Frequently Asked Questions

I frequently receive a comment or email asking a question related to egg incubation, animals, nature or farming. I thought that it would be useful to have a central place for all the questions and answers that have already been asked and the response or answer I have given, that may be useful to other readers.

Canada Geese Egg Incubation

A pair of Canadian Geese abandoned a nest with four eggs. Although the pair were on the nest often, I don’t think they were finished laying their eggs. When the gardener came and cut the lawn the pair left and didn’t come back. I put the eggs in my incubator at the appropriate temperature. with a small cup of water. I am turning them once a day.
Will they hatch? Then what?

Hi Kit,

It sounds like you have done the right thing. Waiting 35 days (which is the incubation period for canadian geese)or so will show if the eggs are going to hatch. You can also candle the eggs to see if they are fertile.
When To Candle – Candling can be done at any time, although day 8 onwards is usually when the embryo is more easily identified.

Day 3 of incubation (usually pale shelled eggs).
Day 5/6 of incubation (usually dark shelled eggs).
Between day 8 – 12 of incubation (embryo more easily identified).
3 days prior to hatching.

In preparation for hatching I would find out as much as you can about keeping Canada geese if you are intending to keep them or maybe you could contact a local farmer who may take the geese, or even a local nature reserve or animal santuary who might take the birds or know what to do with them.

I hope this information helps. If you have anymore questions then don’t hesitate to ask.
Good luck and let me know how you get on.
Best wishes
Sara @ farmingfriends

Sara- We live in rural Clackamas County on the river and have been watching from a distance a pair of Canadian geese and their nest. It’s been almost four weeks and this morning, I noticed that neither was on the nest and I could see the eggs. They were both up closer to my house and in a dry area on the river bed. This evening, I can’t see either one of them but can see the eggs in the nest. What’s up? Is there such a thing as “dud” eggs? Not sure what to do, if anything.

Hi Margaret,
The eggs normally incubate for 35 days and it doesn’t sound like they have been sitting for 35 days yet.
If the geese don’t return to the eggs the first thing you could do is try to candle the eggs to see if they are fertile and have chick growth inside.
Candling is a way of checking the fertility of an egg and the development of the embryo, with the use of a light source in a darkened room. In a darkened room, carefully hold the egg up to the light to observe the contents of the egg.
Click on this link for more candling information

You could try candling the eggs at night, whilst they are still in the nest so that if the geese do come back you have not taken the eggs away.
The second thing you could do is remove the eggs and incubate them. If you are sure that the geese are not likely to return then I would be inclined to put the eggs in an incubator. If you have candled the eggs and they have growth in them then I would be inclined to incubate them. If you don’t have an incubator then a broody hen may sit on the eggs.
Failing that then I would contact your local bird santuary or society for the protection of birds and ask their advice. They may even be your first option and see what advice they give.
I hope this advice is helpful.
Good luck and let me know what you decide and how the eggs get on.
Sara @ farmingfriends

Duck Egg Incubation

Will Campbell Ducks Sit And Hatch Their Eggs?

Hi Sara,
I have 2 white campbell ducks m+f, the female is sitting on 10 eggs, what are the chances of her seeing the eggs through to hatching? i am asking this as I was told Campbells do not hatch their eggs very often,as they were developed as egg layers. Is this true?
Many thanks Terry

Hi Terry,

I am afraid that I don’t have experience of ducks incubating eggs myself but I have been reading Starting With Ducks by Katie Thear who says,”Domestic ducks are not generally regarded as good mothers, although my experience, they are better from their second year. Even some of my khaki Campbells acquitted themselves well, but refused to consider making nests anywhere other than under the hedge in the field.” She goes on to say that “A broody duck will sit tight on her nest, hissing at anyone who tries to dieturb her. She is less likely to be put off if she is reasonably tame.”
I think that I would make sure that your duck is protected from predators and that she is not disturbed by anything if that is possible, so that she is not inclined to leave her nest un-necessarily. I would also try to get an incubator organised (if you have one or know someone who does) and on standby because if she does leave the nest for more than the usual stretch of the legs and drink/feed then you have an alternative way of hatching the eggs. You could also see if anyone you know has a broody hen and then if your duck decides to leave the eggs you could put them under a broody hen as they generally have good success rates at hatching eggs.
I hope this information is helpful.

Kind regards

Sara from farmingfriends

If anyone has experience of Campbell ducks hatching eggs or leaving the nest then please leave a comment.

Hatching Muscovy Duck Eggs

I have a mucovy who has been laying for 5 almost 6 weeks I have candled the eggs and 6 of them are dark with an air sack but I don’t see vessles like some pictures I’ve seen.How long do I let her go If I’m not exactly sure when she layed them? If they are not good will she leave them or do I take them. Thank You, Brandyn

Hi Brandyn,

Muscovy duck eggs usually hatch around 35-37 days but they could be a week late. The duck will start to lay a clutch of eggs, usually 10-15 and the egg laid on the first day will hatch at roughly the same time as the other eggs as the incubation doesn’t begin until the last egg is laid before the duck settles down on the eggs.

You say that it has been 5-6 weeks, if the duck is still sitting on the eggs then this is a good sign as it is my belief that ducks and hens do not leave the eggs unless they are certain that the eggs are not fertile or they are frightened away by predators. In the latter stages of egg hatching, I believe that the duck can feel the ducklings moving around and this keeps them sitting on the eggs, although the duck may get up for food and drink once or twice a day. if your duck is still sitting then I would wait to see what happens.

If the duck has left the eggs then I would be inclined to recandle them and feel for movement and then take them and place them in an incubator that I had had running for 24 hours before taking the eggs. At this stage you can only wait to see what happens.

I hope this information helps. Let me know how you get on.

Kind regards
Sara @ farmingfriends

Incubating Call Duck Eggs

hi,my call duck has been sitting on her eggs for nearly 3 weeks,when candled 2 days ago there were movement in them all,this morning i found one out the nest which was very cool to the touch,i didnt no what to do as this is a first time for me,as she has always been a pet,so i just placed it back in the nest with the others,on looking this evening,it was warm again but there all very dark inside now so didnr no if it was moving or not,what do you think?,alive or dead,also with them all being so dark when candled still with movement and large air sack,how long do you think it will be till hatch,thankyou,kind regards,Sandy.

Hi Sandy,

Thanks for leaving this comment. I think you did the right thing putting the egg back in the nest, it may have just rolled out as she was turning her eggs.
Call duck eggs take about 26-27 days to hatch, but I have read on the Call Duck Association site that they can be difficult to hatch, although it also says that call ducks can make good sitters.
If your call duck continues to sit then just keeping waiting for the hatch which could be anything up to a week late. If she decides not to sit anymore then I would get the eggs in an incubator.
I wish you luck with your call duck eggs. let me know how you get on.
Kind regards
Sara @ farmingfriends

 Hiya Sara,just to say daisy now has 4 sweet little ducklings,2 did’nt make it,but the 4 doing well,the thing is i had to take them out are duck house away from her as they were getting out and we have a big problem with crows coming in the garden,so i done it for there safety,i took daisy in the shed to the brooder to see them as i just feel worried that she thought she had lost them.during the day she never bothered to go in the main duck house to check em,and tonight i dont no if i have done the right thing,as i dont want them to really be away from her,and feel like mum has gone away and left them,but im scarred the crows are going to kill them,as they are getting out themselfs and its risky,also having 4 pet cats on the prowl,plus its so cold with heavy rain for next couple of days,please tell me iv done right!,feel so wrong,the brooder is a good size,they have plenty of food and water and the heat lamp is giving good warmth,in the main house with mum it was colder and i think mum and the others were eating there grub,please can you tell me if iv done ok,thankyou again,Sandy.


How To Identify A Duck And A Drake

how would u know a duck from a drake i got them 8 weeks ago they are starting to get there feathers and i am curious to know. Marcella

Hi Marcella,
My ducks are coming up to 5 weeks old, so I should soon know myself whether I have ducks or drakes or both.
Apparently you may be able to tell the difference by their tail feathers and it is the male that has curling tail feathers. Some breeds of duck the male are more brightly coloured. Also some breeds show a different colour in their bills from about 6 weeks between the male and female, where the females is usually darker.
I believe that drakes usually have larger bodies and heads and a softer quack, whereas the female has a louder more distinctive quack. The distinction by call can be made from 5 weeks onwards.
I hope you find this information useful. Let me know what breed you have and how many males and females.
Kind regards
Sara @ farmingfriends

Hatching Guinea Fowl

Guinea fowl eggs take approximately 28 days to hatch.

Hi, A dog recently found where our guinea fowl was sitting on her nest, scared her away and broke a few of the eggs. Three of the remaining eggs we put in our incubator and the rest we put under a neighbours broody chicken.

A week last sunday one of the eggs in the incubator hatched and we now have a small week old keet in the brooder, who appears to be thriving.

None of the other eggs however, have hatched. We’ve left them in the incubator and under the chicken. They have been their for 20 days now. Is it likely that we’re only going to get one lonely keet from these eggs or is there a chance that others may hatch in the next few days?

If we do only have the one keet, although we have 5 other guinea fowl, will they shun it and he/she will just be very lonely?

Thank you!

Hi Gill,

Thanks for your enquiry. I hope that your guinea fowl keet is doing well. The incubation period for a guinea fowl egg is 28 days but it could be up to a week later and is sometimes earlier depending on the conditions in the incubator.

If you only have the one keet the others may ignore it as I have noticed that my guinea fowl often hang around in their age related groups, that is until the males pair off with the females. It could also depend on the number of females and males in your group. Guinea fowl tend to pair off or go around in a small group so if you have more than one male then the dominant or subordinate male may adopt the new guinea fowl as his own when she is old enough, that is assuming the keet is a female. Male guinea fowl tend to have a ritual of chasing each other in front of the females to win their attention, so if it is a male it could pair off with one of the females in your group of 5!

You may consider getting some day old keets or hatching some more in your incubator if you think that the keet may be lonely, or you could chance it with the group as guinea fowl aregenerally social creatures and like to hang around in a group.

I hope that more of your eggs do hatch off and that your keet does well. Let me know how
you get on.

Best Wishes

Sara @ farmingfriends

if you have any experience of hatching guinea fowl eggs then I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment.

Identifying Male And Female Guinea Fowl

I am often asked how to identify male and female guinea fowl.

Once the guinea fowl are starting to call out it is easy to identify them although it is not so easy to distinguish them by looks.

Hi, can any one advise me on sexing my guinea fowl? I have been given 6 adults and find an egg each day in the run but cannot decide which are the girls!

Hi Bob,
Once the guinea fowl are adults and have a voice it is very easy to sex them.
There are a number of ways to tell if a guinea fowl is male or female.

Females make 1 and 2 syllable calls .V. Males only make 1 syllable call.

Females hang lower to the ground .V. Males have more upright posture.

Females have smaller wattles .V. Males have longer, larger cupped wattles.

Females have smaller helmets .V. Males have larger helmets.

Here is a link to a video clip of the female guinea fowl call.
Hope you find this helpful. Let me know how many of each gender you have.
Sara @ farmingfriends

If you would like any help identifying your guinea fowl then just leave a comment.

Disappearing Guinea Fowl

Guinea fowl sometimes disappear and do not return at night. This could be because:

the guinea fowl are new to the habitat and cannot find their way home.
the guinea fowl have been spooked or frightened.
the guinea fowl have been taken by a predator.
the guinea fowl hen is sitting on a nest.
One always hopes that the reason is because the guinea fowl hen is sitting on a nest somewhere.

Elize sent me a comment about her guinea fowl that have gone missing.

I raised two guineafowls. They bred twice but after the second time, (their hatchlings are a few weeks old already), they have both disappeared. Is it possible that they flew away or did something catch them? (Since they were tame and like pets). I don’t know a lot about their behaviour but I thought they would stay or at least come home every night because they were hand raised and very tame. Elize

Hi Elize,
Thanks for visiting my website and leaving this comment.
I am so sorry to hear that your guinea fowl have disappeared. If you have had your guinea fowl for a while and they are used to their surroundings and environment then it is not likely that they have flown off as guinea fowl do not like to fly unless they are underthreat from a predator or get spooked.
If the guinea fowl where new to the environment they they may have got lost and can’t find their way back. Over the past 4 years of observing guinea fowl I have found them to be creatures of habit that follow a routine. Although they can range far and wide if they are able to they do seem to have a pattern to their ranging and will return at the end of the day.
The only time that my guinea fowl haven’t returned is if the hen is sitting on a nest, if they have been frightened and have either flown up high or are hiding in the undergrowth or if they have been taken by a fox.
If i cannot find my missing guinea fowl on any nests and in the trees above then I start to check the hedgerows. On two occasions I have lost guinea hens to foxes and on both occasions I have found a pile of feathers that indicate that they have been taken.
As you say, your guinea fowl were hand raised and were tame so they are likely to come back if they haven’t been frightened by anything.
I hope that a predator hasn’t got you guinea fowl. if they do come back, do you lock your guinea fowl up at night? if you do not I would train them to go into a hut. Mine have all been trained to go in a hut at night and in the Spring and Summer when the threat of foxes is greater I get the guinea fowl in a little earlier than nightfall so that they are safe. if they roost in trees, they are more at risk to predators especially in the summer.
I do hope that your guinea fowl return safely. let us know if there is any good news and let me know how the hatchlings get on.
Kind regards
Sara @ farmingfriends

Have any of your guinea fowl disappeared and then returned? Let me know your story.

Incubator Problems For Hatching Eggs

Hatching eggs in an incubator is not always easy as there are many variables that can affect the hatch.

I recently had 38 duck eggs in my incubator but have only 7 ducklings and only one hatched out without any help. I am not alone in finding hatching eggs in an incubator difficult.

My incubator is an ecostat incubator. The thing is i have never hatch any eggs yet i have put about 50 eggs in it. This is the second time this has happened. The eggs are fertile yet they do not hatch. I have cracked the eggs open and there are chicks fully developed. I opened the eggs a 5 days after the 3 weeks in incubation as there was no sigh of them hatching.
I don’t know what is wrong but it is really annoying me.
Anyone know what might be the matter ?

Erin left a reply comment:

Why don’t you let the hen sit on the eggs? I’ve just had a batch of lil us today to our surprise!! Our hen has been broody for a while and very angry towards to rooster. We let nature take over and sure enough the hen knew what to do. Lovely waking up and hearing little cheeps! Erin

I think that Erin is right in that a broody hen is often more successful than the incubator at hatching eggs, as nature should be!

But some of us do use an incubator to hatch eggs and it is useful to try to find out the reason why hatching is not successful so that incubation conditions can be improved and a successful hatch achieved.

Hi Conor,

I am sorry that you are having problems with your incubator. I know exactly how you feel. I had 38 duck eggs in mine and now have only 7 ducklings. Infact if I had not intervened I would only have 1 duckling.

There are many reasons why the chicks do not hatch:
Improper storage of eggs whereby the eggs become too cold.
Eggs not turned correctly.
Temperature incorrect – too low or too high.
Humidity incorrect – too low throughout incubation.
Improper ventilation.
Infection or disease.
Poor diet or poorly conditioned breeding stock.

Click on this link for more information.

If you do have a broody hen or know someone who has and is willing to let their hen sit on your eggs then this is the best way to hatch eggs.

Hope this information is useful. Thanks for commenting. I hope you get the incubation sorted.

Sara @ farmingfriends

If you have any advice about using an incubator for hatching eggs then please leave a comment.

Peafowl and Peachicks

Problems With Peachicks Hatching

Hatching poultry, game bird and waterfowl eggs is not easy as Sylvia and I well know.

I have lost 3 peachicks so faor. They are pecking out but they seems so weak. They have never stood and they just die. They are fully developed but I much be doing something wrong. Could someone help me?

Hi Sylvia,
Thanks for visiting my site and leaving this comment. I am sorry to hear about your peachicks. it is terrible when you see the chicks have hatched and gone to all that effort of piiping the egg shell and then they don’t make it. You are certainly not alone in experiencing this as I have experienced this with guinea fowl and ducks.
I don’t have much experience myself with peachicks but I can say that there are a number of reasons why chicks hatch and then die if they have hatched in an incubator.
Temperature incorrect – check the correct temperature for different birds and at different stages of incubation.
Humidity incorrect – check the correct humidity for different birds and at different stages of incubation.
Improper ventilation – make sure incubator is positioned carefully.
Infection or disease – disease may come from the breeding stock so check that the breeding stock are healthy. Ensure that the incubator is thoroughly cleaned before each use.
Sylvia you do not say if the eggs are in an incubator, if they are it sounds like they are struggling to get out and then are too weak to survive. Click on this link for information about hatching peafowl eggs.
Are they hatching early, late or on time as this could affect why they are not surviving?
If you peachicks are hatching under a hen then ensure that the chicks have access to food and water, although chicks can survive over 24 hours without food and water as they still have their food sac from inside the egg, the sooner they get food and water the stronger they will get. If you do have access to the peachicks then you may want to try to get them to drink something by holding them to the water and food if they are too waek to stand themselves.
I hope this information is useful. Good luck with the rest of the hatch. Let me know how you get on.
Kind regards
Sara @ farmingfriends

If you have any experience of hatching peachicks and can offer Sylvia any advice, then please leave a comment.


Pigeon Eggs Found

hi, last night i found 2 pigeon eggs on my balcony, they had only been there for a couple of hours, there were no pigeons around so i brought them in and wraped them in a blanket and put them under a lamp to warm them back up, does anyone no if this was the right or wrong thing to do or of they are even still alive, and is there anything i can do to help them servive and hatch?
Any help is welcome

Hi Sam,

Thanks for leaving a comment.
I think that you did the right thing in keeping the eggs warm. If you cannot see the nest then taking the eggs was the right thing to do as it is unlikely that the pigeons would be able to get the eggs back to the nest. If you can see the nest and it is possible to place the eggs back in the nest then I would do this. If this is not possible then I would candle the eggs to see if they are fertile and have pigeon chicks inside.

Candling is a way of checking the fertility of an egg and the development of the embryo, with the use of a light source in a darkened room. In a darkened room, carefully hold the egg up to the light to observe the contents of the egg.Here is a link for more information about candling eggs.

If the eggs are fertile and have chicks inside then I would incubate the eggs or find someone who is able to do this, or keep the eggs under the lamp and regularly turn them.

I would probably contact my local animal santuary or RSPB to find out advice from them.

Hope this information helps.
Let me know how you get on. Good Luck.

Kind regards
sara @ farmingfriends

Incubating Rhea Eggs

Does anyone know if geese can incubate and hatch rhea eggs successfully as Rick would like to know?

Hello this is Rick from Wisconsin….I have three rheas fro a bout threeyears… this is first year they are laying egggs good… i have two greyfemales and one 4 year old Male breeding with them…eggs in incubator look fertile and are developing….for a week i found no eggs and now found five of them under one of my BigWhite embem goose hen in her nest..the rhea was lkaying them next to the gooseand goes in by the goose like they are friends…. do you think the goose willincubate those eggs or will the eggs get too Hot??? what do you think ..ever here of a goose hatching rhea or emu eggs??? just curious to leave them or
put them in incubator,,, or will male take them over..he seems like hes protecting the shelter but has made no real nest…he kinda tried making a nest last week by moving straw around but now hes just protecting the gooses nest…what is yoru thoughts??? any one thinks thay can help me feel better about her being on the eggs?? thank you

Hi Rick,

Thanks for visiting the farmingfriends website and getting in touch. I hope all is well with your rhea eggs and the goose and male rhea.

I have never heard of a goose incubating rhea eggs although I am sure it may occur. The temperature and humidity levels are different for goose and rhea eggs so this could be a cause for concern, particularly the humidity levels as the rhea eggs need a humidity of 35% until day 33 whilst goose eggs need a humidity of 55% until day 27. If the goose gets off the nest the male rhea may get on.
As you say that you have eggs in the incubator, I think if the eggs were mine I would leave the other eggs under the goose and see what happens. I know that the success rate for brrody hens hatching eggs is much better than eggs hatching in an incubator, so maybe it is the same for the goose.
I am sorry that I cannot be more helpful but I will post your question onto my website and if I get any advice I will let you know.
I would be interested to hear how the eggs get on.
Best of luck.
Kind regards
Sara @ farmingfriends

If anyone has had any experience of geese incubating and hatching rhea eggs then please leave a comment.

Hatching Chicks

How Long Can You Leave A Chick In The Incubator Once It Has Hatched?

All chicks can be left in the incubator for up to 24 hours before being moved to a brooder.

Hi 4 of my japanese quails have just hatched this morning how long do i leave them in the incubator for? Shane

Hi Shane,
Congratulations on the hatch of your quail. They are lovely little chicks and look abit like bumble bees!
You can leave the chicks in the incubator for 24 hours without food and water as they will still be feeding on the feed sac from the egg.
When they hatch out their down feathers are damp and it is good to let them completely dry out and fluff up.
It is also good to keep them in the incubator for up to 24 hours after hatching if you have other eggs in the incubator as not all eggs hatch at the same time.
I have left quail, guinea fowl and ducks in the incubator for 24 hours before transferring them to the brooder. I make sure that I have the brooder set up before I take them out and have the lamp on so that the temperature is coorect once they are removed fronm the incubator.
I hope this information helps.Let me know how your quail get on.
Kind regards
Sara @ farmingfriends

Rearing Partridges And Pheasant

Heat Lamps In Brooders

Rearing English partridge from day old all set to go. Heat lamp should it be a Red glowing infra red lamp or white?
These birds are just to be released to the open in a no shooting area.

Hi Roger,

It is my understanding that a red heat lamp calms down the birds. When I have raised guinea fowl in the past few years I have used a white lamp and this has always been fine. My father in law found a partridge chick one year in the yard so the chick went into the brooder with the guinea fowl chicks and was successfully raised into adulthood when the partridge was then released back into the wild.

When I put quail chicks in the brooder this year I put a red heat lamp as this was recommended in the books I read. As I said it was recommended as the quail are quite skittish and the red light is supposed to keep them calm.

Hope this helps.

Sara @ farmingfriends

Hi, how long does it take for English Partridge to hatch out under a broody bantom? I’ve got 10 eggs off of a friend who has a pair of English Partridge and im going to put them under 1 of my broody hens.
Many Thanks
Scott. Can you write back asap please. Thankyou

Hi Scott,

Thanks for visiting my website and leaving a comment.

Partridge eggs take 23-24 days to hatch out, but when I am incubating eggs I always leave
them for a few days longer, especially if the hen is still sitting. I believe that when a
hen lays a clutch of eggs the first egg laid will still hatch at around the same time as
the last egg laid as the incubation conditions do not begin until the hen begins to sit.

Good luck with your eggs and let me know how you get on. Partridges are great little
birds to watch.

Kind regards


I received a comment asking about rearing pheasant and partridge chicks and how long to leave the lamp on in the brooder.

I am thinking of trying to rear some pheasants and partridge this season for my small shoot.I have not done this befor so i just need to know how long i leave day old chicks under the lamp befor moving them out into a night shelter and then runs.befor putting them into the release pens.

Hi Daryll,

Thanks for your enquiry about rearing pheasants and partridges.

I don’t have much experience of rearing pheasants and partridges. Only that we found a young partridge chick and I raised it with the guinea fowl keets that I had in a brooder at the time.

It is recommended that the lamp for pheasants and partridges is a red lamp to keep the birds calm. My partridge was raised under a normal heat lamp though but then I only had 1 partridge and a dozen or so guinea fowl.

I keep my guinea fowl under a heat lamp for the first 6-8 weeks depending on the temperature outside.

For guinea fowl keets the temperature should be 95-100 degrees fahrenheit for the first two weeks and then decreased by 5 degrees fahrenheit each week after that. Watching the behaviour of the chicks will also help to determine if they need the lamp. Huddled under the lamp is usually a sign that it is too cold, all away from the lamp too hot. A good indication that the temperature is right is if the chicks are just even spread out under the lamp. I usually start to turn the lamp off during the day by week 4-6 depending on the weather outside.

I have read that game birds need to be kept in indoor pens until they are fully feathered and mature and then they can placed in outdoor pens.

I have also read that when the game birds don’t need the lamp for heat so much then a 40-60 watt lamp can be placed above the feeders and drinkers to signal for them to eat/drink at night.

Hope this information is useful.
Kind regards
Sara @ farmingfriends

Humidity Levels In Incubator

Raising The Humidity Level In the Incubator

Different bird’s eggs require different humidity levels in the incubator. Sometimes the humidity levels get too high and need to be decreased and sometimes the humdity levels get too low and need to be raised. Marcia and her son have turkey eggs in the incubator but need help to raise the humidity.

can you tell me how to raise humidity in incubator for turkey eggs. we have a homemade incubator that measures approx. 36″ tall, 36″ deep and about 24″ side. It has 3 tray levels.
My son is trying to hatch turkey eggs and is having trouble getting humidity about 68. Any tips will be appreciated

Hi Marcia,
I believe that low humidity is caused by high temperatures which dry out the water trays in the incubator and help the humidity in the atmosphere evaporate. If you wish to increase the humidity levels in the incubator then add more water to the water trays in the incubator. You could also try to increase the humidity levels in the room in which the incubator is. You may also need to regulate the temperature in the room in which the incubator is in so that the temperature in the incubator doesn’t get too high.

I hope this information is of use and that the turkey eggs hatch out ok. Good luck and let us know how you get on.

Kind regards
Sara @ farmingfriends

If anyone has any tips on raising the humidity levels in an incubator then I would like to hear them, so please leave a comment.


How To Tell If A Sow Or Gilt Is About To Farrow

There are a number of signs that help you identify if a pig is about to farrow.

can u tell me how would i know when my pigs are ready to give birth as i got two girls that are pregnant when i got them i have no idea how long they have got left to be mothers thanks for any advise from claire

Hi Claire,
Thanks for visiting the farmingfriends website and leaving your question. What a great question it is.
The gestation period of a sow or gilt is 3 months 3 weeks and 3 days or approximately (112-115 days.) but if you don’t know when the sows were served this information is of little use. Have you got in touch with the previous owners and asked them when the pigs were served?
There are a number of signs to look out for when a sow or gilt is about to farrow.

Restlessness. The sow or gilt will pace up and down or circle round and round.
Nesting. The sow or gilt will pull or the bedding material into one area and create a nest. They do this by carrying the bedding in their mouths and moving the straw with their feet. This usually occurs on the day of farrowing and it is an amazing sight to see as all the bedding that was previously covering the barn floor will now all be neatly in a nest shape – this happened when Cagney, my Saddleback sow, had her first litter. I went in to feed her and she was laid on her nest and not one piece of straw was anywhere else in the barn!
The size and shape of the stomach will increase before farrowing. I try to get into the habit of feeling the sow’s stomachs when I feed them so that I am aware of any changes in size and that the sows get used to me touching this area.
The size of the mammary glands will increase as they bag up with milk. I also try to touch the teats so that the sows get used to me doing this so that I can check for milk production before the onset of farrowing.
Milk production. Just before farrowing the sow or gilts milk will be released. You can check this by squeezing the teats and if milk droplets come out then farrowing is close.
The vulva becomes larger and reddens. The muscles around this area slacken before farrowing takes place. This is not always easy to see to the untrained eye but once your gilt and sow has farrowed once or twice it is easier to identify. it’s amazing how often a pig breeder spends looking at the animals bottom!
Laying down and stretching out the back legs will occur as farrowing begins. This is not always the case as some gilts and sows will stand to farrow. My saddleback sow Lacy did this when she was a gilt and had her first litter.
Heavy breathing. As farrowing begins the gilt or sow will start to blow and puff as she strains.

You need to separate the pigs before farrowing either into separate penned areas if they are outdoors or in different barns if indoors or in the same barn in farrowing crate which are sometimes used so that the sow doesn’t lay on the piglets as they are born.

About a week before farrowing the sows/gilts need to be wormed. (Noromectin can be injected.)

Before farrowing some owners will wash the teats and udders.

I hope this information is useful. Let me know how you get on. What breed are your pigs? Let me know if you have anymore questions.
Kind regards
Sara @ farmingfriends

Do you have any tips to tell if a pig is farrowing?

Garden Snails

we found a garden snail and brought it home to keep it safe, even though the shell is broken, none of its body is at sight and hes still alive and well. my daughter named it Gary. I was wondering if we find him a new empty shell will it move in or thats just not possible?
van & lilo

Hi Van & Lilo,
I am pleased to hear that your snail is alive and well despite it’s broken shell. What a great name for the snail. I believe that the snails body is attached to the shell so removal of the shell would damage the snail’s body and it would also dry out and die. Since the snail is attached to the shell, I don’t think that it will move into another shell. Thanks for such an interesting question. Hope this helps and hope Gary the snail is ok.
Sara @ farmingfriends

Hi I was just wondering if i could gather snails from my garden and eat them? And if so how would i go about ensuring they were cleaned out ?

Hi Craig, What an interesting question that I am sure many people have wondered.

I have done a bit of research and found that the Caferouge website states,

“There are many different types of edible snails in the world. The most common are:
Helix aspersa: also called the “small grey snail.”
Helix pomatia: also called “the Roman snail.” If you’re cooking snails it’s advisable to buy them from the supermarket or from another reputable snail retailer…..Garden snails can be eaten, but you have to be very careful that they have not been near harmful pesticides. It is also important to clean and prepare the snails correctly.”

I also found an interesting recipe which explains how to prepare, clean and cook the snails on the bbc website in a food and drink article for BBC Somerset.

“Mendip Wallfish Recipe
This version of the recipe is by Pat and Bob Reynolds

Collect snails, Helix Aspersa, the common brown garden snail.
Put into a container in which they can be kept moist and can breathe.
Feed them on bran or lettuce or cabbage leaves for 7 to 10 days. This cleanses them.
Put in a sieve and dunk them in boiling water for a few seconds to kill them.
Take the snails from the shells with a small fork, wash them off and then cook.
To cook about a 100 you need a pint of water, ¾ pint of cider, a large carrot and an onion cut into pieces.
Make sure the snails are covered in liquid.
Bring to the boil and simmer until tender for about an hour – it may take a little longer.
Rinse in hot water to clean off the bits of vegetables.

The snails need to be fed lettuce for 7-10 days
Meanwhile put the empty shells in a saucepan with salt and water and bring to the boil.
Boil for a few minutes then rinse in cold water.
Do this 3 times more to make sure the shells are clean.
Dry shells in the oven.

Now to the snails.
You will need a pound of butter for 100 snails.
If the butter is salty you will have no need to add any more salt to the recipe.
½ teaspoon of each of the following,
Chervil, Dill, Fennel Seed, Basil, Sage.
1 teaspoon Chives
3 teaspoons Parsley
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper.
You can use dried or fresh herbs for this.
Grind up all the herbs together and add them to the butter and mix in well.

Take a snail shell, put a little bit of the herb butter into it, then a snail and seal off the shell with more herb butter.
To serve, put the snails on a tray and put into a hot oven.
When the butter bubbles they are ready to eat.
Serve with cubes of bread to mop up the herb butter.”

This recipe sounds great. I don’t know if I am brave enough to eat garden snails but I would certainly purchase the commercial eating snails as I have tried snails in France and enjoyed them. Let me know if you have a go as well.

Hope this helps.

Sara @ farmingfriends


Choosing An Incubator

I would like to buy an incubator with my 40th birthday money. We have a smallholding that is very new, so we don’t want anything massive, something suitable for pure breed chicken eggs (maran, light sussex etc) and ducks. We inherited some geese who we were told have rarely hatched anything themselves so maybe goose eggs too? It would need to have some automatic features but I wondered what people in the know would recommend – there seem to be so many options,
Thanks Lisa

Hi Lisa,
Happy 40th Birthday.Thanks for visiting the farmingfriends website and leaving a comment.
I have the Hova Bator Model 1592 Incubator from GQF with the GQF Automatic Egg Turner which holds 42 eggs from quail to duck eggs.
I have had some good results with the incubator although sometimes the eggs have been fertile and have not hatched out. I am not sure why this is, as there are many factors that can affect this that are to do with the incubator, eggs themselves or indeed the breeding flock.
The egg turner is very useful as this means that the eggs are no longer reliant on you turning them.
This incubator and egg turner are run on electricity and can be placed neatly in a small corner of a room.
I hope this information is useful to you.
Kind regards
Sara @ farmingfriends

If you have a farming or animal related question that you can’t find the answer to, then leave a comment.