Easter is a time of renewal and of life. Spring has arrived with daffodils and other spring flowers, the lawns and pastures are slowly turning greener, the leaves are budding on the trees, and in my incubator lay 21 eggs ready to hatch. There was 22 but one just never developed and I took it out to make more room for those progressing.
Olof, our Swedish Flower Hen Rooster
The whole process of hatching eggs is inspiring. The development of the chick can be followed in part by candling, a process where you shine a bright light through the shell which allows you to see the shadow of what is happening on the inside. Through candling I can determine if the egg has been turned properly and if the humidity in the incubator is correct. If it’s too high or low, it affects the air sac which is separated by a membrane from the chick. The chick breaks through this membrane at the end of its development, and if the humidity has been correct, the chick will take its first breath — still inside the egg! You can even hear it peep from inside! If the humidity hasn’t been right, the sac will either be too small to fill its purpose or filled with water, drowning the chick.
The unborn chick actually has a special egg tooth, a sharp attachment on top of it’s little beak that dries up and falls off after it’s born. It uses the tooth to make a hole in the egg, so it now has fresh air. But it can still take up to 24 more hours for it to hatch completely. The chick uses its tooth, and while turning, scores the inside of the shell to weaken it. Then it has to kick its way out, and if the chick did the scoring right, and is strong enough, it will break free.
You can see the egg tooth on the tip of this chick’s beak
It’s a complete miracle. I believe in miracles, how can I not when I see them happening around me all the time? I interpret a miracle to be when God fills in the gap between what we can do ourselves and what we need. It also seems to me that miracles most often happen after much and often hard work and, we have to want it and ask for it. For people, faith is needed before you receive your miracle, but by witnessing a miracle, faith also gets strengthened and grows. Ronald A Rasband in his talk about miracles* said that “Miracles are a lifeline from heaven to earth…The Lord performs miracles to remind us of His power, His love for us, His reach from heaven to our mortal experience and His desire to teach of that which is of most worth.” Miracles do happen. They are not always huge and often we call them a coincidence. They don’t always happen on our time schedule, or when we want them to, but I am thankful when I notice them and know that God’s hand is in all things, both big and small.
My eggs are now in “lock down” mode and the egg rotator is off. For their last 3 days in the incubator, the chicks need to position themselves correctly inside the egg to be able to break out of their shell. I can not help by cracking it for them, or removing pieces. I can’t even take the hatched chicks out as it would change the temperature and humidity inside the incubator and put the ones still to hatch at risk. Personally, I always think doing nothing is the hardest thing to do. Raising children, chicks or anything else, the principle is the same; I have learned to sit on my hands and let them do the work that’s needed themselves. As with butterflies that only gain the strength to fly by their work to break out of their cocoon, if we don’t give them the chance to work, they might never be able to fly. My job is to provide the right environment for growth, and I hope I have done all the right things to give these unhatched chicks a chance.
In 3 days I will watch the miracle of birth. It only takes 21 days for a chick to hatch. I can’t make this happen, no matter how good my incubator is, or how much I read and learn about the process, or how much I want it. This is up to the chick and God. I’m so grateful for every day miracles.
*Talk given by Ronald A. Rasband during the Sunday afternoon 2021 General Conference of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Sunday Afternoon Session (churchofjesuschrist.org)