Monday, May 3, 2010

Something Egg-citing

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:11-13

A few weeks back I bought a tiny incubator that looks a little like a UFO from an online hatchery catalog. It was rather flimsy and had what I think of as a nightlight bulb as the primary heat source. It also came with an oval shaped piece of wire screen folded in half, a tiny thermometer, and two pieces of aluminum foil. I was doubtful, to say the least, that this thing would ever be able to produce a chick from an egg. But with $20 already spent and potential chicks being laid every day in the barn, I thought I would give it a whirl.

First, I had to do several aluminum foil upgrades to achieve the magical temperature of 100 degrees. After working at it for several hours, I finally got it to settle out at 100. Then I collected my egg (only one that day), marked it with the date on one side and an X on the other and I became a mother hen, fretting over temperature and turning the egg twice a day.

A second egg was added a couple of days later, as my chickens kept laying cracked eggs for some reason. They probably knew I was up to something.

At one week, we candled the eggs for the first time in our lives. We held a magazine over a light bulb in our bedroom lamp and nearly set the cover on fire before it was all over. Egg #2 had a very porous shell and was clearly a dud, but in Egg #1, we saw something MOVE. It was really cool!

Egg #2 was tossed and Egg #3 was added a day later. At two weeks, we candled the eggs again. Egg #1 was full of something dark. Egg #3 was a yolker – another dud. So, since we were down to only one week before my egg would hatch and I wasn’t sure there was enough room in the UFO for a chick and another egg, Egg #1 became an only child… er, chick.

Friday night, I came home late and found this:

We could hear the chick peeping and see the egg quiver as the chick obviously moved inside it. But, the chick was in no hurry. No progress had been made by noon on Saturday, so with the Internet as my source of knowledge, I “helped” make the hole a little bigger. Then we had this:

Again, the chick was too lazy to make any effort on her own part to pop herself out of the shell. So, I called my neighbor, Mr. Fuller, who said there might be something wrong with it and it wouldn’t hurt to break it out of the shell, since it might die anyway. So at about 9pm on Saturday night, I hatched my first egg. She kept peeping as I pulled the shell off of her, and this is what I ended up with:

I taped the dome on the UFO so she couldn’t flop herself out onto the kitchen counter and went to bed, half expecting her not to make it. But… On Sunday morning, there she was staring up at me with her big eyes and much fluffier feathers:

I named her Betty. She’s the cutest chick I’ve ever hatched! Of course she’s also the ONLY chick I’ve ever hatched.

In only 21 days, Betty grew legs, eyes, feathers, a beak, and even toenails, not to mention all of her internal clockwork. She grew from breakfast to living, breathing poultry over a nightlight and aluminum foil on a piece of wire mesh. She even appears to know my voice because she comes to me when I talk to her.

Now who can say there is no God, when such a miracle occurs in an egg?

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” Job 12:7-10


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