Tag Archives: humidity

A Boring, Hot, Stuffy Day

I suppose the title gives it away.

But in case it didn’t, I’ve spent the day doing boring things in a hot shop with very poor ventilation.

I spent a good portion of the afternoon drinking cold fizzy drinks from the shop across the road. This could have been a fatal amount of sugar, but it was a risk I was prepared to take. Tomorrow I will be taking water in bottles that have been in the freezer overnight. The plan is that they will provide a constant supply of cold water as they gradually melt.

I will let you know how that goes.

These brilliant plans have a habit of not working out.

I thought I’d use some photographs from the Lake District to remind me of more interesting times and less oppressive weather.

It’s on days like this that my thoughts turn to new career paths. With my lack of talent and qualifications I have very little choice. I can win the lottery or I can…

That’s about it.

I could write a profitable blog, but I’ve never quite grasped the principle when reading those websites about making thousands of dollars.

I could, I suppose, film myself doing things and become an internet sensation, like Grumpy Cat. I can do grumpy, but that probably isn’t enough to become an Internet Sensation.

I may have to look at content writing again.

Or I might buy a fan for my desk. It will be winter soon enough and then I will just have the boredom to cope with.

Boredom isn’t too bad.

Though the job would be improved by having a window looking out at a lake.

Here’s a shot taken using the “Dramatic” setting on the camera. I couldn’t resist.

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Ullswater again

 

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Pied Wagtail, Ullswater

And here’s a picture of a Pied Wagtail. I tried fifteen shots and this is the only one with a whole unblurred bird in it.

The Incubator Diaries (Part 3)

I haven’t done a lot with the eggs, because I thought it was probably better to leave them alone and not be always fiddling. It’s better to leave the lid on, as this preserves the heat and humidity.

Does that sound plausible?

In truth I just didn’t get on with it because I had other things to do. That’s the story of my life – “other things to do”.  That’s on my list of things to do – improve my time management.

Fortunately when I weighed them and checked the weight loss they are just about on target. The blue eggs are spot on – weighing 153 g against a target of 152.9 g. The Polish eggs are out by 0.2 g per egg, which isn’t significant. The brown ones are a bit out – 2 g per egg. However, they are bigger and they are from older birds so the shells will be more porous and the expected loss will be higher as a consequence. We will just have to see what happens. In an ideal world we wouldn’t mix such a diverse selection, but they needed to go in when they did to hatch on a Wednesday when we could see them.

That’s the trouble with keeping a small number of birds, you end up keeping the eggs until you have enough and as they age the hatchability declines. I just checked the exact figures – keep them for 7 days and you are OK, after that they start to decline both in terms of hatchability and the health of the chicks you hatch.

It also says (which was something I once knew, but had forgotten) that they will take a little longer to hatch.

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Ready to hatch – I hope!

I am now hoping my calculations are right, because if they don’t hatch on Wednesday my life won’t be worth living.

We should have candled them by now too, but I didn’t get on with ordering the right light and I don’t have a powerful enough torch to do the job. Candling is shining a light through the egg to see if it has a developing embryo inside.  For now it will have to remain a mystery.

The turning gear is now removed and the humidity turned up to 65% (as you need to keep the egg membranes moist to help the chick get out of the egg).

By Wednesday all will be revealed!

The Incubator Diaries (Part 1)

I’ve been fighting off involvement with the livestock since we arrived on the farm. After years of working weekends and bank holidays, and being called out on emergencies I left farming about 20 years ago and didn’t want to be dragged back in.

However, I’m doing a bit more as time goes on, and recently bought an incubator (as I may have mentioned last week).  The idea is that we will be able to do more with visiting kids if we have young chicks and a bit of science to offer. At the moment I’m a little lost. Compared to the industrial machines I used to work with a plastic box holding 20 eggs doesn’t seem much of a challenge. For one thing, I keep wondering where all the other eggs are and for another I’m apprehensive about what happens if the attempt is a disaster.

All I have going round in my head is a list of things that can go wrong (dirty eggs, infertile eggs, poor egg storage, too much humidity, too little humidity at the end, dead in shell, mushy chicks, unabsorbed yolk sacs…). How will I ever hold my head up again if I make a mess of it.

Yesterday I noticed that the humidity had been falling since I switched on – stabilising at 36% when it was set at 40%. Of course, when I went through everything I found I’d pressed the wrong button and set the humidity level at 20%. I set it at 45% and the pump immediately started working, with humidity shooting up to 56%. It’s stabilised at 45% overnight so all is good for now.

This is our new machine. It has automatic turning and humidifying as there are times we will be away for days at a time and automation is more reliable than the farm staff.

It currently has eggs from the Polish Bantams and the ones that lay the blue/green eggs. I’m not even sure which they are, we just kept the coloured eggs and are hoping for the best. They must have some Araucana blood in them but the previous poultry keeper was a bit of cross-breeding freak. Well, he was when it came to poultry; I can’t really comment on his personal life.

Watch this space, as they say.