Wednesday, July 31, 2013

We almost never travel...

..... between the animals we have at home to take care of, and M's medical and psychiatric issues, traveling has just been too complicated to pull off for a long time.

But our friends and neighbors do travel, so we are often asked to pet/farm sit. Since the beginning of this summer we've "sat" for quite a menagerie... horses, alpacas, chickens, dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish... and two duck eggs.

It was the first time we've been asked to "egg sit"...  Our neighbor bought over the incubator her dad had made, complete with a light for warmth, a tiny thermometer to keep track of the heat, and dowels protruding from each side of the incubator to allow her to turn the eggs (which sat on top of the dowels.. yes, it looked a little precarious at first). Our job was to keep the temperature as close to 100 as possible, opening and closing the lid to warm it up/cool it off and to turn the dowels every couple of hours during the day.

Here's the set up...


Our neighbor said it was easy, and it was, but I worried about the eggs a little (keeping the temperature steady was almost impossible!) especially since she'd already named her "babies"... Larry and Lloyd.

She showed us how she could candle them to see inside the shell, using a small, high intensity flashlight in a dark room... Larry, unfortunately, looked like nothing more than a dark blog... but we could see Lloyd moving around inside his egg, and could even make out his tiny feet moving.

After they returned from their trip, she and R candled them again and Larry still looked like a dark blob so they opened the egg and saw that he'd stopped developing very early on... R was amazed at how much the tiny duck embryo looked like the pictures she's seen of early human embryos. Larry ended up buried with a lovely, if impromptu, service. Lloyd, on the other hand, had grown and R was so excited that she could actually see his umbilical cord through the shell while they candled the egg. R can't wait until he hatches, she's his honorary aunt.

I'm glad we're asked to pet/farm sit so much... we get to experience the fun of all these different animals... and learn about them...without having to keep them forever. Seems like a win/win to me. :)

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