After 21 days of fussing, worrying, and maintaining the perfect temperature and humidity, we finally have baby chicks…or “baby cheeks,” if you’re a three-year-old bean. Yesterday was hatching day, and I was like a kid at Christmas. I haven’t been that excited about something for quite some time. It doesn’t take much to get me excited, but hatching baby chicks was almost as exciting as baby season with the goats. I spent my day running back and forth between the soap studio and my dining room.
Out of twelve eggs, five hatched successfully, and one is questionable. The first chick hatched at 4 a.m. I didn’t have anything set up for them, so I wrapped it in a towel and snuggled it under a blanket to keep it warm. When dawn broke, I gathered my heat lamp, a large plastic bin, wood shavings, chick starter, electrolytes, and small dishes for the food and water. I set up a makeshift chick nursery beside the incubator. Once I was sure my little chick was okay, I put it in the chick nursery, where it quickly got on its feet and began pecking at the feed. It amazes me that they hatch, rest for a bit and then act like chickens within hours.
The next little chick hatched around 6 a.m., and the others followed within an hour or so of each other. Two chicks had begun hatching but were very slow to come out. I helped one along by making its beak whole a bit bigger, making sure not to disturb the membrane. It was hatched this morning, but it’s not getting on its feet very quickly. The second little chick was able to crack the egg shell, but it died inside the egg. That was very disappointing. I feel a bit guilty that I didn’t help it along, but if they aren’t strong enough to hatch on their own, are they strong enough to live on their own? I’m unsure that I did a favor for the one I did help. It seems to be struggling.
We have five eggs that did not do anything. Disappointingly, none of my blue eggs hatched. However, to my surprise and joy, all the little chicks are different colors. One is traditional yellow, one black, one red, one grey, and one silvery yellow. The little one who is struggling is black and silver. They are beautiful little creatures and very feisty. I believe they have their father, Romeo’s personality. My greatest concern is they are all roosters. I told The Bibbed Wonder, “My luck, none of the eggs will hatch.” The Bibbed Wonder replied, “No, your luck, they will hatch, and all be roosters.” I appreciate his vote of confidence, sigh.
I have never experienced the hatching of baby chicks until now. It was a fascinating experience. I heard the chicks cheeping inside their eggs a few days before they hatched. At first, I thought I was hearing things. However, upon closer inspection, the eggs were moving ever so slightly, and the cheeping sound was coming from the eggs. I called The Bibbed Wonder in just to confirm what I thought I was hearing. He, too, was amazed.
Unfortunately, my bean spent the night with GramBarb, and she missed all the excitement. GramBarb brought us lunch, and The Bean got to see the chicks. However, she missed the hatching. I was a little disappointed she didn’t see it in person, but she told me she would be just as happy to watch the video her dad had taken. I feel like watching a video just isn’t the same.
To date, we now have ten baby ducks and six baby chicks. As if we need any other babies to raise. However, I am hopeful the baby ducks will be companions for poor lonely Mildred the duck. I am also optimistic that the chicks will replace my aging laying hens. Fingers crossed, they aren’t all roosters!
If you would like to experience the chicks’ hatching, be sure to check out our Barnyard Zen video on Sunday morning. It takes a bit, but it really is fascinating to watch. Send some good vibes to my struggling little chick if you think of it. I’m trying to remain optimistic, but it’s definitely weaker than the others. I cannot put it in the chick nursery with the others because I fear they will peck at it. Chickens are jerks. I can’t imagine a more excruciating death than being pecked to death by a chicken. For now, I’ll keep my little buddy apart from the others until it gets on its feet.
It’s always an adventure here at the farm. I can now add chicken farmer to my resume. Since I have successfully incubated chicken eggs, I told one bib overall wearing wonder buns it’s time to begin hatching our swan empire…complete with an evil laugh. As is par for the course, he disagrees with me. Don’t worry, dear reader, I will wear him down, and he will eventually come around to my way of thinking. I’m continuing to work on that floating duck house idea…insert wink. However, I fear those nasty water snakes will take over a floating duck house and harm my ducks, chicks, or eggs. We have several huge water snakes in our large pond. I believe the pigs keep the water snakes out of the small pond; pigs eat snakes…thank you, my friend, Ed, for sharing that information. Although I’m not a fan of Eric’s porcine princesses, this happens to be one of their redeeming qualities. We need to move them to the large pond pasture and let them clean house on snakes. Anyhow, I digress. I have a lot of work ahead of me before my bib overall-wearing buddy jumps on incubating swan eggs.
As always, dear reader, stay safe, be smart, please be sure to watch the chick hatching on Barnyard Zen, and keep washing your hands.