The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Pulling the incubator plug

Chick butts

Incubator trayThe bad news is --- we're not going to have another round of cute chicks on Monday.  I made a stupid mistake, plugging the turner that goes with our incubator into a power strip amidst a jumble of unlabeled cords.  Sometime during the incubation process, the turner got unplugged, and I didn't notice until Thursday.

The one flaw with the Brinsea Octagon 20 is that there's no indicator light on the turner.  It rotates about as slowly as clouds move (which means you can't tell at a glance that it's working), and any motor noise is overpowered by the separately plugged in incubator Chick scratching up leavesunit.  So it's awfully easy to unplug your turner and not notice for days or weeks.  (Note to self: tape turner plug in place next time.)

If you don't turn eggs during incubation, the embryos will stick to the shell and die.  Skipping a day or so is probably not a huge problem, but I have a sinking suspicion our turner actually got unplugged more than a week ago.  So I sent Mark out to bury the eggs and we started saving new ones.  (Yes, Mark does all the dirty (ie emotionally difficult) work around here.)

Peach tree chicken pastureThe good news is that the chicks from the last hatch are thriving.  I was actually wishing I could leave them to work up the ground under the peach tree a bit longer since they're finally starting to turn into leaf-scratchers and I want to eliminate as many bad bugs there as possible.  Since our next batch of chicks won't be hatching until the end of April now, I'll get the benefit of larger chick feet under the fruit trees rather than having to move the youngsters from the first hatch to the big coop right away to make room for newbies in the brooder.  I guess every cloud has a silver lining.

Our chicken waterer has kept our chicks healthy with POOP-free (and drown-proof) water.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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If eggs don't get moved around in a nest when being raised by a broody hen, how do the incubating chicks keep from sticking to the shells? Or is it just the conditions of the incubator that cause this? Sorry you lost a set.
Comment by Lisa Fri Mar 30 15:33:23 2012
Lisa --- The mother hen naturally turns eggs as she shifts around, and she'll also roll eggs with her beak if they're in a place she doesn't approve of.
Comment by anna Fri Mar 30 16:15:52 2012

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