Our hatching eggs have arrived! It has been a bit of an adventure just getting the eggs through the front door. We initially ordered and reserved them from one company way back in December–scheduling them to be delivered the week of January 27th. A couple days after they were expected to be shipped, we received an email telling us there would be at least a 3 week delay. We found another source–the same hatchery we ordered our incubator from (Meyer Hatchery) and cancelled the initial order and placed a new one. The new batch of eggs were shipped out within two days of our ordering them. We tracked the package via updates from the postal service and are thrilled and nervous the little eggs have arrived!
The eggs were packed very well–all in foam and packed around with extra foam and soft cardboard. Since we are getting them so early in the year, we had to order a minimum of 15–even though we do not have room for that many in our incubator. Meyer actually sent 16, perhaps they were throwing in an extra for good measure too? We figured we would allow for any breakage, and choose the best eggs from the bunch to set. But, look at these beauties! How will we ever choose?
We also decided to order an “assortment” instead of choosing any particular breed. We thought it would be fun to to try to identify the chicks once they hatch so while we have suspicions about what might hatch from some of these eggs (if they hatch at all), we won’t know for sure for a few weeks.
Before unpacking the eggs, we washed our hands and then set each one carefully, pointy side down, into one of the egg cartons. The first step was to candle each one to see if there were any cracks or imperfections that could affect hatching.
Being our first experience with candling, we looked at each egg carefully in a darkened room–searching for cracks, fractures, or shells that looked especially patchy or thin. Our homemade candling device (a small flashlight and a circle of thick foam with a hole cut through the middle) worked well and we only found the one egg with a crack. That still leaves more eggs than we’ll have room to incubate though!
The next step was to number each egg and mark one side with an “X” and one side with an “O” on the long sides. This will help us in keeping records on each egg and for making sure we turn the eggs uniformly while they are in the incubator. We have a little spreadsheet where we are keeping information on each egg–color, size, and the candling results throughout the incubation period. We are not exactly sure how we’ll use all this information, but we figure this will be the best way to learn as we go!
Now the eggs will rest at room temperature for a few hours before we set them into the incubator. This resting period does a few things, it allows the eggs to settle and return to a somewhat normal balance inside; it also keeps the eggs from sweating when they go in the incubator as this can raise the humidity and adversely affect the temperature of the incubator. Once we get them into the incubator, they will remain in there untouched for 24 hours before we begin turning them several times a day. Here we go on our grand and risky hatching adventure!