When a life is on the line, it is time to be unconventional.

I don’t recall mentioning this earlier (possibly as I was intending to do a video on the process) yet I have been incubating a batch of a dozen eggs.  I placed them in my incubator almost a month ago, checking them daily to ensure that everything was going well.  On Friday night, while watching a movie with my son nearby, we heard a very faint chirping noise coming from the incubator.  We quickly rushed over and checked and we could see two of the eggs had small cracks from the chicks attempting to break their way to freedom.

I was a little disappointed to note that only five of the dozen eggs hatched.  I noted that one had not been fertilised, or at least no life started growth in that egg.  The others just didn’t make it.  It could have been due to my turning off the incubator turning mechanism when the first chick hatched, or it might have been something else.

When the last egg had hatched on Sunday morning, I removed the five chicks from the incubator (while leaving it running incase any more would hatch) and placed them in a brooder box with a heat lamp to keep them warm.  I left the room for an hour to continue work on another project, and when I returned I realised that the heat lamp wasn’t working.  One of the chicks had actually started to go into a type of shock.  It was moving very little and was cold to the touch.  I picked it up and held it close to my body to try to impart some warmth back into it.  It seems to work, as after 5 minutes it started to move again.  I brought it inside and placed it in the incubator to warm back up, while I tried to come up with a solution.

I decided that as the sun was shining and the day was warm, I might be able to leave the other four outside to try to soak up some of that heat.  I placed them in an old bird cage and they seemed to really enjoy spending time on the grass.  This would give me the time to work on a solution.

I searched the house for a lamp that I could place in the brooder box, yet every lamp used the new type of light bulb we have in Australia.  They are very energy efficient, putting out very little heat, so they were no use to me for this.

I could not buy a new bulb.  As I mentioned, the heat producing bulbs are not available in Australia, and the heat lamp bulb was from a shop in the city (I was not driving hours both ways for the item).  I thought about my problem and I realised I had the solution all along.  I removed the unhatched eggs from the incubator (checking them all for signs of life, of which there were none) and then placed within the food and water the chicks required.  While the space was going to be limited, at least they could stay warm for the night and I could buy the heat lamp bulb in the morning.

I bought that bulb today and the chicks are now back in their incubator.  I think that this was a great example of not being constrained by the limits of your plans.  If I didn’t think of a way to get around my problem the chicks would have died during the cold night.  By thinking outside the box (or in this case, inside the box), I came up with a solution that ensured the chicks survived till I could provide them with the proper environment.

3 Replies to “When a life is on the line, it is time to be unconventional.”

  1. When I was a child, growing up on our farm out in the mountain wilderness of New England (NSW)..the eggs stayed under the hen in their well-insulated chook-house till they hatched..the new chicks were given a mop-head in the space under our always-on wood stove. They thrived. An incubator would have been out of the question….we had no electricity.

    1. Hey Jan, I prefer to let the hen do the work… yet my dog Orlaith has been stealing their eggs! She is still a puppy so we are trying to train her.
      Using the wood stove would definately save a lot of energy. I might try something like that in winter.

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