Saturday, April 25, 2009

Candling Eggs


Mama hens are still sitting on their nests. Today was the due date for Big Red, Little Red (pictured above) has another week to go.

Since Big Red did not have any chicks appear, I was wondering what was going on. Also Penny has been sneaking in and leaving extra eggs in the nest, so while Big Red started out with eight eggs, last time I checked she was up to sixteen, and she could barely keep them all covered! Because these eggs were all laid at different times they will not all hatch together, and when the hen has chicks to care for she will abandon the eggs which haven't hatched yet. So it was kind of a big confusing mess.

My friend and chicken mentor, Sharon from SnoKit Farm, came over and brought her candling light. She pulled each egg out from under Big Red (who was not very happy about the whole procedure) and checked each egg by holding it up to the bright light. Some eggs clearly had something going on, and she said those appeared to have chicks pretty far along in development. Some eggs looked hollow, or had a smaller, odd shaped clump in one end. Those she said were either infertile, or had not developed, or were not nearly as far along as the other ones. We ended up with nine eggs to put back under Big Red, and seven eggs to throw out to the chickens. Then we did the same to Little Red, and of her eight eggs, only one was infertile, and got thrown out to the flock.

Yup, Sharon said to throw them out to the chickens. She said they won't eat an unbroken egg, but if you break them they will gobble them up. It's a free snack. They don't know any different. It was interesting because most of the eggs just looked like eggs, but a couple had some development going on, and had a bit of blood and clumps of meat inside. Sad that it would have eventually been a chick, but the hen would have abandoned it anyway, so that's just how it goes sometimes.

Penny considers her snack options...

Since Big Red is in the coop I wanted to make an easier ramp for her and her chicks to go in and out of the coop after they hatch. I did just have some concrete blocks there, and the chicks wouldn't have been able to jump up on the blocks. So I made this nice ramp and installed it. Then I turned around to see this...


And Big Bird attacked me! Little butthead, I saw him watching me! And after all I do for him! I grabbed him by his legs and hung him upside down, hoping some blood would go to his brain and make him think harder about what he was doing :-) Then I let him go. While he was hanging I told him about a chicken butchering class I'm signed up for later this summer - if he doesn't shape up he might be homework! Coq au vin, anyone?

5 comments:

Lois Grebowski said...

Uh-oh. Big Bird better watch out! LOL!

annaliese said...

:( I dont' know if I can read anymore of your chicken adventures! I am such a wuss when it comes to death. of.anything. blah.

dotoner said...

LOL! you are too funny!!

StefRobrts said...

Well, Annaliese, you of all people know about the ups and downs of a farm! Hopefully we'll have more ups than downs!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

*SNORT* LOL! That last photo...and your comments. Oh man! Too funny!

Thanks for the fun!
~Lisa