I was really hoping my eggs would hatch because I need a good dose of joy. I know from previous incubations that hatchlings come into the world determined to survive. They never question their reasons for being here, they just want to live. I know people like that too, and I envy them. Nearly every day I argue with myself about the futility of my existence. I’ll never understand why this happens, and I stopped trying to figure it out a long time ago. Instead, I try to figure out how to make myself feel useful. Taking care of animals usually works.
When my thoughts get dark, and I stop caring, or “accidently” turn off my feeding tube, one of my animals can bring me back to reality by reminding me they’re hungry or need attention. It’s magical how their needs can knock some sense back into me.
Incubating a clutch of eggs can keep me sensible for weeks, if they hatch…
Yesterday was day 16 of the incubation, which meant they could have started hatching, but nothing happened. This morning I woke up with a very heavy heart, but then I remembered reading recently about the “float test.” Button quail eggs are too small to candle, but you can find out what’s going on inside by “floating” them. It’s mildly traumatic for the little guys, if any of them are about to hatch, but I thought I’d give it a try.
I filled a plastic container with warm water, 100 degrees F, the same as the incubator, and very carefully placed one of the eggs in.
If it sinks, it’s been infertile from the beginning.
If the big end sticks up above the water with the narrow end pointing straight down, the egg is probably a “yolker,” meaning it was a dud from the beginning or died young.
If the egg floats at more of an angle, almost horizontally, the chick might be alive inside. Oh boy, oh boy! If this happens the eggs can stay in the incubator for another day or two.
The first egg I put in floated horizontally at an angle! Yippee! I randomly chose fifteen more and did the test. Two sank, three floated, big end up, but the rest floated horizontally at a little slant.
So, for one more day my hope floats…