Meet 3.0. Some assembly required.

At last, some hopeful news. I know I haven’t blogged Trixie’s death yet. I’ll do it as soon as I can bear it. Same for the obituaries.

This morning, our long-awaited hatching eggs arrived from The Garry Farm, our first hatch ever. The new Genesis 1588 has been assembled and sterilised, the brooder is even set up (not too optimistic, am I?). I went to the post office in my jammies, because I just don’t care.

Shipped eggs are notoriously difficult to hatch, as the shipping often renders them nonviable; it doesn’t take much jostling for air sacs to detach, or for eggs to be scrambled, frozen, or overheated. That said, The Garry Farm is pretty famous for the care it takes sending shipped eggs. I was hopeful.

The reviews do not exaggerate, gentle reader; each dozen arrived in a medium-sized USPS Priority Mail shipping box. Each box was lined with heavy-duty large bubble wrap, and, within, a smaller USPS Priority Mail shipping box, the 7x7x6 size. Included in the large box were detailed instructions for the handling and hatching of the eggs…and a prayer for their delivery and, well…delivery.

Now, I am not anyone’s idea of a praying woman, but, let me tell you: with all we’ve been through lately, I am very moved. I am all the more moved because I have a very strong feeling that the Garries have God’s ear. They’re the real thing, y’all.

The Stepdaughters and I each brought one of the smaller boxes up to the room set aside for incubation and brooding, as though we were carrying The Hope Diamond. Upon opening, each smaller box was lined with more bubble wrap, and the eggs were within, each egg bubble wrapped again, individually:

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To unwrap these eggs is to get a masterclass in shipping hatching eggs. I hope to ship Dúagwýn’s eggs someday in the not-too-distant future, and my customers will be the benefactors of the Garries’ instruction. All 37 eggs arrived intact, shipped from Georgia to Albany-ish, over the course of three days. (Yes, 37. There was an extra Lavender Ameraucana egg. Because that’s how the Garries roll.)

That sounds like a lot, I know, but they’re not all for us. I bought 24 eggs (it was 12, but The Man and I decided to add another dozen after our first three losses, and I’m so glad we did), and the other dozen bought by NotHeedleyWendy, who will be living and dying with this hatch along with me. How well I do will determine if she has new chicks this year. No pressure.

I did not candle. I really don’t know what to look for at this stage, and 24 of my eggs are very dark. I will take a look tonight when the room is dark, but I seriously don’t think I’ll see much. I did weigh.

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There is an extremely complex method of tracking the weight loss of a developing egg. I will be tracking just to see that they are losing weight at comparable rates. Again, I don’t know how successful candling will be for the Marans eggs.

After weighing and numbering, each egg went into the turner, inside the incubator:

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They will sit there for a few hours, coming up to room temperature, then the incubator will be closed up and turned on. The egg turner, however, will not. I have been advised to leave the eggs unturned for at least two days, to allow any detached air sacs to reattach. I am relying on the experience of those who have gone before me.

You may notice two coloured plastic straws at the bottom of the photo above. The canals for water are in a plastic tray beneath the turner, covered by 1/4″ hardware cloth. I was wondering how on earth I was going to fill them, should the need arise, without disturbing the egg turner. So, I cut two bendy straws, fed them through the hardware cloth into the canals. There they wait, easily accessible for me to add water via syringe, should the need arise.

And, there you have it, ladies and gentlechickens…3.0. Fingers crossed, please.

I have a good incubator. I have a basic understanding and good advice. I am going to try to fuss as little as possible and not deviate from the plan. I hope it goes well. I really need this. We all do.

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I know nothing. Again.

I have ordered three dozen eggs for hatching, to be shipped this coming Monday: 24 for me, 12 for a friend. I did the research on the incubator, and have just been gifted a shiny, new Genesis 1588 with egg turner. So, I’m all ready to hatch me some chicks, right?

WRONG.

Great googly moogly! I had no idea how much there was to learn, and I now have precisely five days in which to learn it all. I started here, and there has several dozen links for more information. I don’t even have a candler, and most of my eggs are Marans!

I am freaking out, people!

Okay, chickeneers, I need your help. Those of you who have incubated eggs, particularly shipped eggs, please let me hear your best tips and most urgent cautions. Helpful links also gratefully accepted.

Help me make babies, y’all!