I decided to candle the eggs in the incubator yesterday afternoon. It was depressing, to say the least.
Out of forty-seven eggs, this is what I came up with:
Bottom left hand corner, nine viable eggs.
Top left hand corner, twelve "Maybe" eggs. And I was very liberal on the "Maybe" criteria.
Bottom and top right side, twenty-six duds.
If that doesn't suck, I don't know what does. I mean, come ON! I've got twenty hens serviced by four roosters (Why do they call it "serviced" anyways? It always makes me think of getting an oil change or something).
Granted two of the roosters are gimpy, but I have seen each of them doing the deed, although with some difficulty. Even if I just assumed that only the two dominant roosters were getting it on with the hens (or would you rather me stick with "serviced"?), that's still a 10:1 hen to rooster ratio, well within reason.
So not only have I been babysitting UGB (UnGrateful Bastard) seedlings, but I've had at least twenty-six, and more likely, thirty-eight UGB and unfertilized eggs sucking up electricity, warmth and moisture in my incubator for the past thirteen days.
Another thing I've noted is that I have yet to have a single viable green egg from my two Ameraucana (or is it Araucana??) chickens. And I know at least one of them is being bred as she has to wear a chicken saddle because she's one of the roosters favorites (tramp).
So. Is it me? Is it the incubator? Should I have kept the eggs in a cooler location (no, not the fridge) while I was saving them up? Should I have been chanting fertile incantations and waving a sage smudge stick over them every day? Shown an x-rated chicken flick?
For a while I was thinking that my roosters were shooting blanks, but I did have nine viable eggs. Then I remembered. We got a dozen eggs from one of Paul's co-workers, so for all I know those nine eggs could have been from his chickens.
I've never had this bad of an incubation before. I'm half thinking that I'm going to have to start saving eggs again and crank up the extra incubator. If I'm going to have to clean out and prepare the brooding area for chicks, I'd hate to "waste" all that time and effort on just nine chicks; assuming they all hatch out alive, which is doubtful. It's just as much work for me to take care of nine as it is to take care of four dozen chicks.
Guess I'll be collecting eggs again.