Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Hatching a Robin's Egg...or Not

Hi, it's Celia again.

Two weeks ago I was working at my mucking job, and my friend Autumn and I found a robin's nest. Normally we wouldn't disturb a bird's nest, but the mom had built it right on top of the hay stack, and we needed the hay to feed the horses. So we had no choice but to move the nest. But instead of letting the eggs die, Autumn and I each took two of the eggs and decided to incubate them at home. Right away I accidentally broke one of the eggs. But the second one I handled more carefully, and it actually made it home.

My mom knows a little bit about incubating eggs. She doesn't have an incubator, but she has tried to get hens to sit on eggs. So she was the closest I had to an "eggspert" on hatching eggs. (Sorry, that pun was awful.) She didn't hold out a whole lot of hope for my incubation efforts.

"It's not going to work. They not only need uniform heat, but proper humidity. How are you going to achieve that?" she asked me.
"Well, I'll use a heating pad. Unless you want to run out and buy me an incubator..." I didn't think she would, but it was worth trying.
"No. I don't want an incubator. They're expensive and my understanding is the failure rate is pretty high."
"But I'm homeschooled! Isn't this what homeschoolers do?"
"Nope. Not this homeschooler. How about we scramble the egg and eat it for breakfast?"
What a grouch she was.

Anyway, I decided to undertake "Operation Jeffrey". I personally believe that if you speak like something is going to happen, then that helps it happen. So I named the egg Jeffrey, with the hope that he would actually hatch.

Here I am holding the egg up to the light to see if there was a baby developing. I saw a little gray spot which I was sure was the chick.

"No it's not. It's the air pocket," Mom told me.
Bah humbug.

 And here I am placing the egg in a nest of horse hair. Surely this will keep it safe until it hatches.

"What are you going to do when it hatches? You know that you'll have to chew up an earthworm and then spit it into the baby bird's mouth, don't you? That's what the mom would do. Think you can do that?" Mom was on a roll.

"No, mom, I'm not going to chew up an earthworm and spit it into Jeffrey's mouth. I'll think of something else." Sheesh.

I'm expecting Jeffrey to hatch in a few more days. If he doesn't, I'm going to break open the egg and see what's in there. I'll be sure to post pictures!

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