Friday, September 28, 2007

Chicken Eggs!!



Our chickens laid their first eggs today! We are all very excited. Most of you know that we gave "Grandaddy" one of our hens and she started laying for him right away. He's been teasing us about his chickens being happier than ours, and we've waited for quite a while for ours to lay. We are proud that we are finally in egg production with "happy" chickens!


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Rotating the Eggs



Thankfully, the incubator that we are using does the egg rotations for us. If it didn't automatically rotate them then we would need to do this by hand (can you imagine rotating all those eggs?). If you will look closely at the photos you will see that the trays are rotated in two different positions. They rotate every two hours.

We are still keeping a close eye on the incubator and the boys have been real good to sound the alarm when the humidity level or temperature gets too low (or high). We are incubating between 100.3 and 100.6 (the eggs maintain the average temperature instead of constantly changing), and we are trying to keep the humidity between 40 and 45%.

Today marked the 5th day of incubation so in 15 more days we will transfer the eggs to the hatcher (we still have to pick it up and clean it out).

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tiny!



The eggs are so tiny! The chicks won't be any larger than my thumb when they hatch.

336

Yes, we are now incubating 336 Bobwhite quail eggs. We are taking guesses as to how many will hatch. The number 240 has already been claimed. Feel free to leave your guess in the comments section. We know that quite a few of them will not hatch because of the length of time they were waiting before getting to the incubator. Normally the eggs would have been sorted out, but they all got mixed together and we received them without knowing which eggs were too old. A normal hatch rate is between 80% and 90% .

Jacob is helping Stephen get the eggs loaded onto the incubator trays. Joshua was around to enjoy all the excitement of the eggs, but he wasn't about to touch any of the chemicals (much less anything or anybody who had been near them). He also did not like the eggs because they were a bit dirty. I guess we will need to make sure we get "clean" eggs next time!

We loaded the trays, closed the incubator and formed a family circle to pray for the eggs. I am reminded of Psalm 16:2 where it says "You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing."

We can't wait to see what God wants to do with the "Jackson Covey". Even if we just end up putting a lot of quail in our freezer, it is fun to be on a new adventure with my family and with my Jesus.

The Eggs Arrive!

339 - That is the number of eggs that Margaret brought to the house the next morning. We went through them and only found 3 cracked eggs (Joseph and Jonathan took those out to the back lot. When they returned they informed us that two of them "stunk" but the other one was okay) :)

If you are wondering what we are doing in the photo - we are transferring the eggs to the disinfected trays and checking for cracks. If you guessed that we sprayed the eggs with our beloved Tek-Trol then you are correct! Nothing goes into the incubator unless it has been disinfected.
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The Incubator is Ready!

We've cleaned it, we've set it up but now we have to figure out how to fine tune the temperature to read 100.5 degrees. We also need to determine what the humidity should be - and then keep it there. You can see the hanging temperature and humidity reader and also the little round thermometer. There is a pan of water inside to help us with the humidity. The air is so dry in our school room these days that we've had to add a second pan of water and we usually add more water twice a day.
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The Egg Trays

Here's Joseph spraying the egg trays with the Tek-Trol. The fumes caused a bit of coughing so we wore masks to keep our lungs happy. Joseph and I worked together to get them all disinfected.
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The Incubator Arrived!

After weeks of praying for direction and wisdom concerning "Quail", we finally made our first step in this new adventure - the incubator. Our friends (and fellow adventurers), Ronnie and Margaret, dropped it off on Friday, September 14.

It wasn't just an incubator, it was also a digital temperature and humidity reader, 2 thermometers, egg trays, Tek-Trol (our new, favorite disinfectant) and plenty of instructions on how to clean it and set it up. We got everything inside and thanked our friends for the drop-off.

Thirty minutes later Ronnie called and told us to get it cleaned up and ready for 300 eggs the next morning! Yikes...we got to work! We vacuumed it out, wiped down the outside with a Clorox solution, used Tek-Trol from top to bottom and all over anything that would even be close to the eggs.

In this picture, Jonathan is using alcohol to clean the glass.
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