Springtime is incubator time.

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We’re ready to increase our flock. We’ve harvested 5 of the 7 roosters from our hatch last year, and we gave one cream legbar rooster away to someone with a small show flock. So now we have this lovely selection of legbar and Chantecler eggs from our original source, along with some olive egger and black copper marans thrown into the mix. We started them on New Year’s, which means they just reached candling day recently. 

Candling day for us starts at day 6 and rarely progresses more than a few days further.  This is where you take a candling apparatus, or a Maglite, or the flashlight app on your smart phone and your cupped hand, or one of many other methods with varying reliability, and you light up the other side of your egg so you can have a shadow puppet outline of what’s going on inside. If you want to see what that would look like from beginning to end, check out this awesome post on the Backyard Chickens forum. So, because it is interesting and you’re supposed to do this to avoid rotten eggs exploding in the incubator, I dutifully scrutinized my eggs over a flashlight.

Except you can’t really see what’s going on in the colored eggs at all. And I don’t really know what I’m looking at and I’m scared to throw away a perfectly viable egg because I misdiagnosed its blobbiness. And what I actually candled could be called a random sampling rather than a comprehensive test. Because as I went along I started to feel worse and worse about pulling the poor things out in our freezing cold hallway to hold in my freezing cold hand over a flashlight. It turns out, there are some good arguments for being less aggressive about candling. Check out this post at My Pet Chickens about why it might be preferable to candle less. So I’m risking leaving a bad egg in and maybe we’re going to have an exploding mess before this is all said and done. It’s anybody’s guess. Stay tuned for more on that!

 If you’re new to incubating and want to learn everything you could possibly need to know in one comprehensive tutorial, go visit the Hatching 101 page at BackyardChickens.com. I also really like the 4H Embryology page from UNL’s Lancaster extension page. It’s detailed, accessible, and has interesting pictures and videos.

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While we wait, check out this great animation of what’s happening inside the egg.

 

 

 

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