Friday, June 24, 2011

Don't Count the Eggs in the Bator trying to find started white silkie or showgirl pullets somewhere within driving distance, we decided to just try hatching eggs.  The cost of mailing or driving to get birds out of the top half of California just wasn't worth it.  I bid on an auction of 16 eggs from a lady with every accepted color of silkies, and one show girl in Black/Blue/Splash and White pens.  The auction said that we'd get any extras that the girls laid the day of shipping.  We also won an auction for 6 showgirl eggs, plus any extras.  The showgirl  breeder also had all of the accepted colors, plus cuckoo. (Imagine our Barred Rocks with Silkie feathers) For those that haven't shown livestock, accepted colors are those that are allowed in shows.  (Any other color combination is disqualified, and there is a process to get the colors added that takes awhile.)

We shopped around and got a good deal on a decent Styrofoam incubator with an egg turner and forced air.  I had the incubator sanitized and the temperature stabilized the day we brought it home. Wednesday and Thursday were a serious exercise in patience.  We even called the Post Office in hopes of avoiding another disaster like we had with the day old chicks.  At around noon today, both packages arrived.  I was squealing with delight.  (Seriously - that must have been a sight.)

I opened the small box of Showgirl eggs first, and carefully unwrapped the egg carton.  The Styrofoam egg carton was wrapped in what was either Chux or puppy training pads.  They actually worked fairly well as both padding and absorptive material if needed.  The seller shipped us 9 eggs, and unfortunately two were dented.  We still ended up with one more than paid for, so I was pleased. 

The larger package of Silkie and Showgirl eggs was packed very WELL.  It took awhile to get to the egg cartons because the box was packed to the brim (actually over the brim) with packing peanuts.  I had ordered 16 eggs, and I was a little perplexed when Adam pulled out three dozen-sized egg cartons.  We opened the three cartons to find 34 eggs!  The egg cartons had Poly-Fil stuffing on the top and bottom of each egg, and they were in great condition.  Each egg was labeled with the breeding pen that it came from, so we had a good idea of what colors we would be getting.  We ended up with 8 eggs from the Blue/Black/Splash pen, 3 from the Cuckoo pen, 20 from the Partridge pen, 2 from the White pen, and one from the White w/ Splash pen. 

Holy cow!  We ended up with almost twice what we expected, and enough eggs completely fill the 41-spot egg turner.  The average hatch rate for shipped eggs is around 50%, so hopefully we'll end up with about that rate.  We've warned Emma that shipped eggs can be a gamble.  Sometimes none hatch, sometimes every single egg hatches.  I'm going to make a journal for her to "help" me monitor the temperature and humidity, and anything she sees when we candle the eggs.  We'll candle at around 7 and 14 days to remove any that have gone bad.  (Boy, when they go bad they REALLY go bad...if you leave the bad eggs, they'll explode in the incubator.)

This is what Emma is hoping for:

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