On a cold and windy day here in North Texas, I find myself dreaming about warmer weather. Oh, well, I can look forward to the middle of April when it begins again.
In the meantime, I spend my time working with the “Rancherette” as she prepares for the new chicks that will be arriving into this world on or about the 18th of this month. We know this because she has placed the fertile eggs in an incubator. We know fertile eggs are in the incubator because she has candled them. That’s like an ultrasound for chicken eggs. You see, you run a little gel on the stomach, then rub, no, wait, you don’t really do that.
Anyway, I built a Candler for the “Rancherette” to use. It is a simple little device. I took a large commercial size green bean can, cut a hole in the bottom of the can smaller than an egg, turned it upside down over a keyless light fixture, placed a 60 watt bulb in the light fixture and voila, you have a Candler. You cannot tell if it is a boy or girl like human ultrasounds but I’m working on that.
Candling is where you place the egg over the hole in the can. The light shines through the egg and you can tell if there is a mass inside. If there is a mass, then the egg is fertile. The rooster did his job. The way he struts around in the pen, he already knew that. He’s as proud as a peacock. The hens, however, look like they just went through a windstorm. Talk about a bad hair day.
There is a lot of work to do to prepare for the new additions. We set up the brooder in the garage, with the infrared lamps, new pine shavings, and all the paraphernalia that goes with baby chicks. You should see the “Rancherette” acting just like a mother hen. Change this, fix that, turn this, move the box here, test the humidity, the temps too low, are the lamps working… etc. Just like a mother hen. I’m thinking that the real mother hen could do this job without all our interference. When she sets on the eggs, she doesn’t know or even care if they are fertile or not, she just likes to set on the eggs. In fact, if she is broody, she may even set on golf balls.
I wonder if when the feathered mother hen does this on her own, does she discuss this with the father of the chicks before hand? I’m thinking that if he had to go through this kind of hubbub he would elect to disregard her flirty eyes and keep things to himself. Just saying…
Well, we are just playing the waiting game now. “The bags are packed the car is gassed up, and we are ready to go”. The expectant “Mother Hen” is nervous but not nearly as nervous as the expectant “Surrogate Father” is. Please keep that under your incubator.
Stay tuned. For your information, in the back room, there are other incubators. On the top of each is a schedule. In the second incubator, a hatch is scheduled on or about the 26th of this month and another hatch on or about December 2nd. The good times just keeping a coming. Bach, Bach, Bach. Cock a doodle do!!!
I think we should plan the next mating season for a delivery in warmer weather. The rooster may not want to cooperate, but we can “fix” that. I got to go now, must go to the store and get some cigars or should I get donuts? Maybe some of both. I have to be ready.