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.|