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!!