Wednesday, March 25, 2009


So the hatch was a 100% failure, boo. :( We are going to try again, after conferring with other chicken people. The incubator will be outfitted with a new electronic thermostat and a forced-air fan unit, and relocated back in the kitchen. I find it hard to believe that moving the thing about 8 feet would make such a total difference, but...well...we DID get some chicks hatch last year when we did that!

Still time to hatch chicks for the kids' Science Fair project, so all is good, still.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Two Days To Go...

...with no movement or sounds from the eggs yet. We're uncertain if all will hatch, some will, or none will. Candling the dark-shelled eggs is impossible, we can't see through the shells even using our brightest light. With the hatch due Monday morning, seeing the eggs rocking and hearing the chicks inside peeping tomorrow will be our only clue as to if we have any viable eggs or not.

Chickam is pointed at the nest boxes out in the coop for now, and will stay there until we have movement and peeping from the eggs. So if you see the eggs on camera, it means the hatch is a 'go'. The thermostat on the incubator proved VERY unreliable this time around, fluctuating wildly between 102 and 98 degrees...with the optimum temp of 99.5 degrees being very hard to maintain. Even with checking it often, we can't be sure if hours passed during the day when we were gone, or night while we were sleeping with the temp at a chick-killing too high or too low.

At any rate, the eggs will remain in the incubator until Thursday the 26th, in order to catch any late bloomers. If none hatch, we'll try again. J. says he wants to take the old incubator and try to install a better, more reliable thermostat in it so we'll try with that one.

Keep your fingers crossed!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hens On The Hoof!

Chickam is up and running, now showing our flock! Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page:


We'll be using UStream and Justintv. Justintv will have chat, UStream will not.

The cam will change to the incubator on March 22nd, 24 hours before the scheduled hatch on March 23rd.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Annnnnd...They're Off!

Twenty-one days and counting till Chickam2009!

Here are this years' 50 contenders for 'Who Will Hatch First'!

The blue thing is a Water Weasel, which holds the probe for the digital thermometer--it acts as an artificial egg and is a way for us to gauge the temp INSIDE the eggs, which makes for a much more accurate reading. The thing with the digital readout on the right is a hygrometer, which measures humidity--it has to be at a certain levels at various times during the hatch. It has a thermometer, too, but it isn't as accurate as the digital one with the probe. The eggs are numbered so that you can cheer on your favorite!

The eggs are due to hatch on March 23rd, but Chickam will start the day before, on March 22nd in order to catch any early hatches. You can see and hear it live soon here--two spots in case one or the other goes down:

No chat, kid-safe:

With moderated chat but we advise adult supervision since we can't control what other people say, but we will be answering questions here:

How do hens manage this without all these gadgets?!