Monday, April 07, 2008

adventures in egg candling

My mother-in-law, who is a true, authentic, dyed-in-the-wool farm girl, came over this afternoon to candle the Silkie eggs that have now been sitting (and hopefully growing) in the Little Giant incubator for eleven days (that means we're officially more than halfway to hatch day - hooray!). In case you're not familiar with egg candling, it basically entails shining a bright light through an egg to get some idea of what's going on inside. Ideally, you want to see a growing embryo in there, and some people on the egg boards I frequent (yeah, I know, I'm a total poultry geek) even report seeing a little beating chicken heart!

I tried candling a few of the eggs in the dark of the closet yesterday with a flashlight, but it was a very disconcerting experience. You know when you get a bad headache and decide to look up your symptoms online, only to discover that you surely have a brain tumor the size of a grapefruit and about 36 hours to live? Well, I've been doing way too much incubation "research" online lately, so I was sure that each egg I shined light through was either a) an explosive about ready to blow, or b) a total dud that had never been fertilized in the first place.

Fortunately, my MIL was able to dispel some of those fears. She came over with her homemade candler, and the kids and I followed her into the guest bathroom, turned off the light, and watched her expertly "read" our 21 potential peeps. So far it looks like we have only two or three true duds (eggs that were never fertilized while still developing inside the mama hens). It was hard to tell if the remaining eggs contained live embryos or not, but there was definitely something in there.

On another farmy note: I was watching RFD-TV the other day, and they were doing a show for corn-growers (did I mention I'm easily amused?). One of the farmers commented that corn has recently gotten very expensive - no kidding! Gallon jugs of corn oil from Wal-Mart (which we use for supplementing our 27-year-old gelding's feed) were going for $5 last year. Now, they're $8!

Don't even get me started on hay prices. Sheesh.

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