How to Become Ms. or Mr. Mother Hen – Day 18 May 8, 2012
Day 18: LOCKDOWN.
(Cue the “prison door slamming” sound effect.)
Actually, I sort of hate that term, “lockdown.” Instead of locked doors, I’d rather be thinking of fuzzy little chick faces peering out of my hand.
But at the same time, calling it “lockdown” can be a good reminder. It means, “After this time, the incubator is not to be opened until the hatch is completed.” And also, “From this day forth, there will be no turning.” And finally, “Beyond here, there be dragons.”
Well, maybe not that last bit, right? But it is the same sentiment. Day 18 Lockdown, means “STAY OUT!”
The babies should begin to get themselves into final position for hatching at this point… and in order to be able to hatch in an incubator, a higher humidity, 70% to 80% during the last three days, is crucial, too. When you lift the incubator lid, you let out humidity, and that can cause the egg membrane can get too dry during the hatching process, more or less sticking the babies inside the eggs.
At day 18, I do the final candling, and then… nothing. That’s the part that’s truly excruciating. After Day 18, there’s nothing to do but wait. Handing out congratulatory cigars to your chickens is generally frowned upon.
We go with mealworms instead.
However, this time, I candled on Day 14 because I had to open the incubator to refill the water reservoirs, anyway. It’s not likely that I’ll see anything different a few days later… so I’m making the call not to candle today after all. I really want this to be a good hatch. But if I don’t do it today, I won’t be looking at them again until the hatch is over, because it’s lockdown. Gah!
But that’s okay, I can totally do this. I can keep my hands out of the incubator. I CAN.
Truthfully, it’s even more tempting to open the incubator in lockdown than you might think, because the babies can actually begin peeping from inside the egg a day or two early. It’s hard to resist! What I always want to do is pick up the chirping egg and talk to it… peep back… cluck like a hen. Tell it everything will be okay. Pet it a little. Am I crazy?
Okay, kinda. I admit it. But chickens have their own language, so it’s natural for the baby chicks to call out to Mother Hen from inside the egg, and it’s natural for Mother Hen to purr and cluck right back. When I’m hatching eggs, I’m Mother Hen, so it’s my bounden duty to talk to the eggs, right? RIGHT?!
I just have to remember to talk to them through my incubator, lid stays down. Three more days!
ENTER TO WIN!
Brinsea wants to celebrate Mother’s Day with you by providing a Mini Advance Incubator for one lucky My Pet Chicken blog commenter located in the US! Plus, My Pet Chicken will be offering the winner six assorted fertile hatching eggs you can use to fill your fancy new incubator for the first time. That way you can become Ms. Mother Hen… or even Mr. Mother Hen, as the case may be!
To enter the contest, comment on this blog post below telling us your best ideas for keeping yourself from opening the incubator during the “lockdown” phase–or else share a story about why you felt you had to ignore the warnings and open the incubator during this time! (Please note that complaints about particular incubator manufacturers, particular suppliers of hatching eggs, particular candlers, etc. will be disqualified as entries.) Contest ends May 13, 2012.
Keep watching our blog for updates on Lissa’s hatch in our “Ms. or Mr. Mother Hen” blog series to find additional opportunities to enter. If you missed your first opportunity to enter, do so right here. The second opportunity was here. The third was here.