Lockdown!

It’s day 18 of our current incubator run, which means it’s time for lockdown. During the last 3 days of the incubation period, eggs need high humidity to keep the chicks from drying out and sticking in the shells as they pip their way out.

This is also the time to stop turning them so the chicks can get into position to break through the inner membrane and get some practice breathing air before they break out of the shell and into the big wide world. LockdownThis time around, we are separating the bought eggs from the homegrown ones using mesh cages made from hardware cloth. Ameraucana eggs are the blue ones in the upper left section, Marans eggs in the upper right. Our homegrown eggs are loose in front, and the one little olive egg has a basket all to itself. There are lids on the cages now, to keep the newly hatched chicks from jumping into the wrong area.

We’ll try to keep the temperature around 99.5F and the humidity at 60-65%. There is water in wells built into the styrofoam floor of the incubator, and we have sponges set in a small jar with a piece of aquarium tubing poking out a vent hole in the lid. This allows us to add water without opening the incubator.

The hard part is waiting and watching for those little peepers to make an entrance.

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The weather is finally starting to feel like spring, and we are almost ready to plant potatoes and cool-weather veggies like spinach, lettuce, kale, kohlrabi, peas, onions and so on. We’re also starting peppers and the mutant striped stupice tomatoes we saved seeds from last year. They sprouted just a few days after being planted over a heat mat, under full spectrum lights, wrapped with mylar bubble insulation. That bodes well for them being a good early mater for our area. We’ll plant them out to our little hoop houses around May 1st.

Mutant striped Stupice tomatoes.
Mutant striped Stupice tomatoes.
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3 thoughts on “Lockdown!”

  1. Do you use onion seed or starts for your onion crop? I have the worst time getting seeds to grow for onions.

    I can’t wait to see pictures of the new little chicks.

    1. We use seeds sprinkled pretty thickly in 4″ pots so they look like wheat grass once they get growing. When they’re about 4″ tall I prep the soil and dump the whole pot out and carefully tease apart each onion start. Then i poke a hole maybe an inch or 2 deep and kind of twirl the roots into it, like spaghetti on a fork. Pinch the dirt up around it so it stands up straight, and water it in.

      So far that’s been a foolproof method, but you are stuck planting the whole batch in one go. We grow a few hundred onions each season htough. I do recall direct seeding my first time and it was a pain. And lots of the seeds didn’t take. Here’s an older pic of onion starts. You can plant them more thickly that these to save space – https://seventreesfarm.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/onions.jpg

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