Long before I started this blog, I was sending out e-mails to our extended family and friends to explain what craziness was the new normal on our farm. This was the e-mail that was sent to explain our first horrific hatching experience. I suggest that you sit for this one, if you aren’t already. Pictures have since been added.
On the farm we have been breeding our own chickens… hatching eggs in this incubator that hasn’t stopped once since we got it. It’s pretty amazing actually, eggs collected go in, and 21 days later, chicks come out. I’m simplifying the process, but that’s essentially it. Our hatch rates have been great, after we got the kinks worked out, and I’ve researched that the average hatch rate is about 50%; we consider anything over that incredible. That being said, I am always looking to improve our rates, and aways open up the unhatched eggs to see what the issue was… which has been helpful. Some just aren’t fertilized, some got halfway and then stopped, some just died in their shells (just didn’t make it – they were too big for the shells or whatever) – all can point to problems with humidity or heat levels. So this last hatch was no different. Our hatch rate of our eggs was 60% (yippee!), but a friend had given me 9 eggs from her chickens, and only 1 hatched. Not good. So I was determined to figure out the issue.
So there I was, standing at the incubator, new kittens watching me with great interest, Camilla (the dog) watching me thinking that I had food of some sort; me armed with a spoon to lightly rap each egg and to determine cause of failure. I stood by the incubator, opening each egg carefully, just in case someone was still alive in there, documenting the results of each egg, when IT happened. I should mention, that each egg after it has essentially been in a sauna for 21 days isn’t going to smell great. I’m ok with that. I’m used to nasty smells, and been married for 11 years…I’m ok with it. However, I was unprepared for what happened… nor do I think I could have prepared my nostrils for it.
I picked up an small brown egg – one from our flock. And as I had done for the last 12 eggs, I lightly tapped it and it exploded in my hand, and brown ooze went everywhere… and a stench that only can be described as Satan’s morning breath after an evening bender of eating gorgonzola cheese, garlic soaked escargot, and tequila & jet fuel shooters – launched up into my nasal tract only a meer 20 cm away. Even our new kittens were sickened; luckily since clearly they can sense evil before it arrives, they had backed up considerably.
Now a weaker human would have thrown up for sure, however, since I think I was still stunned, I did not…even though the dark lord’s goo was on my hands, the incubator, the floor, the table, and the brooder. The new chicks were spared, thank goodness, but I had to deal with the mess…and the unholy stench. The laundry sink was full of dishes, since our kitchen is still under renovation, but the incubator (the washable part anyway) got dumped into it. I can assure you that no amount of “Tropical Escapes” scented hand soap that sits at our laundry sink put a dent into that vile odor, although it did now smell like Lucifer was now on a holiday wearing coconut sunscreen and drinking mai tais. I launched full tilt to wiping and spraying every surface, using every house cleaning agent I could find…suspecting that the longer that ooze was exposed to air, the more putrid smelling our house would become, transforming into some portal for the undead now, with our house smack right in the middle of some ancient map with a pentagram drawn around it. I cleaned, wiped, sprayed and soaked, until I had the horrible realization that it didn’t just get on my hands… it got on my pj’s, and in my hair. Now, about me: I’m a rule follower. I like rules, and believe they give structure. So when the Loreal Paris hair dye box says thou shalt not wash your hair for 72 hours post dye job – and I’m only in hour 26 – I follow their commands. However, I feel as though there should be a little asterisk next to those instructions, perhaps with an additional message saying “In case of possible demonic possession, hell-hole portal opening, or bringing the dark lord to this earthly plane, lather hair with a mild shampoo and rinse with cold water for best results.”. Needless to say, I scrubbed, lathered, rinsed and repeated.
It is now 48 hours later from the incident and the smell seems to have been successfully exorcised from the house. All except the dog which I naively overlooked. She will be bathed today. Poor Camilla. The good new is, my soul seems to be intact, as well as my hair colour, never mind saving humanity. But if you do visit our farm, if the chickens are clucking strangely and have red glowing eyes…just look away.