We sell fresh eggs by the dozen, so the carton on the counter that was holding a beautiful dozen and a half raised question in Mikes mind.
It was the usual rushed Sunday morning: get ready for church, do chores, get the kids ready, pack up the eggs for Sunday deliveries and so on. Mike and I were in the kitchen refilling our coffee when he noticed my larger than normal egg carton on the counter.
“What ‘cha doin’ with those eggs?”
Without making eye contact I turned and faced the coffee pot, concentrated on pouring my next cup and mumbled “I’m going to put them in the incubator.”
We had eight of twelve duck eggs hatch. The eighth I’m hoping will make it, he’s been looking better but I’m still cautious to say we are in the clear with him yet. All animals have a “best outcome method” (my own official term) of birth. Cows it’s best to see the two front hooves and nose coming out first, goats too. Egg hatching birds (all that I am aware of) are supposed to peck around the top of the egg which is the more round end, the bottom being the pointed end. These don’t guarantee a healthy baby but the odds are much better.
Duck8 started pecking at the point of the egg. With a very small hole pecked he made no progress what so ever for about 24 hours. There was still a little wiggling in the shell so Mike decided to help the little guy out. This is not recommended by the way, but we can only watching something struggle for so long before we have to step in and help in hopes of saving the little life. Mike pealed back some of the shell leaving the inner lining intact. It reminded me of a beating heart, the motion of the lining (it was white though, not red and bloody). Then he left to go disc the hay field.
Rebekah, one of our midwives, came last night and noticed there was an egg in the incubator that was starting to hatch. Leave it to a midwife to notice a birth! Ha! I was shocked at the piping. I have it marked on the calendar to stop turning the eggs in a week and then them to hatch a few days later. To say I had things mixed up would be an understatement.
Duck eggs take about 28 days to hatch. I put them in the incubator April 2nd and had marked them to hatch May 7th. Slightly off… Just slightly. To add to my confusion it was April 19th… so I thought when I looked at the calendar. Actually it was April 26th. I lost a whole week somewhere.
I swear I haven’t been drinking! I should seriously consider starting though, maybe that would straighten me out. Whew!
Mike read the most tell-tale sign of when a goat is due to kid is when the tendons on either side of the tail disappear. Scarlet was huge and looking so uncomfortable so we were checking her tendons daily. Really simple check just put your thumb on one side of her spine at just above the start of her tail and your first finger on the other side, there they are. In the last few days I could feel the tendons feeling thinner and more string-like until Sunday; they were gone. Mike checked. I checked. They were gone.
“Hey, so, ah, the cows somehow got the red gate off the hinge and everybody is in the corral. G.W. is trying to breed Lucy already.” That’s right, another one of Mike’s famous calls from the barn.
All afternoon the rain has been off and on; the “on” in the form of heavy, soaking down pours and some hail at one point. We had planned to put some dehorning paste on Margo tonight. Her horns are just barely little bumps, but big enough that we can tell she will have horns. It’s best we take care of them now before they attach to her skull and she gets any stronger. She’s got a lot of might in that little frame.