First thing this morning, we checked our 2 little injured chickies in the aquarium. Mr Percival is doing better by the day and looking more and more alert, but unfortunately Dot didn't make it through the night.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="800" caption="Dot (on the left) and Mr Percival"][/caption]
Her injuries were much more severe though and you could see the muscle fibre on the back of her wing. Poor darling! So, it is all hands on deck to look after the remaining chicks.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="800" caption="Mr Percival snuggling with make-do Mamma Hen"][/caption]
In addition to Mr Percival inside, we still have the 3 little black ones out in the pen, but they are fully feathered around the neck. We think one of them might even have a little frizzle in there as it is so fluffy even with its new feathers! So cute!!
Last night I candled the duck eggs and turkey egg as we are now up to day 7. Candling is a process whereby you hold a narrow bright light up to the egg in a darkened room and you can see through the shell. You have to do it fairly quickly as you don't want the temperature of the egg to drop too much while it is outside of the incubator. I bought a little $5 torch from Woolies which does a great job. Here are some photos:
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="800" caption="Visible Yolk"][/caption]
In this first picture, you can see where the yolk is - the dark yellow shadow. There is a small darkened dot which is a bit difficult to see in the photo, but hopefully it is the beginning of a new little duckie!
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="800" caption="Day 7 - Embryo and Network of Veins"][/caption]
This next photo turned out great - lucky because the battery in the camera died right after taking it! The really bright bit at the pointy end is the air sac which will increase in size as the egg progresses. A few days before the duckling hatches out of the actual shell, you should (hopefully) be able to see its beak sticking into the air sac - I'll be sure to keep the camera battery charged! That red spidery looking thing is the exciting part. That means there is a living embryo in there! The thin red lines are a network of veins supporting the tiny embryo which is the red "C" shaped mass in the centre. When you look at if for real, you can actually see the heart beating! I'll see if I can get some video of it tonight. Very exciting stuff! The girls are finding it an amazing process to watch and be involved in, especially as you can get the odd glimpse of what is going on inside the shell!
They say that the embryos shouldn't start developing until they reach incubation temperature, and we collected the 7 eggs over the course of a week, so technically they should all be at the same stage, however, I'm not too sure. I am pretty well convinced that they are all fertile - Danny the Drake makes sure of that EVERY morning without fail! Also, there is no sign that any of them have died. You can tell if you have lost one as you get a red ring instead of the vein network. So, cross your fingers with me and hope that the ones with just a yolk shadow are a day or 2 behind the others!