Thursday, 26 March 2015

Hatching - A Symphony in the Key of Egg

Hatching - A Symphony in the Key of Egg. YouTube
Andrew Abyss, Goose Bay, Labrador, Canada


The emu egg hatch symphony has four movements:

Storage  Emu males repeatedly hide their mate's eggs in a nest until a hatch of 8-12 is collected. See more detail in this blog post


Incubation  When time is right the male goes broody
and sits on his eggs for about 50 days only getting up to move them several times a day. See more detail in this blog post


Hatching   The emu male will know when it is time for the hatch. The audible signals from the eggs will bring him out of of his trance.                                                                                                  

As in nature the farmer collects and stores enough eggs for a manageable batch. Emu chicks are very social and need the company of others to be healthy and grow. The momentum of the hatch then builds over the next 40 days. 

First quiet observation takes place as each egg is weighed regularly during incubation. Careful adjustments are made to slow or increase the rate of evaporation to ensure healthy embryo growth. 

Finally the chick is fully developed and will demonstrate its readiness to hatch. It will remain in the incubator until the final signals are given. Audible and visual signs are apparent in the form of tipping, tapping, piping and whistling characteristics. 
  • When a fertile egg is placed on a counter it will tip down to the pointed end where the chick is laying and tip up to the rounded end where the air sac is positioned.
  • Tapping the egg with a pen or long nail will get the chick to wiggle gently at first and more aggressively as it hears outside stimuli. 
  • When the chick runs out of room and is ready to hatch it will pip (break) through the inner membrane to the air sac. The egg will when placed on the counter sit in a level position (ie no tipping) and have a different tapping sound to it. The chick will make whistling sounds that exercise its lungs and signal to the outside world that it is time to break the shell. It is then moved to the hatcher for the final stage.

Finale (ta-ta-ta-TUM) to be continued....

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