Sunday, April 4, 2021

Easter, Passover and The Hatch

Three weeks ago I decided that I was going to try my hand at hatching some of our chicken’s eggs. I got an incubator and set to work at figuring out what I needed to do. The incubator was pretty easy to operate and not much fussing over turning the eggs and keeping the temperature at a constant 99.5 degrees and humidity at 45-55%. This incubator did it all. So it pretty much was a matter of gathering 22 eggs and putting them in the incubator. 

The first few days I was quite OCD about making sure the temp was constant and the humidity set to perfect. And that the egg turner was doing its job. And each time I checked, all was good. So it was just a matter of waiting to see if I got chicks in two more weeks. The instructions kept saying to not mess with them no matter what, which of course made me feel like I should be checking them and holding them to a bright light to look inside. Dang it was hard to wait….and wait...and... wait.

On day 18, 3 days before they were expected to hatch, I was supposed to do a lockdown of the incubator. That is turn the egg turner off, increase putting water in the tray so the humidity would go to 65-75% now. The anticipation was starting to become a little overwhelming. But I did exactly what I was instructed to do. It was only another 3 days after all.

Every morning for those 3 days I sat on the piano bench and just would stare at the incubator hoping to see movement or hear chirping….anything to show that new life was in there. That the past 2 ½ weeks had paid off. And every time the same old thing...just the motor humming and the temp and humidity numbers flashing. A mama hen can’t possibly put this much thought into hatching her eggs. Any time I ever see one of our hens get setting on eggs, she looks like she is gazing off into the distance, or napping. Me, I kept hearing the old Carly Simon tune, “Anticipation”, playing in my brain.

Day 21 finally arrived and I woke up expecting to see an incubator full to the brim of baby chicks. There was nothing, not even an egg looking like a chick maybe was pecking its way out of the shell. The whole day was just me sitting by the incubator hoping to watch an egg hatch, and nothing. Hours passed and nothing. I went to bed with no eggs ready to hatch, but as I was turning out the light, I heard it..a chirp from within. But since I had to work early in the morning, I went to bed instead of staying awake to watch.

Morning arrived and there it was...a flailing wet, ugly little tiny black chick staring out at me from inside the incubator. There was this new life chirping loudly, and calling to all the other chicks in their eggs to come out and celebrate their new life. I went to work with instructions to the grandkids to keep an eye on the incubator and no matter what, don't open the incubator. I made them criss cross their hearts and promise that they wouldn't open it. I went to work. A few hours went by and I got a text with a picture of more new chicks. There now were 5 and then 6 . By the time I got home there were 7 chicks all different colors. They were dry and hopping all over and chirping really loud. Time to take them out of the incubator and put them in there brooder….which for the next two weeks until it warms up, was in my knitting room.

Thinking all the other eggs were maybe not fertilized, I was ready to take down the incubator. As I was doing it, I heard a faint chirp and a hole the size of a BB. There was another chick going to hatch. I left it and went to bed. About 2:30 this morning I got up and went to look at the egg. Nothing had changed ,the same size hole, a sporadic little faint chirping. I watched for a bit and then did what you are not supposed to do, I opened the incubator and picked up the egg to listen for pecking or chirping. I heard chirping and as I went to set the egg down, it cracked more and the chick was trying to get out. It had to work so hard to make a small hole, it was struggling to get out. It finally fell out of the shell and flailed about alone in the incubator. Out of that struggle came new life. 

Eggs are oval in shape, no beginning and no end. Out of that egg that has been developing and growing will come a new and transformed life, completely different than what it was. Easter is about new life for Christians as a result of the belief in Christ’s resurrection. Passover is about a people being set free from Egypt, also the beginning of a new free life. Each year around this time, many celebrate their spiritual traditions. This year for me, watching those little flailing wet ugly floppy chicks hatch out of their old shells and become fluffy little chicks cruising around self sufficient in their brooder has kind of given me a new outlook and insight into our Easter and Passover traditions.

This is Sue from Solid Rock Minnesota wishing you all a happy and safe Easter and Passover.

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