About 3 weeks ago our ducks started laying eggs. At first, I didn’t realize we had duck eggs. I just thought we had 2, unusual looking chicken eggs. They were smoother, had a pearl look to them and were large, but not excessively large for our chickens. And they were laid in the corner of the goat stall in a nest made out of hay.
Once I figured out what they were, I sent Spouse a text telling him we had duck eggs.
He came home with an incubator (I never know what he is going to come home with!)
I didn’t really have big plans for hatching duck or chicken eggs. I guess I was mostly afraid it wouldn’t work because I had read a lot of disasters on the internet. But Spouse was so enthusiastic about it, we decided to give it a try.
Spouse would like to be able to sell some of the ducklings and chicks. So we have been diligently putting duck and a few chicken eggs into the incubator.
We want to make sure that if we do sell poultry that we maintain clean breeding and are sure of the breed. The breed of our ducks is easy – we have two Rouen females and one Rouen drake.
The chickens though, are another story. We obtained our first and second batches of chicks from Tractor supply and a backyard farmer. And it is clear that we did not always get what we thought we bought! On top of that, we have way too many roosters and will never be sure who the father of our chicks is (outside of DNA testing)! However, we do have 3 true-breed Ameraucana hens that we bought from mypetchicken.com that lay beautiful bluish/green eggs.
And while not recognized as a true breed, Easter Egger chickens are becoming increasingly popular. Easter Eggers have one parent that is an Ameraucana, and one parent that is any other breed of chicken and can lay eggs in a rainbow of colors. We decided to set the Ameraucana eggs as we could be confident that any chick born from these could be sold as an Easter Egger.
And yesterday, despite my lack of confidence, we hatched 3 chicks!
- First, they pipped. Pipping refers to when the chick makes the first hole in the egg.
- Second, they zipped. To get out of the egg, chickens extend the hole in a line around the circumference of the egg. This is known as zipping.
- Third, they peeped. They emerged and started peeping away loudly! (okay, actually you can hear them peeping in the egg before they even come out, but you have to hold it to your ear to hear it)
A fourth chick pipped, but hasn’t emerged yet. The entire process can take up to 24 hours, so even though I am reading about what to do if your chick doesn’t make it out, I am not panicking yet.
The whole process that takes place inside the egg to allow the chick to hatch is fascinating. But I will save that for another post.
The kids and I are just thrilled to be able to watch the process.
Number 2 took a video of a newly hatched chick and used the slow-mo function to make a pretty funny clip: