Wednesday, July 23, 2014

chick hatching update...

Here's how it all shook down with the chicks!  Shipping really messed up the eggs we ordered.  Only two were viable and by chance they were the ones in the incubator.  Poor fluffy the hen brooded the bad eggs perfectly and only left the nest once a day to eat and drink.  Her dedication was quite inspiring since she's been at this brooding thing for going on two months strong.  I knew the eggs she was sitting on were not good when candled at 9 days, but let her keep them in hopes she would adopt chicks out of the incubator when/if they hatched.  I didn't know if she would still sit if I took her eggs away.

Like clockwork, the eggs in the incubator hatched out on day 21 (first day in incubator being day 0 as they warm up).  Which just happened to be the 21st, Luke and I's anniversary.  So we got video feeds sent to my phone throughout our meal on our date night and the boys got to stay up watching until 9:30p. :D  I was really glad we had a successful hatch because the air cells inside the eggs were jostled and kind of misshapen which is a liablity.  They are the cutest little fluff balls. :D  Adrian has been calling his little chick Buddy and I kind of think it's a boy already since it seems more.... boisterous.  We'll see.

chick is still drying off and fluffing up, so we are in the humid bathroom with the shower on in these pictures. :)

I've read that a hen may accept chicks if placed in the coop at night when they don't know what's going on.  I had a problem with that program though because our other hen is very dominant and actually took the hen that is broody under her wing when she was a little I had concerns that they would fight over the chicks or no one would want them and they would get cold of the two.  I simply wasn't okay tossing them in there while the hens slept hoping for the best.  So in light of what I thought was best, I introduced them all wrong the first time. I placed the chick right in front of the hen in broad daylight while she was still sitting on her eggs.  Dumb.  She lightly pecked at it. wasn't hers and she had eggs to deal with and protect.  I put the chick back in the brooder with the warming light and thought we would just wait to add them in when they were stronger and didn't need a brooding hen for warmth.  The other chick hatched later and was still in the humid incubator at this point.

dominant auntie hen Goldie

Well, Luke came home from work and was like "did you give that hen her chicks?" The question reminded me that the whole point of this hatch was to see if she could brood chicks.  So we tried again as it was getting dusky.  We brought the dark one out and added it from behind while offering her some food as a distraction.  I took the bad eggs out and we watched for a bit to see how both hens would respond.  She didn't really notice until the chick started peeping, then she sort of looked around like "that was fast" seeing the eggs were gone and there was a chick sitting there in her nest.  Then just like that, she pushed the chick under her like "get your sweater on or you'll catch cold darling" and started preening her feathers in a very satisfied proud sort of way like she was amazing and had hatched eggs in record time without breaking a sweat. :D ha  So we added the other one and hoped for the best overnight.

This morning, everyone is happy and the chicks are looking fluffier than ever despite the fact it's raining buckets and stormed all night.  The boys want to hold the chicks, but the hen lightly pecks at little hands reaching for them which is a good sign.  There must have been a deal made between the two hens this morning too, because fluffy is in the second best nesting box and out of the box she has not budged from for two months.  Goldie likes that box best too for laying eggs, so I'm assuming there was a negotiation session held this morning at dawn about Goldie getting the best box for dealing with cheeping chicks next door. ;)

We have vacation soon and I'm happy they have a dedicated mama so I don't have to play the part for them and clean up after them in the house.   And Fluffy finally gets to be a mommy after all the sitting and waiting. :)  All involved are pleased as punch.

Noah's design for a bigger coop :)

 First stages of clearing bushes and putting in the base frame for the expanded coop.  I'm reminded how much I dislike those meters...we'll see about someone blocking the view of those...I think the egg boxes will actually.
 Just because it's cute. ;)

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