Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hey all. I'm here to report some sad news. If you've been somewhat following along, you'll notice that I've been incubating three bantam Sultan chicken eggs in the incubator. On June 12th when Pip was hatching out of egg 1, I definitely saw movement and heard peeping from egg 2. I thought I might've seen movement from egg 3 but I wasn't 100% sure. I followed what was probably some very bad online advice which was to wait for the hatched chick to dry and fluff a bit before moving them to the brooder -- about two hours. HORRIBLE ADVICE. Under no circumstances should you ever open the top of the incubator until all eggs have hatched. Chick might look bored, might look frustrated. May seem overly tired. I gave in because the chick started pecking at the top of the incubator plastic and I anthropomorphized this simple gesture to mean "Aww look! He hatched first out of the egg --- now he's trying to hatch from the incubator!"


Fatally wrong. I opened the lid to remove Pip (and I swear it was only for a half a second) but in that time, I lost enough humidity to cause damage to the other two eggs. Shortly after removing Pip from the incubator, eggs 2 and 3 stopped moving and peeping. I started to think that maybe they were resting. There were still no actual pips or breaks in either egg. Since Pip had actually hatched a day and a half early, I figured that sometime in the next 24 - 36 hours, the others should follow suit.

When I woke up yesterday morning, a full 24 hours after Pip hatched and 12 hours since I'd heard or seen movement from eggs 2 and 3, I started getting very concerned and started checking the internet. To my complete shock, while searching for terms like "incubating egg stopped rolling and peeping," I wasn't finding anything relevant to my problem. I posted threads on chicken websites, even one on Yahoo! Answers but still didn't have any luck. I couldn't find any information about chicks suddenly being quiet after peeping and rolling. Were they resting? Had they died? And why wasn't anyone answering me??!!

Finally, early yesterday afternoon I came across a website loaded with information about my very problem. While reading and absorbing as much information as I could, I began to notice that I simply hadn't searched for the right terms. The information WAS out there ... plenty of people had the same problems with their hatches. The thread was called "To Hatch or Not to Hatch" and I saw that had I searched a term like "Should I help my eggs hatch," I would've gotten thousands of responses.

The thread described how to manually assist a hatch and most said to not wait more than a few hours after the egg initially falls silent. By the time I tried to assist eggs two and three, it had been a little over 24 hours.

I was very saddened to see that eggs two and three held two perfectly formed, full-term chicks who looked no different than Pip did when she was hatched. They were darker than she is, both with some yellow and some black feathers. I felt so sad but I learned a huge lesson: when I was hatching the eggs myself it was very evident that the membrane and the chicks themselves were very very very dry. Unlike Pip who seemed to almost "ooze" out of her egg, these two would've had a very hard time breaking thru that membrane. I am guessing that in my attempt to "save" Pip from the incubator, I released too much temperature and humidity at too vital a time and because of that, I lost the rest of my hatch. Lesson learned --- I only wish I would've thought ahead to read up on what to do in an emergency. :-(

Here is a picture of the cool little Pip. I've placed ads on Craigslist and I've had many responses --- not for Pip, silly, but for two MORE day-old chicks so Pip can have some good times in the brooder rather than being all alone. I'll keep you all posted on the future adoption and check back periodically for more in the adventures of Pip!

Friday, June 12, 2009

(Side note: Yea! I got to sleep in a little today!)

I woke up later than usual, about 8:30am, and the first thing I did was check on the eggs. The middle egg has pipped ... someone in there is thinking about making an appearance! I showed Aidan and he couldn't be happier. We watched the eggs roll around for a while and although I thought I saw left egg rolling last night, I'm not seeing any action yet this morning. Could I have imagined it last night? I really don't think so. Middle egg and right egg are rolling around like clowns. I took a picture with my camera phone of middle egg. Can you see the pip?!

I'll be back with more updates as needed. Thanks for watching!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

On what may eventually be a quick side-note, I'm back for a little bit of a late-night scoop. I never dreamed I'd be blogging about my incubating bantam eggs but today is day 19, just hours away from day 20, and the eggs have started to peep. I am so excited that I don't really know what to do. My four-year-old son is already asleep and since I've read that the actual hatching process can take a full day (and that's once they start to make it out of the shell), there's certainly no reason to rush right out and tell the neighbors. However, that doesn't mean I'm any less celebratory. I've already called my mom, my best friend (who lives an hour away), and posted it to Facebook. Now the world will know.

It was a tough decision to attempt chickens; we're certainly no farmers, my son and I. We live on a half-acre which is zoned residential but, to our liking, we are one of only two houses on the 1/4 mile road. I don't think anyone will mind the noise from three (hopefully!) bantam sultans. We've got our fingers crossed that there are no roosters in this batch. What are the odds, really?! I think they're in our favor.

About an hour ago, I heard the eggs/chickens peep for the first time. I thought it was an outside animal scratching on a window of the house; it sounded like short little "screeching" sounds. By the time I put two and two together and checked the incubator, two of the three eggs had started rolling. I couldn't believe my eyes! I didn't imagine them rolling at all. I didn't remember reading that in the research I did prior to getting the eggs and incubator. It's awesome!

I'll be back to update you in the morning; sooner if need be. Goodnight and wish us luck! Egg number three hasn't started rolling yet. (Just heard peeps again!)

Blog One.

If asked what I do for a living, I simply reply "I'm a stay-at-home mom."

That couldn't be further from the truth. My son is about to start Kindergarten. He's growing up. He is Mister Independent and it just so happens to be his first summer vacation (having recently graduated from his VPK program). Days have been spent playing Hot Wheels, riding bikes, swimming, and slip n' sliding. Other than making lunch and reading the clock, I'm not of much use.

What I'd love to say when someone inquires is that I'm a writer. An author. I freelance, thanks for asking. How do I begin to redefine who I am?

Maybe it's simple. Maybe I should just start to do it. Maybe if I did it twenty times, I'd remember what it felt like to have a purpose other than just "mother." And so I shall.

I'm going to attempt to write about a random topic each and every day, without fail. I guess some writing will be fiction, some non. There will be a few autobiographical pieces. Maybe I'll write about animals. I might tell you everything you wanted to know about plants. We'll see. I've got about a million topics running through my cranium at any given moment so for now, allow me a brief "pause with post." I'll find a great topic on the WD website and I'll return shortly. Thanks for reading. Keep on keepin' on.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Week in the Life of ...

Admittedly, I'm not the world's best anything. I'm not an artist. I'm not a dancer. I definitely can't sing. In the past five years, I have found one thing I can say I'm good at --- being a mom.

Good, of course, is a relative term.