Getting the flock out of here - a diary of a crazy chicken man

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by ozexpat, Dec 25, 2012.

  1. ozexpat

    ozexpat CocoBeach Farm

    It all started with on Nov 4. I was sitting watching the sun rise over the bay and Mount Kanlaon when our wonderful maid, Analou informed me we were out of eggs. I gave her a few pesos to run to the sari sari store to buy 4 eggs for our breakfast. While she was gone, the morning parade of chickens went through the yard scratching for bugs and other treats. It suddenly occured to be that we have had chickens for three years and had never eaten an egg or a chicken we had produced ourselves. Our chickens, or all intents and purposes, were decorative.

    About half an hour later the tom turkey and my 15 month old son started a stare down. I pulled Lorenzo back and asked Bernie, our gardener, what had happened to the hen turkey. He said that she was sitting on three eggs. We had owned the turkeys for about a year. I had seen hatchling turkeys with the hen but none made it to adulthood. I am in the Philippines for about six weeks a year these days but it dawned on me that our poultry needed attention. Our chickens were native and going broody almost continuously. Sitting on six eggs only and then those that hatched were disappearing before adulthood. We were not getting eggs. The turkey was a hopeless mother. I decided I would buy an incubator, remove the eggs from the coop as soon as they were laid, and then brood the chicks under lights. I was time for research.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2012
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    I see six weeks becoming extended.
     
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  3. ozexpat

    ozexpat CocoBeach Farm

    And research I did. I found this site. I read every single post in Sally Sunshine’s thread. I read and read. My ideas started to grow. I discovered that as much as I wanted my local Filipino chickens to give me lots of eggs they probably would never do so. This broodiness is in built. I needed chickens that would lay eggs year round. I then researched breeds. I discovered that good old Aussie Australorps are great egg producers. I learnt about Barred Rocks, Orpingtons and Wyandottes. I became fascinated with Silkies and Polish. I continued to research.

    I looked in the classifieds in the Philippines. I could not find hatching eggs. I could not find chicks. I emailed hatcheries – they had meat chicks and leghorns. Leghorns would do – but I wanted more than white birds in my yard. There is also a market for these chickens.

    My other issue was who is to hatch these guys? I had to teach Bernie the gardener how to use an incubator. Now Bernie speaks Visayan. I speak English. Most of the time we get ourselves understood but when there is critical specifics – well I get nervous.

    I made a problem list
    1. Getting eggs suitable for my needs in the Philippines
    2. Teaching Bernie how hatch an egg in an incubator
    3. Dealing with humidity
    I developed the plan
    1. Do a proof of concept hatch in Los Angeles – before I teach Bernie, I should have some experience.
    a. Buy an incubator
    b. Get some local California eggs
    c. Hatch them
    2. Replicate in the Philippines


    How hard could it be?
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2012
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  4. ozexpat

    ozexpat CocoBeach Farm

    I went on Craigslist, eBay and Google. I learnt the unreliability of shipped eggs. I got scared. I needed eggs that were not molested by the United States Postal Service.

    My incubator arrived. My trip to the Philippines was now 26 days away. I found a lady in Lake Elsinore – about 60 minutes drive from my Buena Park rental. I bought 18 fertile eggs from a chicken lady for 10 dollars and then got to work. I numbered the eggs, weighed them, candled them and then marked their air sacks. On 11/26 the Lake Elsinore mutt eggs went into my Hovabator 1602N incubator with fan kit and an auto egg turner. I decided to do the dry hatch method. I was concerned that I may not be able to replicate it in the Philippines but all evidence from my research told me that this was the way to go.

    While I was researching and reading threads on BYC, I dreamt of a Rhode Island Red Rooster proudly strutting around my place in the Philippines but could not find eggs or even chicks. I would need to bring the eggs to the Philippines with me. Now I am guilty of slipping the occaisional ham or even frozen turkey into the country but hatching eggs were a completely different issue. Would TSA even let them on the plane?

    I quickly found that if presented appropriately, TSA would be ok. I would have to take my chances on the arrival end. Conceptually, all this could work. In the mean time, my mutt eggs were a steady 99.7F and 35% humidity. On day seven they were weighed and candled. To a novice, they were doing everything right – losing weight while increasing air sack size. I could almost imagine the veins.

    I contacted some local egg sellers on eBay and asked if I could pick up eggs. December is fraught with decreases in yields of eggs and lower fertility rates. Normally I am in the Philippines for a few days to a week at a time but by fluke, I was going to arrive twice in 18 days and with the right timing, could be there for the hatch. I needed eggs this trip. It was now day 14 in the incubator – what was I going to do with the chicks hatching in seven days?
     
  5. ozexpat

    ozexpat CocoBeach Farm

    I followed my learned instructions to the letter. On day 18 I candled and saw 18 of 18 viable chicks.
    On day 21:
    Egg ID

    Initial Wt

    7 day




    12 day



    18 day



    Disposition


    11/27/12

    12/4/12



    12/9/12



    12/15/12



    12/18/2012
    1

    71.3

    69.3

    2.8%

    66.6

    6.6%

    62.2

    12.8%

    hatched
    2

    50.1

    48.1

    4.0%

    45.6

    9.0%

    44.1

    12.0%

    hatched
    3

    49.2

    47

    4.5%

    44.7

    9.1%

    42.9

    12.8%

    hatched
    4

    70.2

    68

    3.1%

    65.4

    6.8%

    61.1

    13.0%

    hatched
    5

    62.3

    59.5

    4.5%

    56

    10.1%

    52.9

    15.1%

    hatched
    6

    55.9

    53.8

    3.8%

    51.4

    8.1%

    48.8

    12.7%

    hatched
    7

    61.2

    59.3

    3.1%

    56.7

    7.4%

    53

    13.4%

    hatched
    8

    54.2

    53.7

    0.9%

    51.5

    5.0%

    49

    9.6%

    pipped/died
    9

    54.6

    52.5

    3.8%

    50.3

    7.9%

    47.4

    13.2%

    hatched
    10

    59.2

    56.2

    5.1%

    54

    8.8%

    51

    13.9%

    hatched
    11

    49.6

    47.4

    4.4%

    45

    9.3%

    44

    11.3%

    hatched
    12

    53.8

    51.9

    3.5%

    49.5

    8.0%

    46.9

    12.8%

    hatched
    13

    49.6

    46.8

    5.6%

    45.7

    7.9%

    42.9

    13.5%

    hatched
    14

    51.4

    50.1

    2.5%

    44.6

    13.2%

    44.4

    13.6%

    hatched
    15

    59.0

    56.6

    4.1%

    53.8

    8.8%

    51.8

    12.2%

    hatched
    16

    63.1

    61.1

    3.2%

    58.6

    7.1%

    55

    12.8%

    hatched
    17

    56.7

    54.7

    3.5%

    48.8

    13.9%

    49.8

    12.2%

    hatched
    18

    61.0

    58.9

    3.4%

    56.4

    7.5%

    53.1

    13.0%

    hatched
    Average


    56.8

    55.3

    3.7%

    52.5

    8.6%

    50.0

    11.9%

    94% hatched

    I proved I could do it. I also found a home for all 17 peeps. OffGridMAMA from BYC ended up with 15 in an egg/chick swap.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2012
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  6. ozexpat

    ozexpat CocoBeach Farm

    The day of my flight to the Philippines became the great chicken run. December 22, 2012 I headed off to Lake Elsinore at 7am to collect another 18 eggs from my original supplier. These were to be my control group. I knew that I could hatch them in the perfect conditions of my Orange County bedroom but what effects were travelling 7500 miles in a plane, humidity and other still unknown variables going to play in this crazy idea? I would compare hatch rates of these eggs against the others.

    Next was OGM’s place to drop off 15 chicks (2 were commandeered by a workmate) and pick up eggs. OGM had 30 of the prettiest eggs I have ever seen. There were colors from pastel blue and green to browns from almost pink to chocolate. It was also great to meet another BYCer. I knew OGM was going to look after the chicks I hatched and enjoy their utility

    As I was winding down the dirt road from OGM’s place I heard a shuddering sound from the rear of my car. I stopped thinking it was a blown rear tire but all were intact. I got back in and no noise. When I was on the black top road however, there was a whine. I limped into Escondido, CA at around 11:30am. I pulled over thinking that my run was over. Seven hours from check in, a two hour drive from home and no rental cars in the town. I went from worrying about eggs to worrying about getting to see my kids and wife for Christmas on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.
     
  7. ozexpat

    ozexpat CocoBeach Farm

    According to Google on my Android phone, there was a transmission shop 0.3 miles away. I pulled into it dejected. The guys at Transmission Pros diagnosed the problem as a drive shaft bearing. That was good news. I was not out for thousands. I told them my predicament and they sprang into action. A part was available and Roger the mechanic removed the drive shaft while the owner, Newell drove off to pick up the part. At 1:05pm and $330 later, I was back on the road. I had to cancel two of my stops. No Silkies or Barred Rocks this trip. I managed to get to Spring Valley, east of San Diego to collect 8 Black Copper Marans, 8 Red Laced Blue Wyandottes and 9 Australorp pre-paid eBay eggs. It was now 2:30pm. I had 4 hours to drive 3 hours home and then pack then another hour to LAX. I told myself that the 3 hr pre flight check in was going to be cut down to 2 hrs and headed home.

    I made great time and got home in 2.5 hrs. The special foam with cut-outs had arrived via USPS and I carefully placed 25 eggs in a bag to carry on then the remaining 48 in my golf bag (golf bags are hand checked at LAX as they are too big to x-ray). I took my 3 x 70lb boxes, 44lb golf bag and 25lb carry on down to the car and headed off to LAX. I was thankful of my frequent flier status with Philippine airlines that afforded me such an obscene amount of baggage and looking forward to the upgraded business class seat that 60,000 of those frequent flier miles has paid for. My flight was to leave at 9:15. It was delayed until 10PM. Time had got away and it was now 7PM. I had to stop by my sisters so she could baby sit my car and drop me off. A one hour drive turned into a traffic nightmare. I checked in at 8:45 PM. Fortunately TSA were fast with hand checking my eggs and I got to the plane as they were boarding.
     
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  8. ozexpat

    ozexpat CocoBeach Farm

    An hour into the flight and the turbulence started. I began thinking about the horror stories of shipped eggs. Fortunately the special foam with cylindrical cut outs for eggs I ordered from Tx arrived at the last minute. My eggs were well protected. Twenty minutes later, the turbulence stopped. Save a few bumps when we landed in Guam and then Manila, it was one of the smoothest flights I have had across the Pacific. At 6:20am on December 24 I was in Manila. I obtained a customs quarantine permit to transport the eggs. Onto the domestic terminal for the last flight leg of my journey home for Christmas.



    The domestic flight was a breeze. 55 mins later I was disembarking in Bacolod City – also aptly known as manokan or chicken country. The carousel started up. Out second was the golf bag – perfect. I just had to wait for my three boxes. They contained my two hovabators and the kids Christmas presents (as well as 2 trailer tires, a tow hitch, 18lbs of rat poison, computer parts and all sorts of other things that make living in a 3rd world easier). I waited some more. No boxes.
     
  9. loves2hatch

    loves2hatch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Central Iowa
    [​IMG]
     
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  10. EPetrilli

    EPetrilli Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 19, 2012
    I'm thinking the same! What ever Happened?!
     

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