Monday, February 13, 2012
Alice is a Free Woman!
Alice did a magnificent job incubating her two infertile eggs. She one took 1-2 short breaks a day (10 minutes or less each) for 35 days straight. Since their normal incubation period is 32-34 days, I was going to take her eggs away a few days ago. But Saturday morning she took a break at 2:30 AM instead of 6:30, so I totally missed that opportunity. And that night she took a break while Hein and I were immersed in conversation when I got home from work, so I missed again. But Sunday morning I was ready for her.
I was totally asleep, but thankfully my subconscious woke me up when she hopped out of her nest. I threw on a fleece jacket over my pajamas and walked down the hall to hoot with her. She REALLY likes attention when off her nest since the rest of her day is pretty long, boring, and lonely. After hooting for a few minutes I quickly stepped into her room, snitched the eggs and quickly put one in each jacket pocket.
I got out of the room as quickly as I could, but Alice was already on her way in to get back onto her nest. I stood with my nose at the rim of her nest as she settled back down onto her non-existent eggs. Weird that she doesn't notice they're gone when I first take them away.
Normally after about an hour she figures out the eggs are missing and she starts hooting. This time she didn't. She just sat there all day.
While she sat on her nest we measured the eggs. The big one weighed 59.3g and was about 5.6 x 5.0 cm. The small one weighed 37.0g and was about 5.0 x 4.2 cm. Quite a big size difference!
The next step was to blow the eggs. Hein is my egg blowing specialist, so I fished out the official egg poking pin and he made holes in each end of the egg. Then he pushed the pin all the way in and scrambled the innards. He put his lips to a hole on one end of the egg and out squirted the yolk/white mixture into a bowl. The big egg went really quickly, but the little egg was a bit of a pain and took some fiddling around to get it empty. Then they were washed inside and outside with soapy water. Once dry they will be put on display at the Houston Nature Center.
Alice's eggs are pretty good sized, but more rounded than a chicken egg. This year's big egg was just a little smaller than a really big chicken egg.
So now Alice is a free woman. When we came home that night she was off her nest. Since then she's spent most of her time in the living room and kitchen with us, obviously wanting attention. This morning she got into her nest when Hein came into her room, but shortly thereafter she came downstairs to join us in the kitchen.
I know many people don't think it's appropriate for Alice to be in the house. But she's safer from West Nile Virus this way, and the only reason I do it is because it's what SHE wants...not what we want. I could make her live in a pen outside by herself, but she does begging calls for more attention when I've done that in the past. I'm simply trying to give her a life that she's happy with, as best I can, and trying to learn as much as possible from her in the process.