As you know, I have a batch of pullet Basque Hen (EO) eggs (pullet eggs = small, laid by new pullets) due to hatch on Saturday (or Friday). Four of these were placed under my broody Welsummer Hen, Rosie, and 23 were in the incubator along with 4 Australorp eggs, 2 mixes, and 2 Speckled Sussex for a *grand* total of 35 eggs. 🙂
I usually candle my eggs on Day 7 and Day 14. I gave in to impatience and candled on Day 6 earlier and found 1 clear and 2 blood rings among the EO eggs. I am afraid I gave in to that same impatience and candled a bit prematurely on Day 13, last Friday. I found two more EO eggs that had quit. By this late in incubation, it is quite easy to tell a developing egg from a quitter: developing eggs are mostly dark with a bit of veining visible around the air cell when candling from above, and quitters are mostly clear with a line of blood around the egg or thick, horizontal streaks of dead blood vessels. I did not candle this round, but here are some pictures illustrating what I mean.
I also candled the four eggs under my broody. I had been hesitant to do this because, this past winter, I candled an egg under a broody hen at night and she gave it a very hard peck in her confusion. I felt bad for messing with her and resolved not to do that again. Instead, I decided to take Rosie off of the nest entirely to candle. It was twilight, and there was just enough light to see by outside. I set her down in the pop doorway, and she went out to drink some water and go to the bathroom for just a minute or two. This was long enough for me to safely candle her eggs. I turned on the very dim solar-powered shed light in the coop to give her some light to eat by and came back in about 10 minutes to turn off the light and close everyone up for the night. It looked like all 4 of Rosie’s EO eggs are developing, so she takes the total number of developing EOs from 18 to 22.
So, the current count is (I doubt all of these will hatch, but so far):
- 18 of 23 EOs developing in the incubator
- 4 of 4 EOs developing under the broody
- 4 of 4 Australorps developing in the incubator
- 2 of 2 mixes developing in the incubator
- 2 of 2 Speckled Sussexes developing in the incubator
- Thus, 30 of 35 developing overall with 22 of 27 EOs developing
I also weighed all of the eggs again and noted air cells. Just looking at the air cells, some were on the slightly small side and some were perfect, so I removed the water entirely for the last 5 days before lockdown. The humidity had dropped to the 20-24% range, but with all of the rain we’ve been having, it’s about 27% today. I think they are right on track, and Wednesday is lockdown!