Monday, September 28, 2009

I have 24 eggs coming on October 13. They are combination of quail...18 coturnix variety in the colours of white, golden and red. 6 button quail eggs in various colours. Buttons come in FUN colours like saphire blue and stuff. Cute. Tiny though...they're just for fun, like a parakeet, as the eggs are too small to eat and so are the birds. LOL.

Anyway, I wanted to do better with this hatch. As easy as it is to blame my husband, the sleep inferno, for the heat spike that killed 12 of our eggs, it was my fault for not ensuring a safer environment for them. I've corrected that and created a new incubator.

This is a larger styrofoam cooler. I've taken the light and rewired it to include an electric baseboard thermostat. I wired both the light and the thermostat to the original cord from the light. This way, when the incubator hits the desired temperture, the thermostat will cut power to the light. Likewise, once the incubator gets down to a certain temperature, the thermostat will switch the light back on again. I can get it to maintain temps of 2*+/-. That is excellent! YAY! I have also installed an old computer fan to an old phone adaptor. This fan will keep the temperature much more stable than a still air incubator. I'm VERY excited to see this puppy in action!

I also purchased 6 young hens from a breeder outside of Toronto. They are the same breed as my chicks but were 7 and 8 weeks old when I purchased them 2 weeks ago. They are now 9 and 10 weeks old. They should start laying any day now.

They are living in a rabbit cage in my shed until it gets cold, when we'll move them into the garage where they will have lights until spring.

The Babies!

I'm going to summerize what's happened through pictures. Give some numbers first. We had 4 hatch and 5 pip. 1 died in the shell. 1 was born with "spraddle leg" and I wasn't successful in correcting it, even with the appropriate splints. He died 24 hours after hatching. 3 healthy chicks now are 3 weeks old tomorrow.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Today is DAY 14 which means: LOCKDOWN!!! I turned the eggies for the last time this morning.

My original plan, to raise the relative humidity to 65% for hatching (previously between 30-45% for growing), was to put a small dish with a sponge UNDER the screen that the eggs are sitting on. I realized that it's not going to take much to raise the humidity though...and I didn't want to risk breaking a delicate egg by moving them to put the tray in. So, I made room and took out the dud eggs I'd previously marked. 5 duds. 17 eggs remain. I cut a sponge to fit snugly inside a 1/8 cup measuring cup and put that in. I'm depositing teaspoons of warm water on it through a vent hole with a condiment squirty bottle until it's where I need it. Now I don't have to open the bator to raise the humidity. And the snug sponge will prevent silly chickies from drowning themselves in any water that sits in the bottom of the measuring cup.

The humidity is holding steady. I'm aiming for anywhere between 60-70% humidity so that the chickies don't get shrinkwrapped in their membranes. As they hatch the humidity will go up because of their added moisture that was previously contained in the shell. LOL.

I also put our biggest egg right next to our smallest egg and took a pic. The small one is to the right of the big one, both above the white egg. The small one is just under 1" long. The big one is almost 2" long. The pic doesn't do it justice either because of the angle the eggs are sitting at. The difference is funny and I hope that they both hatch.

YAY! Wish us luck! I have friends who say that they start getting pips on day 15...but others who don't hatch before day 18. So it seems there is a larger window for healthy hatching than with chickens. Woot...that's in our favour! A friend online who has many hundred coturnix says that "quail hatch dispite our best efforts". LOL!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

I got a new 9-bulb LED miniflashlight and wanted to take pics of the candling. I candled each and every looks like there are about 8 or 9 sterile (infertile) eggs out of the batch of 22. The eggs growing babies are generally much darker than the sterile. Here's the only decent pic of a peep I could get. It's the shadow circled...some eggs don't even show peeps because there are too many speckles in the way. LOL! This one was bouncing all over the place!

Here is an infertile/sterile egg. People were right.......they GLOW!!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Holding steady at 38.5c and 45% humidity. PERFECT!!!

However....Ack! I had a temperature spike last night! My husband slept in the basement last night and that's why. My incubator is incredibly sensitive to ambient temperature....I have it in the most temperature-stable room in the house. A basement room with no windows and no vents. It is, however, affected by the temperature of the family room, right next to it.

So, with DH snoring away and creating the Sleep Inferno, as I call his internal furnace, the temp went up slightly on the eggs. It went up to 104f...which is high. But not quite as high as 105f...which can cook the eggs. Hopefully nothing comes of it...but it we don't get a hatch, this is what I'm blaming. So, DH can't sleep in the basement anymore. LOL.

Today is Day 5. Only 12 more to go.
On Sunday we had PLANS! Hubby and I dropped the kids off down the road at his parent's house for the day and off we went! We drove over to the next town because we'd heard they had a Farmers Market and they did!!! Here is hubby posing for the picture.

Lots of great stuff...gladioli, potatos, zuccini, carrots, beets, peaches-n-cream corn, pickling cucs, green beans and yellow beans, giant spanish onions, ontario garlic, peaches, apples, plums...there were also fresh baked goods, handmade furniture, organic beef and poultry that are raised locally. What a goldmine!!! We bought beans, onions, carrots, corn, and a few all-natural meat pies for dinner. They were delish.

Then, on the way home, we passed another local orchard's marketplace. It was awesome inside too. Local honey, local maple syrup, local eggs, local cheeses, local breads, local ice cream and dairy. And all sorts of great produce too.

Finally, I got some mums for my porch. I would like to have grown the from seed or other crunchy thought, but I bought them from Canadian Tire. They are just beautiful. If I plant them in the garden now, do you think they will come again next year or do they not have time to root?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

We went to the local "zoo" yesterday. It's a short walk from the new house and it's adorably tiny and cute.

The best part was the free-ranging baby pygmy goats and all the chickens running around! Babygirl really loved the goats! They were so tiny and soft...and although they nibbled a bit, it was very cute nibbling!

This is a mutt rooster. :) He was very proud of himself.

This lady is a beautiful Cuckoo Maran...they lay really dark brown eggs that are prized for their colour.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Guess what????

As of 3pm today, the quail eggies are in the incubator!!! 22 of them. :)

They will incubate for 16-18 days before about 60% of them hatch. Eggs just aren't as fertile this time of year.

My quail eggs arrived yesterday! They are so tiny and delicate and beautifully spotted.

I thought, for a few hours, that I wasn't going to get them! They were sent via 2-day delivery but without a signature requirement. This means that instead of being dropped at my door, they are dropped in the neighbourhood SuperBox for me to pick up with my key. Unfortunately, we just moved and my key doesn't arrive until Monday.

Canada Post head office said there was nothing they could do...and my eggs would be cooked by Monday! I called my town's small post office to see if there was anything they could do. They took my info and said they'd call me back.

A few hours later my personal postal carrier called me! I explained the nature of the package...and she understood completely! Thank goodness for small town life...they understand eggs. Within minutes she hand delivered them to my door. Thanks Sherry!

Opening the many will be broken or chipped? Where are the eggs?

There they are! So carefully wrapped

28 in total...I ordered 24, hearing that quite a few of these delicate eggs would probably break before they arrived. But, she packed a few extra...and only 3 were broken! So I have 25 hatchable eggs!

The incubator is downstairs getting up to temperature now! The eggs sat in our cold storage overnight and are ready to go!

Thanks for letting me share!