Yesterday afternoon I opened the incubator so I could put the eggs on what is called "lockdown". All this means is that you help prepare the eggs for hatching. Up until now the automatic turner has kept them rotating gently through the day, but that part is done. Now is the time for the chicks to rest, absorb the last part of the egg yolk and position themselves to hatch. I think I should have done it the day before but time has a habit of getting away from me lately. So yesterday it was.
The turning rack comes out and the brooder gets lined with paper towels. It makes cleanup easier and gives the little ones better footing than the mesh wire that the incubator comes with. Next, I candle each egg one more time. I'm looking to make sure the air cell has increased, and I mark the lowest "dip" in each cell with an X. This is the spot that the chick is most likely to "pip" or start to hatch from. When the eggs are put back into the brooder, I make sure that the X is facing up. I also take note if I can see a chick moving around in the egg. If so I mark the egg with a ^ check mark. If I see a chick but no movement I make a little :( drawing. Because the eggs are mostly tinted blue and green I also use a ? if I can't really see anything or if I just see veining but no chick.
The incubator is in the kitchen and this evening I was standing at the sink after dinner, kind of staring into space and heard a small "peep". What? Surely not. But there it was again "peep!"
It's happening. Two of the blue eggs have pipped. Can you see them? They're the two in the middle. Sorry for the poor picture - you're really not supposed to open the incubator during this time if you can help it - the humidity needs to be steady.
It's been unseasonably hot and muggy all day now there's a line of black clouds rolling in. We are expected to get some pretty good storms tonight and I'm really hoping the power does not go out (the incubator runs at 102 degrees) if that happens I will just have to cover the thing with a blanket and hope for the best.
Can't wait to see what these chicks look like!