Better Luck Nest Time! – Week 6 Update

Like last, this week was not eggstra special in any big way. We had egg dissections to do most days and did some more runs from frozen samples at 4 and 6 days old – nothing new here. The egg dissections were of an older stage (11 days) so we had to figure out exactly how we wanted to extract and dissect those embryos but this was a pretty simple decision and we already have five or six samples in the freezer! We probably won’t use these samples until the fall but its always nice to have stuff frozen and ready to use, and to take advantage of this period of steady control egg production while we can.

The RNA extractions we ran for the 4 and 6 day embryos went well. Nothing weird or surprising, which is always a relief. I am now confident in our ability to do an RNA extraction cleanly and run out a successful Formaldehyde gel. This confidence comes just in time as many of these extractions we are doing could potentially be the final RNA we send to get sequenced in a few weeks.

While most of this week was pretty straightforward, my lab partner and I did have one fun adventure. We were tasked with picking up hay (NOT straw) for the birds. The birds use this hay to make their nests (where they should be laying their eggs), so we are hoping that fresh hay could help to stimulate egg production in the Mercury birds. We were given instructions and directions and we headed out to Jamestown Feed and Seed to collect the goods.

We drove over, browsed the cute little farm store and gardens outside, and eventually made our way to the register to buy some hay. This unfortunately is where we ran into a problem – for some reason our names were not on the list of approved students to purchase from the store so we were turned away. We returned to school empty handed and feeling defeated.

A few emails and phone calls later, we returned to the store and lo and behold we were treated like royalty. The purchase was seamless and we drove around to the back of the shop to load the aromatic timothy orchard hay into the back of my car. This time, we returned to school in a car full of hay (complete with the smell of a farm and desperate need of a vacuum), and slightly muddy, but overall we finally felt victorious.

Hay! Ho! Let's Go!

Hay! Ho! Let’s Go!

Running errands for the lab was good. It was nice for us to be able to help out the other people in our lab who also use the birds, and it was a fun bonding experience for my lab partner and I 🙂 Hopefully the birds also enjoy their fresh new hay, and our fingers are crossed that it will spark some egg production on the Mercury side!