Motherhood will always mean early morning wake-up calls — even if you’re a hen.
A box of 6 chicken eggs arrived at the post office early Saturday morning from the Meyer Hatchery in Ohio. I rushed over to pick them up, thinking they had to go in the incubator right away. Turns out you have a week of viability to get yourself ready for parenthood.
We got six — 3 Rhode Island Reds, and 3 Buff Orpingtons — having heard that those types are both friendly and decent egg layers. Four of the eggs will be for my classroom unit on animals. Two will be for my own children to incubate and watch. While I have an incubator in the classroom, I don’t have one at home. I found what looked like a fairly easy incubator design on StormtheCastle.com, and built one of my own. For the last 24 hours I”ve been trying to stablize the temperature and humidity inside before adding the two eggs we picked out as our own — one small and pink, one larger, darker and slightly speckled.
I just added the eggs. The temperature was 101, and the humidity in the 70s. I feel like I did when I first brought my first child home from the hospital — terrified. Can I keep this baby alive? I wondered. I felt so skill-less, clue-less, completely inadequate to the task. Not being a mother hen, I will just have to do my best with an incubator and good intentions.
When I told my youngest students that we would be incubating eggs, one boy looked worried.
“Is there one for each of us?” he asked. “No,” I said. “Only six.”
“Do we have to take turns sitting on them?” he asked.