Roberto, a gentleman farmer in my “inexperienced eyes”, who sold me five 7-week-old “supposedly” hens-to-be*, also handed me 6 fertile eggs.
Not willing to pass on the rare opportunity of having the however small chance of bringing life about, I set out for a makeshift incubator** for the journey.
21 days later, no pipping.
On the 23rd day, I did a water floating test on one of the eggs. When it seemed to float high, against my better judgement, I opened the air cell end of the egg. A beating heart confronted me. The scrambling around of finding beeswax and duct tape lasted more than a few seconds. By the time my “fix” was ready, life had already ceased and the stronger force of death took over; making me an unwitting murderer.
It saddens me, not simply because a life was lost by my hand but that, after all these years of practicing psychotherapy, I still have not learned the art called patience. Yes, my incubating equipment was consisted of a styrofoam box, a seedlings heat pad, a Pyrex tray holding stones, pennies and water, a light bulb and some wires and I only had rudimentary “book knowledge” of temperature, humidity and stages of development. No candler or “factory made” humidity pump. On top of that, there was one 108 temperature spike on the night of day 18 while the temperature ran low most of the time at around 98 in my still air ‘bator. But still, I should have waited at least until day 25 before using invasive “testing method”, since some hatchlings were reported to have successfully emerged up to 7 days overdue.
Having vowed to monitor and adjust the temperature and humidity to the “bitter” end for the remaining 5 eggs, I was greatly rewarded with a little pip just a few hours afterwards. Another half day later, another pip. Within the hour, the second pip became a “quick” zip and a hatchling broke the shell in half, the tiny soaking wet life form took a firm stand on the face towel liner. Almost an entire day later, the second peep came out from the first pip. Smaller, shakier, seemingly “wetter” somehow. And yet determined to form a twosome flock with his/her sibling.
After much debate, 8 hours after the second “birth”, both for the welfare of the newborns and the remaining eggs, the peeps were moved to the brooder.
Up till now (day 26), the remaining three eggs are “dead as stones” – no sign of pips. Hopefully having learned the lesson of patience, I’m staying “put” until day 29, just to be on the same side of a much desired but difficult to attain “character trait” called “patience”.