We tried twice to hatch fertilized eggs in an incubator, and both times were really quite traumatic. The first time, only one egg hatched, but it took so long that we ended up 'helping' the chick out of the shell. I knew we weren't supposed to, but after watching it struggle for 24 hours I just couldn't take it anymore. It came out and it's legs were unable to support it's weight. Gav had to euthanase it, as it wouldn't have survived. The second time, a gorgeous little black chick hatched (again only one - see the pattern?), and we left it to work it's way out all by itself. It did and we celebrated...a little too early. This chick had a bit of shell 'stuck to it's bum, and when I tried to remove it, I realised it was actually fused onto it's skin....needless to say, this one didn't survive either. So we tried to play God, hatch chicks in an unnatural environment, and failed tragically both times. But Pancake, well she did it all by herself, and sooooo much better than we could have!
We humans do this all the time - play God with genetic engineering and high intensity farming. And although I won't discount the benefits of some scientific farming methods, I also know in my heart that natural is best. That's why we practice permaculture in our gardening to the best of our ability and really step back as much as possible - treating mother nature with the respect she deserves.
Both boys are overjoyed with the new babies - they are being very gentle and caring - and while Flex is the babies 'father' (he had purchased Pancake with money earned at the markets selling lemonade), he has crowned Lucky their 'godfather'!!!