Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Good. The Bad. And the waste of an Omelet.

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.


  1. That's no fun. At least you found out about the duds before they exploded! We have a couple of Auracanas (or Americana's or tramps) that are favorites too and we've never hatched out any of their eggs. I'm not sure why either. Maybe they need to be with their own kind? Or maybe their not really putting out but just playing Leap Frog? I'm sure I don't know...

    Ahhh, the mysteries of the barnyard...

  2. I love getting eggs directly from our favorite chicken farmer, but I had no idea the machinations he had to go through to make sure he always has a ready supply. Thanks for the education from your experience - though I'm sorry it didn't work out a little better.

  3. Well that is disappointing. I have 15 guinea hen eggs in my incubator and I am afraid to candle them. I've had such rotten luck finding keets that I am clinging to the slim hope that they are all viable and will hatch.

  4. Americauna - blue eggs, Auricana - multi color (blue, green, brown, pink, white)

    Maybe early season eggs are not as fertile? Razzberry Corner had an entire batch of over 28 guinea eggs turn up bad.

  5. Wow, not a very good percentage! Sorry about your wasted eggs. :(

  6. Do you think poultry infertility could be affected by the damage we humans are doing to our planet in the same way females (humans) are having more trouble with infertility? Just a thought.

    It looks like out of the 8 eggs our Mother Goose incubated, we are going to end up with only 3 goslings. Not a good ratio either.

  7. Kim, was it YOU with the exploding turkey eggs?? That was funny!! I mean, that was so sad.

    Charade, I WISH I knew what was going on, so I really wouldn't call this an experience for others to learn from!

    Susan, We'll both have to do some naked-pagan-dance or something.

    Chai Chai, Thanks for the explanation; although I'll promptly end up forgetting it! Hatching problems all over it seems.

    Candy C., I could have made a BUNCH of omelets with those, it's very depressing!

    Mama Pea, That is a good thought, although I tend to think it's probably something to do with ME personally. Good luck with your goslings :)

  8. Sorry to hear that, I hope things get better and this is just a fluke!