Lindsey and I saw a miracle today (in the bathroom, of all places).
For probably 15 or 20 minutes we sat there, watching and waiting — and finally cheering — as the first of our baby chicks made its way out of its eggshell.
I mentioned in a previous post that we borrowed an incubator and set it up in our “baño.” 😉
Well, that incubator has been sitting there, taking up space for quite awhile (21 days, to be exact). And I’m not sure if you knew this, but in order to properly incubate and hatch chicken eggs, you have to keep the temperature right at 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
I’ve been told that even one or two degrees hotter or colder can terminate the embryos.
You also need to maintain a relative humidity of about 50% or 55% during the duration of the incubation period.
Now, as complicated as that all sounds, the incubator takes care of most of it for you. But you definitely don’t want to have any major fluctuations in the outside environment.
No huge temperature changes or added humidity…
So basically, what I’m trying to say is that our main bathroom has been a bit cramped lately — and the shower has been off limits for the past three weeks.
Fortunately, we do have another bathroom! 😉
Let me tell you though, this whole hatching process was such an amazing thing to experience!
There really isn’t much to report on the first 18 days of the incubation period. I candled a few eggs and monitored the heat and humidity, adjusting the thermostat a bit and adding water into a little trough, when necessary — but there really wasn’t much to see.
On day 19, we filled up a second water trough (to bump the relative humidity up to about 65%), and we took the eggs off of the motorized egg-turner — but still, nothing exciting.
Then on day 20, the little guys started cheeping from inside their eggs! And it wasn’t long before we noticed a little hole in one of them (this is sometimes referred to as “pipping”).
Fast forward a few hours, and there we were, practically holding our breath as that first little chick battled his way out of his shell.
The fight seemed to take forever! He’d push with all his might, and we’d see the egg bulging and cracking. But the shell’s inner membrane just didn’t want to give!
After several seconds of pushing and straining, the egg suddenly rocked back, and went completely still…
I remember wondering if the poor little warrior had died. Maybe he’d pushed so hard that his little body had just given out on him.
But then he hit it again!
Four or five times this happened — the little guy fighting for all he was worth, and then collapsing.
When he finally broke free, the poor little thing just laid there, totally exhausted — his whole body heaving as he tried to catch his breath.
But he’d done it! He had won!
It may seem pretty small and insignificant, but it really was inspiring. I’m so glad we got to witness it!
A very special experience.