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That’s a pretty dramatic statement isn’t it? Let me put it this way, sometimes we have really good success in this homesteading life and sometimes we have losses and the losses end up being the life of an animal we’re raising here on the homestead.

The successes are often what we see highlighted in blog posts, Instagram & Facebook feeds, and vlogs. There are certainly those who catalog their failures and we’re no different. It’s in those failures that we learn, but also afford us the opportunity to teach our children and our friends who want to also learn. It’s through other peoples failures that we often find our successes. There are some great quotes about failure:

It’s good to learn from your mistakes. It’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes. – Warren Buffet

Some of us learn from other people’s mistakes and the rest of us have to be other people. – Zig Ziglar

Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm – Winston Churchill.

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail.– Confucius

I’m okay with sharing our failures. Not because it’s fun to fail, but because of what Winston Churchill said, “…stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm”.

When we lose an animal, it sucks. There’s no good way to express that other than feeling defeated. Mother Nature plays by her own rules and you can read 1000 books and still contend with the laws of nature. You can buy every piece of hardware cloth in your county and some predator (maybe even your dog!!) gets to your animals. We do what we can with the tools and knowledge we have.

Our Recent Failure

That leads me a recent failure, but not really on our part – it was an equipment failure. When we started raising turkeys we knew we wanted to have a breed pair or two so that we didn’t have to keep buying poults from the hatcher, feed stores, or local sellers. We started off with about 8 turkeys; which about half of them ended up in the freezer for the family, and one; of course, for Thanksgiving. That left us with 3 hens and one tom. At the writing of this article, each of the hens is laying about one egg a day. We’ve been collecting them with the hopes one of the hens would go broody and actually hatch them out. No such luck.

We decided to divide and conquer. We’d collect enough to go in our incubator and while those are cooking, we’d collect another batch and should our chickens go broody, they can hatch them out for us and also raise them.

Side note: having broody hens sit on, hatch, and raise your chicks is the best thing ever! Why do all the hard work and stress about perfect temperatures and humidity levels when these hens will do it all for you? Let Mother Nature do what it’s intended to do, I say.

So far, our broody hens (3) are sitting on those eggs, plus some of their own eggs too. But, that brings us to our equipment failure. In our last batch of hatching chicks, including over 100 quail, we had little to no issues at all. Such was not the case with these turkeys.

We had some trial and error this round and only hatched 2 (out of 16 turkey eggs) set in the incubator earlier in the month. The incubator wouldn’t hold the proper high humidity. We kept losing babies right after internally pipping. We ended up finding out that the incubator was leaking. We lost all but two of these incubator babies. My wife also had to help them hatch because of the humidity dropping, they had externally pipped but were getting shrink-wrapped buy the internal membrane. If she hadn’t have helped, we would have lost them too.

We’re thankful for our current broody hens. It makes hatching way easier as I mentioned. And thankfully, we have about 7 turkey eggs under one of our hens. The other two hens have a couple dozen chick eggs under them too. We’ve noticed that we get much better hatch rates with our broody hens than with machines; go figure.

To remedy this, we went out and purchased a new incubator that has great reviews; Harris Farms Nurture Right Incubator.

We’ll post our own review once we’ve used it for a few hatchings. What’s your incubator story? Share it in the comments here or on our Facebook page.

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