Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hatching a Novel: Lockdown!

We have acheived lockdown.  Woo and hoo!  What's lockdown?  Lockdown means we are close to our hatch date.  On day 17 of our incubation, it's time to stop turning the chicken eggs.  They go into cartons with the fat end up (remember our air cell) and I fill all the water resevoirs to pump up the humidity.  Then I close the incubator and step away. 

That's the hard part.  Tinkering is easy for me, but stepping away can be hard.  It's sort of like editing--you knew I'd turn this around to writing, yes?  See, I'm a tinkerer by nature.  I can piddle and rearrange the words in a sentence and play with synonyms forever.  I'll rewrite a scene 150 times if left to my own devices.  Thank God for editors and deadlines that force me to hand it over--step away from the ms and no one gets hurt.

I've spent the last week smoothing and prettyfying Compromising Prudence one last time.  I handed it back over to the tender mercies of my awesome editor Celina (no, I'm not kissing up.  honest.)  and now it's time to sit and watch. The last look will be proof for errors.  That's it.

 Once eggs are in lockdown, I won't intervene unless babies have a serious issue.  You can kill them with your love.  Inside the egg, there is a membrane.  The baby pips the membrane into the air cell and then goes to work on the outter shell.  It's why you need the high humidity.  Too low and the membrane dries and literally shrink-wraps the poor chick.  Too much moisture and you can drown them in their shells. Opening the incubator jacks with the humidity.  It's a tricky dance, but all you can do is present them with the right atmosphere and watch. 

Now I have to distract myself with the shiny of my new WIP.  And it's lovely and shiny.  The characters have suprised me in the most delightful of ways.  But my novel and eggs are all in lockdown.


  1. no way!! holy cow that's fascinating..

    best of luck on your WIP while you wait!

  2. Ooh, one of my favorite childhood memories is incubating goose eggs. ;)

    Congrats on sending that manuscript into lockdown!

  3. Geese are my absolute favorites! I have a flock that follow me everywhere. Some people have dogs. Some like to play crazy cat lady. I love my birds.

  4. It's funny all the tinkering we have to do. Makes you wonder how nature does it on their own, eh? Post pis. I love baby chicks!

  5. Happy hatch day! Hope everything went well and that you now have a fine flock.

    I know nothing whatsoever about taking care of chickens or hatching eggs, so I'm just enjoying reading your posts on the topic. :)

  6. I'm a total tinkerer, and could play around with words forever.

    btw, I love learning all these facts about raising animals.