Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Embryonic Cycle of a Chicken - Day #4

Which Came First?                           Copyright Caitlin Johnston

It's Day #4 of the twelve-egg incubation. Phew, this is hard work...just kidding.

Things are progressing well. The heat in the incubator is reading a steady 99.1 degrees and the humidity stays around 56%. About once a day, I add just a smidgen more water so that humidity doesn't ever fall below 55%. I did what was suggested by the incubator reviews on Amazon. I ordered a separate digital thermometer to put inside the incubator. It's much easier to read then the one provided, thus giving me more accurate readings. (In other words, no reading glasses are needed.)

The incubator sits on my kitchen island, plugged in, quietly humming along. The only competing sound is the drone of the refrigerator and the occasional turning on-and-off of the house heater. If only human birth was this easy!

So, far, my cat, Sequoia, couldn't care a less what's inside that medium-sized box with the funny dials on top. I suspect, though, when the chicks hatch, her nose will be twitching and her tail will be swishing as she leans over the box. Sequoia will be spending a lot of time outdoors at that point!

This morning on their Facebook site, Our Little Coop posted this marvelous scientific illustration from Caitlin Johnston. According to Caitlin's blog, she is a graduate student studying Biomedical Visualization at UIC and lives in the Windy City aka Chicago. This illustration offers an excellent visual of the embryonic progression of a chicken.

Right now, on Day #4, my little chicks hearts are beginning to beat!

I must admit that this birthing process makes me sentimental. It evokes memories of the many babies I've witnessed being born: kittens while I was in college (I even held the mother cat in my lap while she was birthing her first kittenl); goats in the backyard of my friend Rebecca's, house; a humpback whale in Kauai...but, most importantly, the birth of my beautiful daughter and, then, my beautiful granddaughter. There is something so beautiful, so precious, so hopeful, so optimistic about birth.

Older posts about birth:
The First Egg
The Birth of Backyard Kids
Venus in Transit

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