Using an incubator
I searched your site for an in-depth article on using an incubator. The article in the previous issue about improving by adding a fan really helped but it did not have any troubleshooting information. I added a small laptop fan and my hatch of 30 eggs increased a lot, I got 20 out of 30, but I did have some problems. The turkey eggs started hatching a few days early (temp?) and then on the actual hatch day a lot more hatched. Most are fine, but a few have a leg issue. I don’t think it’s splay leg, they are on their sides with both legs out to the same side. A few of them overcame this within a day or two but I still have 4 that I am working with. The last few eggs pipped, but are slow to hatch, and now I believe they have died. I know I need a better thermometer with humidity reading on it, but an in-depth article for this would be great. The internet has such varied information I get confused on what is best.
Check out Gail Damerow’s book, Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens. It has very good information on hatching chicks in an incubator. We have two thermometers in our little incubator. One thing we found out that helped our hatch is to locate your incubator in an area in your house with constant heat. You don’t want it sitting where the temperature fluctuates up and down as the incubator doesn’t always “catch up” and the warmth inside also fluctuates which damages the hatchlings. Don’t give up on those poults with leg problems; David was given a chick with a rigid leg when he was a boy in Montana. He did range of motion exercises every day on that chick and it gained full use of the leg. You can see him with that chick on his head in the BHM handbook on chickens. It was a great pet!
I’ll see what I can come up with for an article on hatching eggs. Keep an eye out. — Jackie
Given you are having good performance from your roofing, who is the manufacturer and what are the specifications for the metal roof ? I am very much enjoying your writings that are such a straight forward relief from the masses available.
Walton County, Georgia
Thank you, John. Our metal roofing on our barn and storage building is Pro-Panel from Lowes. It comes cut to your specific needs and length, right to the inch which was handy for our new barn with several lengths needed, even the short “Dutch eaves” that not only look cute but make the snow fall off of the roof further from the barn walls. Pro-Panel comes in three-foot widths and is quite lightweight and easy to work with. I’ve had some on our goat barn now for eight years and it is wearing very well. — Jackie
Using canned rhubarb and growing asparagus
I canned up all of our extra rhubarb using the directions in your Growing and Canning book. How do I use the rhubarb in recipes since it’s in its own syrup now? Do I treat it like it’s just from the garden in recipes or do I need to account for the sweet syrup factor?
Question 2 is regarding our asparagus patch in its second year. I know you mentioned previously that you can cut the tall stalks below ground to encourage more shoots, but once I’ve harvested all I’ll get this spring, should I cut the tall fronds or just leave them alone through the summer?
I generally drain about half of the juice off of the rhubarb and that seems to work out about right for most recipes. (You can make a tasty drink from the rest by adding sparkling or regular water.)
Leave the asparagus ferns in place once you have harvested all you will. The fronds feed the roots during the summer and make stronger and more productive roots. They also trap snow in the winter, ensuring that the asparagus roots receive plenty of moisture, making more shoots, come spring. In the spring, mow the dead stalks down and wait for new shoots to emerge. In the fall, I apply about three inches of rotted manure all over the asparagus bed to provide both mulch and fertilizer for the plants. Don’t do that in the spring though — when the shoots push up through fresh compost you could possibly get E. coli on your shoots. — Jackie