Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Is it too early to pass out the cigars?

wwFor the past few days one of my buff orpington hens has gone broody. This basically means that she has decided to sit on her eggs for the purpose of hatching them. I am hopeful that they are currently developing away happily and the end result will be a clutch of peepers that have never gone through the rigors of hatchery practices of being shoved into a cardboard box and shipped halfway across the country via the postal service. While I've been lucky and never had a sick, injured or (worst of all) dead chick arrive at our post office, I can't help but wonder what those first few days are like for them as they are jostled about on the trucks that will carry them to their new homes.

Unfortunately we are not set up to allow her to have the separate private area she needs to properly "set" on her eggs, and because of this it is not safe to leave the eggs in the regular nest box any longer than absolutely necessary. I think that might be a fun project for next year, though. As for this year, that translates to the use of an incubator. I have never in my life attempted this, so I have no idea if we will have success or a smelly depressing mess at the end of it all. But I thought, why not share this first experience with the cyberworld?

Today after I finish this entry, I will be setting up the incubator (we purchased a Hovabator with automatic egg turner) to make sure the temperature is stable and humidity is controlled. Then, if all goes well, I will be pulling eggs tomorrow and putting them in. Michael was kind enough to volunteer to put a web cam on the incubator, thus allowing us our own live peep show. Wish us luck on this new endeavor. I would sure love to be able to breed our own chickens here, thus adding one more step on the chain of raising my animals as compassionately as possible.

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