If you have ever felt the urge to get nothing done in your life, I suggest you hatch chicks under a broody hen. It has been 23 days since I set Josephine and Georgia on clutches of eggs and the last few days have been busy. And I haven’t gotten a lot done… well, I guess if you count judging 4-H speeches, going to a job interview and taking the dogs on a ski with mismatching skis nothing, then yeah. But the remainder of my time has been spent in the coop. On the floor. Staring at Josephine.
Thursday night around 9 pm I heard a faint chirping noise coming from Josephine’s nest. WHAT!? I was so excited, I promptly sat myself down and listened intently for about an hour. Friday would mark 21 days of gestation which is the average amount of time for a chick to hatch. I knew (Googled) that chicks can start peeping from within the shell before they attempt to break on through to the other side, so it was really happening.
I spent pretty much all day Friday in the coop, although didn’t get to see anything. I still heard chirping and knew we had at least one little chick on it’s way.
Saturday brought a busy day, but I rushed home to check on the situation. I sat on the floor and hunkered down for a few hours of staring at Josephine. Don’t worry, I had company.
Then, I finally saw our very first baby on the farm. It peered out from below Mama hen, took one look at it’s audience and scurried right back to whence it came.
I feared it was dead, but it started to chirp at me
Well, three days later I’m proud to report Josephine hatched two more little ones. To my surprise, Georgia got off of her nest this morning, and as I walked by, I noticed a wee one who had literally just come out of the shell. A light colored one to boot! (I have an inordinate amount of black chickens) Georgia seem uninterested in returning to her nest, even though I tried to set her back on it a few times. I was aware that with it only being 40 degrees in the coop, it was a critical time to keep the chick warm. Then, Pearl decided she wanted to lay her egg in that nest and started pecking at the baby. Well, Katy to the rescue. I scooped up the little one and sacrificed my hand to place it under Josephine hoping she wouldn’t be too upset and reject it. She was upset, but just with me. She tucked the little one under her wing, gave me the goose eye and proceeded on with her day. Good Mama.
So all in total we have four hatched, one that died on it’s way out of the shell, and one that is still “cooking”. I originally set fourteen eggs so although not the greatest success rate, I’m pretty impressed with my two broody gals. Over the past three weeks we’ve had temps down to -20 so they did their job well.
I candled the remaining eggs and found all of my orpington (brown) eggs didn’t even seem to be fertilized. I guess we know who Beatrix prefers… those beautiful Olive Egger ladies. Which I’m stoked for because I just love my green eggs.
I’m still hoping for that last egg to hatch, but am over the moon about four new additions.
We may still have snow and ice, but it’s sure starting to feel like springtime around here.