New baby chicks - Yunnan, China
Oct 11, 2008
|After losing 3 chicks we bought at the market to disease, the children were sad and wanted to raise chicks again. The grandma we stayed with proposed that she will let her hen sit on her eggs so that newborn chicks would be hatched. Usually, she takes the eggs away for food.
It is very tiring to be a laying hen. For the next 21 days, the hen sat on the 13 eggs day and night. The hen only get off the eggs for 5 minutes each day to eat some food then she is back on the eggs again. We almost felt sorry to put the hen through this seemingly torturous situation.
When it came close to the anticipated hatching date, we waited anxiously, checking every hour or so. When we least expected it, the grandma matter of fact announced that chicks were hatched but there are some eggs that might be "bad" eggs. We jumped to the nest and saw several cute little chicks peeking out from under the hen's fluffy feathers. Lifting up the hen, we saw one chick that just cracked open the shell and is still wet nestling in the half broken shell!
There were six hatched eggs and 7 eggs that had not hatched yet. Hoping that these 7 eggs would hatched a little later and wanting to see the actual hatching process, we quickly built an incubator using a 100 watt light bulb. We brought the 7 eggs inside the house into a small box and put the light bulb in it. In order to keep the temperature around 100F or 38C, Jonathan put his watch inside the box (his watch has a temperature gauge) and kept adjust the height of the light bulb to induce the proper hatching temperature.
For the next few hours we watched anxiously for the eggs to hatch. Knowing that some of the eggs might be "bad", we went on the internet to find out how to tell which egg is still good or bad. From the internet, we learned to use a bright flashlight to shine on the wide end of the egg in a dark room to see if there is air pocket space. If the air pocket is large, then the egg either didn't fertilize or that the fetus chick had died inside.
One after the other, we looked at each egg with the flashlight. To our dismay, most eggs appeared to be "bad" eggs. To make sure, we took few of them and using our knife, open up a hole in the shell. For the first one, yellow yolk flowed out. Bad. The second one, orange yolk flowed out. Bad again. The third one, when Jonathan pierced through the shell, it suddenly exploded! All the rotten inside of a dead fetus chick spurted out onto Jonathan and Joani's body and clothes. The smell was terrible. We truly experienced what it means to smell a "rotten egg" first hand. Even the bad rate of success, we concluded that all 7 eggs must be bad. Indeed, after opening all of them, none of the egg had a living chick. It was sad, but this scientific experiment was fun and memorable.