500 Year Vision

Take pleasure from walking lightly on this Earth

Spring Beginnings


The snow has melted and the garden is beginning to turn green again. I’ve spotted Ground Elder, Sorrel and, of course, Nettles beginning to show their heads. Our first Workaway team are here cooking lunch after a productive day on the farm.  Our egg incubator sits in front of me on the table, twenty one days and one hour since we first put in the eggs.  Six have made it this far – of the twelve we started with, one broke, four didn’t develop and one died  –  – that’s eggs, not workawayers. The next twenty four hours are crucial – will any chicks emerge?

Mike bought me the egg incubator for my birthday – a great spring present.  It’s the first time we’ve used it – we made amateur mistakes such as not weighing the eggs before we started in order to check levels of evaporation.  We’ll know for next time.  I’m finding the process of waiting for them to hatch almost unbearable – I can hear something tweeting away and from the instructions I’ve read all over the Internet – any attempt by humans to help them out is likely to only hurt them.

We have neither roosters or broody hens at the moment – so the natural method of chick production wasn’t going to get very far.  The Brinsea basic egg incubator looked great. It’s been simple to use, however I’m concerned that we got the humidity wrong because our kitchen isn’t so warm and because it was below zero outside, then the air could have been very dry going into the machine.

It’s a slow process – leaving an egg.  It can take them twelve hours to cut their way out of the shell, and there is a delicate balance – too little air and they won’t make it out in time, too much air and they’ll not be strong enough to get out. They have to make sure the leave in the correct part of the egg – the part with the air pocket – already one is not looking good because it’s gone through the wrong place.

The breeds we have are La Fleche, Araucana, Lakenvelder and Speckled Sussex.   I’ve now ordered a digital spoon scale so that we can weigh future eggs to the 0.1th g degree.


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