Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Cheep, Cheep, Cheep

Mrs. Gold is so busy, she's running around like a chicken with her head...well you know. She has a big brood to take care of. Be careful what you wish for I told her but she just wouldn't listen and she persisted in collecting every egg she could find whether she had laid them or not! She sat patiently for 21 long days and nights (and you thought your labor was long) and finally out popped a baby!!



No wait, make that two!



But, she wasn't giving up just yet. Over the course of the next 24 hours three more eggs hatched for a total of five on that day. You can see that she's juggling sitting on eggs and rambunctious newborns. After five hatchlings had made it successfully into the world she decided that they needed to get water and left the nest to show them the ropes. That left five eggs cooling and she showed no signs of returning to them. She stayed away most of the day and I started to worry about those other unhatched babies. She on the other hand was completely unconcerned. She had her babies, quintuplets are plenty to deal with, la dee da.

I finally decided to rescue the unhatched eggs even though I don't have an incubator. When I examined her nest I found one dead chick that just didn't make it out of the shell. Probably why she didn't want to go back in and 4 rapidly cooling eggs that looked fine. I put a heating pad in the bottom of a basket, lined it with shredded paper and turned the pad on low. As I picked up each egg I checked it for smell. Yes, I sniffed them. Nothing smelled rotten or off. Next, I gently tapped each one and listened to them. Two of them gave me little peeps back - there were definitely chicks in there wanting out. The other two were silent. The two that were peeping went into the basket. I steeled myself and decided to crack one of the others, when I did I found that it was a plain old egg, unfertilized, never gonna be a chick no matter how long she sat on it. Emboldened I cracked the other one and found the same thing - whew!  I did not want to find anything nasty.

So now I had two eggs to try to keep warm and hope they hatched on their own. Over the course of the next two days they did! I carried one around in my t-shirt pocket to keep it warm for most of an afternoon waiting for it's sib to finish hatching. When they both were out and dry and night time came on the second day I slipped them under mama when they all had gone to bed. By morning they were all a happy family! I guess chickens definitely can not count. Quintuplets, septuplets, whatever. Let's see if we can get a picture.


See how puffed up she is? She does not like me poking around. I can kind of see four.
Back to two. Relax, I just need a picture for the baby book.
Here we go - Mrs. Gold and her seven beautiful chicks.
Until next time,

Photo provided by Chicken Scratch Poultry http://chickenscratchpoultry.com/





15 comments:

  1. What a great post. I really enjoyed reading it. Congrats to you and Mrs. Gold.

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    1. Thanks, I love having little chicks around . It's so much fun watching mom raise her babies, a first for me.

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  2. Good Afternoon Patrica, Congratulations to Mrs Gold and her 7 beautiful chicks and thanks to you for rescuing the final two little chicks. This was a lovely story and I loved the photographs. I loved the first photograph where the little chick popped out from underneath Mrs Gold..... a lovely moment. Just a thought, is it normal for hens to collect other hens eggs, she obviously was not taking any chances as she wanted a large family.
    This was a lovely story.
    Best Wishes
    Daphne

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    1. As far as I know it is normal for her to try to get as many eggs as she can. The hens have favorite nest and all try to lay in the same nest box so it was easy for her to get a lot of eggs together. Then she started defending them and the nest, growling and puffing up when the other hens came near. I eventually moved her to a private space so she could relax. Each hen lays one egg a day so it would have taken her 10 days to get that many eggs on her own and then they would not have all hatched at once. This has been so fascinating for me as I haven't had a broody hen before that I allowed to hatch her eggs. So fun to see what a good mother she is teaching the chicks all they need to know.

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  3. Yay! They are beautiful! Nice job mom!

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    1. She is doing such a great job at being a mama with zero experience. Much better than my first attempt I can tell ya.

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  4. I too enjoyed the pictures and the story of how you kept the chicks warm, and hatched. They are all adorable. How many chickens do you have? Beautiful pictures!

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    1. You would have died laughing at me with a tiny chick pined in my t-shirt pocket walking around the place. :) We have 9 laying hens and now 7 chicks. I'm really hoping that this batch has 0 roosters, time will tell!

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  5. What a fun story!! How many hens and roos do you have?
    xo Kris

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    1. Thanks Kris. I have 9 hens, 1 rooster - Silent Bob and now 7 chicks. Hoping that there are no roosters in this batch of chicks.

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  6. So glad the new mama got what she wanted! Awfully nice of you to hatch a couple for her :)

    Congratulations !

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    1. I'm a pretty funny substitute chicken! I pinned that t-shirt pocket closed and went about my day. Every once in a while I'd talk to the chick telling her that soon she would be with her real mama and she would peep back, then she watched Game of Thrones with me! SHe's glad to in the hen yard and away from all that violence!

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  7. Congrats to Mrs. Gold! Such a lovely group of chicks :)

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Thanks for your comments. I love hearing what you have to say.