Friday 1 June 2012

Mixed Blessings

We are so happy that the rains finally arrived.

The land was running out of water reserve quickly.
Unfortunately, around here, with rain, comes power failures.

We can easily handle the power being off;
But when a hatch is on and there are young birds,
it's a complete clustercuss.

The ducks were right in the middle of their hatch when the electricity cut out.
The baby chicks are only a day or so old.
We don't own a generator yet, so the situation gets challenging very quickly.

I have two inverters that let me run some loads from a car battery.
There is a 75 watt and a 400 watt unit.
They work for a bit, but it doesn't take long to run a battery down trying to run heating appliances.

Once it was apparent that the power failure was going to last a while,
we needed to act quickly.

The woodstove was already running because of the cool weather, but we kicked up the heat to accommodate the chicks and ducks.
Everyone needed to move upstairs to in front of the fire.
The real trick is to keep the unhatched duck eggs at the right temperature and humidity.
It is an imprecise science when you have to work with what's on hand.

The chicks and hatched ducks went into a plastic tub.
They huddle the sides quite a bit, but it's warm enough that they shouldn't smother each other.
I have a red fluorescent light bulb to help them keep calm.
The inverter rig will run an eleven watt load for a long time.

Making an incubator on the fly is a risky bet.
A small storage container with a hot water bottle covered in damp shavings with some paper towel over top.
It's too hot on one side and too cold on the other so we turn it periodically.
I don't know if it's going to work or not.
Hopefully, they hatch soon.

We are at the end of a long run of power lines.
Losing power is fairly normal.
But now the stakes are higher, and it's time to consider a better back-up plan than we have now.

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