Our next batch of baby chicks have just started hatching! Just a few minutes ago I started hearing peeping and saw that one chick is starting to make a small hole in it’s egg shell. The hatcher, an ice chest, is located in my office by my desk so I’ll remember to rotate the eggs three times a day. This also makes it easy to monitor the temperature.
In the end of August I had rennovated the hatcher so it is a little more polished and added an automatic humidity system (i.e., a bucket of water. :) ) to it. During previous batches I had measured how much water I used. Then I added that much water to start with on this batch. We’ll see how that worked. I have a lid on the water to slow the rate of evaporation. The humidity level stayed right at 55% to 60% relative humidity up until a couple of days ago so that is pretty good from what I’ve read. We’ll see how the chicks do. I did not do the weighing of the eggs to measure the rate of evaporation. Next time maybe. That will make a good homeschool science project combining biology, data collection, statistics and graphing.
One funny is that our chickens get so much calcium in their diet that their eggs are very strong and opaque so I am not able to candle them at all. We never have trouble with too thin eggs breaking. I periodically make oyster shell available for calcium and we feed them back their egg shells after drying and crushing the shells. I think they also get a lot of calcium from free ranging where they eat bugs. The guineas, who never show interest in the oyster or chicken shells but eat lots of bugs, have even harder egg shells which are totally opaque to candling. On the other hand, the duck eggs are thinner and more transparent and I can candle those but the chicken and guinea eggs block all the light. I just need to get a brighter light, maybe a 1-GigaWatt laser would do the trick?!?
After I do this batch I’m going to make some more small adjustments to the hatcher and then I’ll write up an article about the hatchery, do a circuit diagram for how to wire up the electronics, etc. Very low cost and simple – it seems to work right slick.