Care of Eggs & Identification of Chicks
by Brad Legg
How do we keep track of so many eggs and birds?
Well it is not that difficult, but a lot of things have to happen to make it work.
All of the peafowl pens on the farm are numbered. As the hens start laying in the spring eggs are collected once a day. Peahens normally lay in the late evening, some times past dark which is unlike most other poultry.
The first thing every morning we go into a pen, collect the eggs, write the number of the pen on the each egg with a pencil in four places. A pen is never left until this is finished. This assures that no egg will have the wrong number on it. Each pens eggs are collected in this manner.
Each day worth of eggs are kept in the basement of our home in a cool room around 60 degrees. If eggs are dirty, we try to clean them with a dry cloth instead of washing them so that no bacteria will penetrate the egg shell. The eggs are kept upright in egg flats, elevated on one end and rotate the other end up the next day. Eggs are stored for a week before they are set. We do this so eggs are only set once a week which in turns means that there is only one big hatch instead of several smaller hatches. The shelf life of an embryo starts to deteriorate from 7 to 10 days after laid.
Eggs are set under bantam hens for the first week, and then they are moved to the incubators. The eggs are candled at that time before being put in the incubator. For the rest of the incubation period the eggs are left in the incubators. Then three days before the eggs are to hatch, the eggs are again candled to see if any of the embryos have died. If any of the embryos have died those eggs are removed from the incubator. At this time the remaining eggs are put into hatching compartments in the incubator trays. Each compartment gets only one pen number of eggs put into it. At this point the eggs no longer need to be turned.
Within a couple of days the eggs start hatching. As the chicks are hatched, a numbered wing band is placed into each wing. Both bands have the same number on it. This is in case a band gets torn out of one wing there is always one band left. At this time the chicksí band number is recorded in a book, the pen number and color pattern of each chick recorded along with the band number. Each days hatch is recorded into the computer so that we have a second record of it.
A back up copy of the file on the computer is kept in another place for safety purposes.
As these chicks grow and mature to adults itís easy to know what pen a bird is out of by looking at the record books. Each year the band number of the adults in each breeding pen is also wrote down and kept on file for future reference. All of this has to be done in order to keep so many birds straight.
This information really helps years down the road when we look up older birds to see what pen a bird is hatched from.
We hope that this information is helpfully to you. If you have any questions please contact us.