Crap! I cracked it! Mending a crack on a hatching egg.
There I was, holding my long awaited hatching eggs that I had gotten from across country. I was like a kid on Christmas, like Golum with "my precious". I had searched and searched for this breed and yes! I found it. Not only did I organize this cross country exchange, I paid a lot of money to do it! Mr.Solah farm doesn't know that part.....
I let my little blue jewels (ameraucana eggs) rest for a couple of days post shipping and had my incubator ready to go. I set them in one by one as if I were setting crown jewels in a masterpiece. Dramatic I know, but really, I was so very excited about finally getting these eggs.
As I was putting the very last ones in, I jostled and one of the eggs fell out of the carton on to my hard wood floor. Crap! I quickly picked up this little, fragile beauty and looked at it closely. I'm sure I let out some sort of noise as I saw the crack from top to bottom. I've blocked out the moment, so I can't say if it was a primal scream or more of a whimper. My heart dropping, I decided to try to mend this egg that seemed irrevocably broken, lost to the hatching egg gods. I went to my bathroom for supplies. I looked everywhere, trying to find something to not only cover and seal the crack, but to also let the area breath. I've heard of wax being used and also nail polish, but that was for little cracks or dents. This was almost ready to go in the frying pan! Yes the crack was bad, but thankfully the inner membrane was intact. If there had been a tear, there wouldn't be much hope .
Ack! Back to looking in the bathroom for supplies! I've always been weary about nail polish on eggs as there are so many chemicals and formaldehyde in it. I worry that it could in some way cause issues with the growing embryo. I did however, come across my daughters nail polish called "Piggy Paint". It is a natural nail polish that doesn't have the nasties that you normally find in regular polish. I grabbed it and kept on looking. I next came across some clear, breathable band-aids. "Might work!" I thought .
I took my quick fix kit back to the incubator and started to work. I grabbed the nail polish and painted the crack on the bottom of the egg where minor cracks spread out from the main one, then let it dry. Next I cut the cotton pads off the band-aids and kept the clear sticky part. I cut the sticky, breathable tape in to strips and after the nail polish was dry, used the strips to not only cover over the cracks that I had painted, but sort of butterfly taped the upper part of the crack to hold the whole crack as tightly together as I could without causing more damage. It wasn't pretty and looked rather ramshackle, but it was all I could come up with.
I put the little egg in to the incubator and crossed my fingers, toes and eyes!
I would look at the little egg though the incubator window every day to make sure I didn't see any weeping or further cracking. After a week I decided to candle, and with bated breath, I looked for signs of development and life. I was thrilled to see the tiny spider web veins growing inside of my now science experiment. Cautiously I put the egg back, and decided to wait until day 18, lock down to check progress again.
Lockdown day was finally here and I pulled my little "Franken Egg" out of the incubator for one last candling. I was expecting to see that it had stopped development. Really, the little chick would be much bigger by now and I thought that the membrane and egg shell would have somehow not been strong enough to accommodate.
As I shone my light through the shell, to my surprise, the little guy started to move around! I was impressed! My little fix it job had worked this far! The nail polish had filled the hairline cracks and the band-aid tape was holding the main crack together, but still letting the egg breath.
Back in to the incubator the egg went for lockdown. Next hurdle, hatching.....
On day 21, the eggs all started to hatch. One by one, the little fluff balls popped out. As happy as I was to see them, my eyes were always shifting to the pretty blue egg with the ugly paint and tape job. Nothing was happening. Of course, I naturally thought that was the end of it. The chick had expired. I went about my day, waiting for the rest to hatch. They had all pipped and were doing what they were supposed to do . I came back a few hours later to check on hatching progress. As I looked in, the first egg I looked to was my "Franken Egg".
But, when I looked in the spot it was, all that was left was a empty shell! In the few hours I had left, this chick not only had pipped, it had hatched! Now here is when you picture a crazy chicken lady doing a happy dance and looking rather ungraceful. I couldn't tell you which one of the chicks was the miracle egg. They were all happy, healthy and running around. Which ever chick it was, it not only was strong enough to develop in a cracked egg, but it was strong enough to peck through a band aid lol! It was a happy hatching moment here on Solah Farm. Now the next hurdle.........please be a hen!