Monday, May 5, 2008

DAY 1: Egg Pick-Up Day

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Today we are going to the University of Illinois Extension Office in Naperville to pick up 3 dozen fertile eggs. The kids and I are so excited!

Wow, I hadn’t realized how many hands I would need to pick up the eggs. I’m glad I had the kids with me. I carried the grocery bag with the 3 dozen eggs (packaged in regular egg cartons, but with no holes in them), while two girls each carried a bag of chick feed and one girl carried my folder that we brought with us.

This afternoon, we added warm water to the two outside chambers of our still-air incubator. The metal grate was placed on the bottom of the incubator. One by one, we take each egg out of the carton and number them one through thirty-six. With a PENCIL, on one side (sideways, not up and down), we put an “X” and an “O” on the other. This way we can keep track of turning the eggs. They have to be turned every 6-8 hours. This keeps the chick from sticking to the inside of the shell and inhibiting growth. It’s very important. Each egg was then placed so gently on top of the grate. In order to accurately observe the temperature, we put the thermometer right on top of the eggs (it lays flat). We closed the incubator and went on with our afternoon. Of course, we washed our hands before and after touching the incubator and eggs. This is a must! We don’t want anyone getting sick – us or the chicks!

The temperature initially dropped to 68 degrees in the incubator. Wow, that’s a lot. Well, we were expecting it to drop and the eggs were room temperature, so we’ll just watch and see. Then later in the evening, I took a glance at the thermometer. Oh my gosh! It’s 102!!! How can THAT BE? I have no idea what happened. Did someone bump that knob? Did I do something wrong? Did I just kill those baby chicks?

Tiny, tiny turns of the knob… It’s gradually back to 100. I hope that didn’t increase the temperature too rapidly and harm the chicks. We’ll just have to wait and see… Tonight I prayed for those 36 eggs! Tomorrow we start turning the eggs.

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