I am so stupid. And yet . . . Let me tell you a story. This story is how Turner and Tumble came into this world. Dont worry. It has a happy ending. I have raised chickens for a few years. I faithfully purchased chickens from a hatchery year after year. Always there was something missing. They never quite lived up to the descriptions, the promises of the hatchery. Oh they were always fine healthy birds. But they always felt like run of the mill birds, regardless of breed. Every year, more often when the roaming dogs passed through, I kept buying more chicks. I kept buying new and different breeds. I only kept roosters because I loved hearing them crow. But this was getting expensive. This year I ordered extra roosters so that I could replenish my stock myself and not have to keep ordering more chicks. I patiently waited for the birds to mature. I patiently waited for a hen, any hen, to go broody. This is not an easy thing, as hens will or will not go broody on their schedule, not yours. Then I counted the days with anticipation and finally there was one tiny little chick, then two tiny little chicks. Then mother hen got all stupid and both chicks didnt make it a full day. Well chalk that up to inexperience. Shell do better next time. So I patiently waited for a hen, any hen, to go broody. This is not an easy thing to do, not when you need to replenish your stock. Then I stumbled upon BYC. It wasnt long before I bought an incubator. And not long after that before eggs were set. But not run of the mill mixed breed eggs from my own birds. I purchased some marans eggs from a BYC member. (Thank you!) I know what youre thinking. Im batting a thousand. Im inexperienced. And I set eggs that were shipped. And they were marans eggs. Call me a glutton for punishment. I quickly learned that it is rather difficult to candle a marans egg. I could barely see anything, but I could see enough to know that some of them were not developing. Around day 12, I pulled three eggs, opened them, and verified that they were indeed not developing. Thats when my impatience and frustration got the better of me. I wanted to know what I was supposed to be looking for, and pictures on BYC just are not the same as seeing it in person. So I replaced the duds with 2 mutt Leghorn eggs. Nice white shells. Oh yeah. And so the incubation continued. I would candle much too frequently, always questioning if the Marans eggs were on track, always amazed at how much the Leghorn eggs were moving inside their shells. I knew I would have a problem at lockdown and resigned myself to the fact that the Leghorn eggs were, um, expendable. I could not bring myself to open them, and I never got around to just chucking them out. Lockdown came for the Marans eggs. I turned the automatic egg turner off, bumped up the humidity, and waited. This is where things started to get interesting. After a day I realized that I put them in lockdown a day early, on day 17. Oops. I didnt bother to mess with the Leghorn eggs. So they were in the incubator through lockdown and did not get turned. Hatch day came. Just like clockwork, I woke that morning and had one baby Marans looking back at me. By the end of the following day, two more eggs hatched. I put the two leghorn eggs in a carton on the shelf while I moved three chicks to the brooder. Several hours later I remembered those Leghorn eggs. Oops again. Back in the incubator they went. By this time I was sure they are not going to hatch. I was still waiting on one more Marans egg. I waited another day. I did the float test on the fourth and last Marans egg. Nothing. I candled. Nothing. I waited anther day. I candled again. Then I assisted, carefully at the air end. Nothing. As I progressed it was quite clear that it was already gone. I carefully extracted a fully formed chick which yielded no clues as to why it passed. Sigh . . . But I did get three beautiful blue splash Marans chicks. But back to my original story. I now had two mutt leghorn eggs in the incubator, which set for four days without being turned, and sat out at room temperature for several hours. And yet, and yet, they were still alive and kicking inside their shells. !! So I had to give them a chance. Lucky for me I wrote the date on the eggs when I put them in the incubator, because by this time I had no idea when they should hatch. I counted the days and marked the calendar. You guessed it. I came home from work, checked on the eggs, and one had pipped. Three days early. And the turner was still on. Poor little thing was trying to hatch while being turned every hour. I went into panic mode, turned off the turner, added hot water to immediately up the humidity, and waited. And the next morning I had a fine looking yellow chick. Turner came into the world. Whew! One last egg. This one didnt look good. I could see blood vessels all around the membrane (except the air bubble). Turner did not have any blood vessels. I guessed it needed two or three more days. Wrong again. The same night Turner hatched, the final egg had pipped. Then the accident happened. The dog got tripped up in the power cord and brought the incubator tumbling down off the shelf. The incubator, containing one chick and one pipped egg, went topsy turvey. Water went everywhere. And the final egg was busted. Bad. The entire pointy end was broken off. The rest was full of cracks and chipped pieces. Amazingly, the shell separated from the membrane, and the membrane remained intact. And inside was a chick still very much alive, and complaining. I cleaned up and re-set up the incubator. I misted the now drying membrane. After an hour, I assisted on the fat end to ensure it could breath. I waited another hour. I felt that with no shell on the back end, it would not have any leverage to extract itself from the egg. I then assisted on the front end to the point that there was only a band of shell around the middle, entirely circling the chick. I decided the rest was up to the chick. I misted the membrane again and replaced it in the bator. Then I went to bed. The next morning Tumbles had come into the world. Please allow me to introduce Turner and Tumbles: To all the newbies reading this, sometimes things go wrong no matter what you do right. But sometimes things go right in spite of you doing things wrong. In spite of all my mistakes, these two little guys really wanted to live. Live on little guys, live on . . .