Hatching Eggs without an Incubator

In the last article, I talked about how we were able to incubate our 25-day-old duck eggs after their mother was killed, using only a heat pad and some elbow grease.  In this article, I will lay out the process that happened to transition them to our non working incubator shell and hatch successfully.

We incubated them for 10 days, caring for them four times per day, swapping out wet rags to keep the humidity level up.

Despite all odds, I heard peeping one night when I was giving them the last wet rag at bedtime.  Hallelujah!  The next day, there were three pipped eggs.  I could hardly contain my excitement.  Hatching, though, posed a new problem – how could they hatch layered under the weight of the rags and blanket?

Here is where our non working incubator came in handy.  It could easily be replicated with a styrofoam cooler or even a standard plastic cooler.  You just need a way to keep heat and moisture in, but with the ability to vent excess moisture out.

Continue reading “Hatching Eggs without an Incubator”

Incubating Eggs without an Incubator

eggs incubated on a heat padA raccoon killed my favorite duck hen the other day, leaving her 20+ day old eggs without a mother.  When we discovered it the next morning, the eggs were cold.  There was little hope, but there’s a saying in the farm world, “It’s not dead until it’s warm and dead.”  More than once, we’ve warmed up a lifeless body (think rabbits in particular) to find a miraculous recovery.

The problem with the eggs is that we have a non working incubator, something to do with a puppy and wires.  How could we keep the eggs going without it?  I’ve always been told you can’t, which means I needed to set out to prove someone wrong!

What we did have was a heat pad with a stay on function and a stubborn refusal to accept defeat.  As I write this, several ducklings are hatched and drying off with several more pipped and on the way.  We incubated them 10 days.  Here’s how we incubated eggs without an incubator. Continue reading “Incubating Eggs without an Incubator”

Making Tree Hay for Winter Feed

What did livestock owners do for hay in ancient times?  This is a question I’ve pondered and yearned to know, because we strive to live life as non mechanized as possible.  When I heard about tree hay, I instantly knew it was what I’d been looking for.  Tree hay is one of the oldest hay production methods in recorded history.  Ancient pollards, or trees cut specifically for branchy growth as is used in tree hay making, have been found across Europe and it is even mentioned in ancient Roman times.

What is Tree Hay?

Continue reading “Making Tree Hay for Winter Feed”