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Meet Turner and Tumbles - a story of the tenacity of life

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by cjwaldon, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. cjwaldon

    cjwaldon Crowing

    Sep 11, 2011
    Missouri, USA
    My Coop
    I am so stupid. And yet . . .

    Let me tell you a story. This story is how Turner and Tumble came into this world. Don’t 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 didn’t make it a full day. Well chalk that up to inexperience. She’ll 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 wasn’t 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 you’re thinking. I’m batting a thousand. I’m 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. That’s 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 didn’t 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 . . . [​IMG] But I did get three beautiful blue splash Marans chicks. [​IMG]

    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. [​IMG] 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.


    One last egg. This one didn’t 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. [​IMG] 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. [​IMG] 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. [​IMG]

    Please allow me to introduce Turner and Tumbles:


    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    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 . . . [​IMG] [​IMG]

  2. Mandymooligan

    Mandymooligan Songster

    Mar 18, 2011
    Chino Valley, AZ
    WOW!A wonderful end to a not so wonderful story. They are darling!![​IMG]
  3. FuzzyButtsFarm

    FuzzyButtsFarm Rest in Peace 1950-2013

    Your Turner and Tumbles story brought tears to my eyes. I would love to see pics of when they are grown up. [​IMG]
  4. Patricia Jane

    Patricia Jane Songster

    Oct 28, 2010
    Petaluma CA
    My eyes got teary too. What a wonderful ending. I'd love to see them grown as well. They are just precious little babies. They deserve the best.
  5. kvmommy

    kvmommy Songster

    Jan 2, 2011
    That is amazing!! What strong birds!!!
  6. abbey808

    abbey808 Songster

    Jun 30, 2011
    Loved your story! I'm glad that there was a happy ending. [​IMG] They are adorable! Please continue to share pics as your little ones grow up.
  7. BasicallyHeather

    BasicallyHeather Chirping

    Aug 4, 2011
    Lowellville, Ohio
    What a great story! And adorable little babies [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] I love the message of your story, because it reminds us that we aren't always in control, you know? [​IMG]

  8. BHep

    BHep Crowing

    Nov 20, 2010
    Faison, NC
  9. KYTinpusher

    KYTinpusher Master Enabler

    Sep 3, 2011
    Northern KY
    Great story! [​IMG] Thank you for sharing, Candace. [​IMG]
  10. gabrielle1976

    gabrielle1976 Crowing

    Feb 21, 2009
    Columbia river gorge
    Aww thank you for shareing.

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