots of fertilized eggs. She raises some heritage and interesting breeds up in Idaho, so if you are around that neck of the woods, you can check out what neat birds she has here. She sent us some bantam cochins, black orpingtons, and some ducks. The eggs have been nestled in our incubator and we are counting down the days until they start hatching. While the ducks will take a bit longer, the chickens should be any day now. We can't wait to meet our new babies!

Brady bought an egg candler so that we could check on the chick's development as we waited. Candling eggs is incredibly neat. It reminds me of watching ultrasounds of our kids. There is not a super clear view of the chick, but the blood vessels feeding it from the yolk are there, as well the dark area that is the chick's body. I really like just seeing the small movements and knowing that there is life contained within the egg shell. Yesterday, I even saw a tiny silhouette of a foot that briefly stretched out.

We did try to capture some pictures of the candled eggs.  The eggs had been in the incubator for 16 days at this point.  Mainly you can see the blood vessels, but you can make out the darker "blob" of developing chick,.

Here is a video that Brady took to try and catch some of the movement.

This is the egg candler we are using. I would highly recommend it.