I haven’t hatched eggs out since the spring before Gramma Izzie got sick and died (two years ago on April 25th). It was something I did every year that she just dearly loved. Often, I’d have to give state testing to students on hatch day, so Gramma would come up every couple of hours to check for newly hatched chicks and move them to the brooder we had set up for them. When she died, it was something I didn’t care if I ever did again because she was such a big part of it that I couldn’t imagine doing any of it without her…and then COVID-19 hit the nation. Eggs weren’t on our grocery store shelves, and it was hard to find chicken meat. Suddenly, it seemed important to do whatever I could to make us more self-sufficient and be able to provide for our family members so I gathered the eggs and set up the incubators again.
We got a big surprise yesterday! Ted said there were for sure going to be chicks hatching soon in the incubator because he heard peeping when he walked by the room (chicks peep inside their egg shells the last two days in case anyone didn’t know that – we didn’t before we started keeping chickens years ago). He went in later to check the humidity on the incubators, lifted the lid, and found a fully dry hatched chick!!!
This little chick sat in Ted’s hands for hours yesterday (solitary chicks don’t do well at all).
The two of them took a nap in the recliner together.
I baked homemade bread using Ted’s Mom’s recipe, and Ted taught the chick how to clean up the bread crumbs. This had me rolling. Janeesa commented in the family chat group that this was the most hillbilly thing she’d ever seen (Really? More hillbilly than fish in the swimming pool?).
Now there are 18 chicks in a big metal tub in my living room with more hatching in incubator #1 by the hour. I slept on the couch last night to make sure Daisy and Friskee left them alone (they seem like they couldn’t care less about the chicks though).
This morning I had show and tell with my second graders, and I showed them a baby chick using my webcam. They loved it and asked me all sorts of questions. Then they each took a turn on their webcams showing off their fun things to their classmates (this was such a fabulous social skills activity for taking turns, sharing, and reciprocal conversations!!!).
These chicks will become egg layers. Eggs are scarce in stores here (kind of hit and miss) so I’ll keep all of these two incubator sets to be egg layers, and then I’ll be able to give eggs to family, friends, and neighbors with any excess going to the local food bank.
I’m going to get a wish list together for the next two sets before loading eggs into the incubators again and give sets of six hatched chicks to local people who can show me they have their set-up ready so they can raise their own egg layer flocks too with the agreement that they will do the same (excess eggs go to family, friends, neighbors, and local food bank).
Together, this will have a wonderful positive ripple effect on our local food distribution system here in our community! Just think: if we can provide starter flocks to ten local families, those families can help out a couple of other families each, too!). It’s one small thing we can do to help others become more self-sufficient, less reliant on food from stores (freeing up more food for those local folks who need it and can’t have their own chicken flocks for whatever reason), and all give back to our community. I’m so excited to do this!
Stay home, stay safe, do all you can to promote being self-sufficient, and help flatten the curve, America!