It's funny how we see only omelets or baked goods or deviled eggs when we look at a carton of eggs, because this time of year when we see songbirds making nests, we think baby birds. The reality is that most chicken eggs will never hatch, because you don't need a rooster around for a hen to lay eggs, only if you'd like them to be fertile. Large egg producers don't keep any roosters around. Also, it's fascinating to me that eggs don't need to be put in the refrigerator. Most countries don't ever refrigerate eggs, so it's a bit insane how US government regulations state that farmers MUST or the eggs are considered unsafe to eat. Once they've been in the fridge, they have to be kept there or they will go bad. But when I collect eggs, especially this time of year, I keep them on the counter. Once an egg goes in the fridge, it gets chilled and odds are it will not hatch. But eggs on the counter are still tasty. In fact, if you buy farm-fresh eggs, you may know how hard it is to peel them once they've been hardboiled. Leaving them out for 10 days-2 weeks makes it much easier. Eggs can sit on the counter for about 6 weeks and still be safe to eat! And by not putting them in the fridge, I have the option of setting any or all of them to see them turn into adorable babies.
When you stop and think about it, every egg is a potential miracle. After weeks of simply being kept warm, a baby bird is alive and pecks its way out of the shell. They are curled up in there to perfectly take up all the room inside, each and every one ends up in the same position. Sometimes the shell is hard, or they get tired, and they just can't make it out of the egg. Most sources say to just toss them out, that if they are not strong enough to escape the shell, they won't be strong enough to live. I take the opposite approach and crack the shells open, say Hi! to the little guy, and put it back into the incubator drawer to dry off and figure out how its muscles work before I remove it to the brooder pen where there is food, water, and a heat lamp for warmth. Not all of them make it, but I find most actually do. I've saved dozens of chicks, maybe more, this way, and we've hatched out literally thousands of baby birds! Somehow, it's still a thrill to hear the incubator begin peeping as the birds begin to hatch. (The incubator lives in the pantry off of my kitchen, so I hear them as I go about my day.) Opening it up and seeing a drawer crowded with fluffy little chicks that didn't really exist the night before never, never grows old!
If YOU are interested in adding some feathered friends to your family this year, feel free to contact us by phone at 814-755-3911 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have chicks on sale now for $3 each, turkeys will be available in the next week or so ($10 ea), and coming in mid-May, we will also have guinea keets available($5 ea)! You can also get more info on the farm website!