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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Baby Chicks!

Several weeks ago, I sold three llamas to a young man who raises chickens. He brought 18 hatching eggs for me to slip under my Buff Orpington hen who had gone broody. Since I don't have a rooster, the eggs my hens lay aren't fertile so I felt badly that she was sitting on eggs for nothing. I would take the egg out from under her daily but she kept sitting, so I asked if I could please get some fertile eggs for her to hatch out. I am down to two hens now. The dadgum fox killed all my other hens! The incubation time from when a hen starts setting on eggs until they hatch is 21 days. I slipped 4 or 5 eggs under her on Saturday night, June 8th, just to be sure she didn't reject them, and the remainder of the eggs I slipped under her 4 and 5 at a time throughout the day on Sunday, June 9th.

The first egg hatched out some time on Saturday, June 29th, but the chick was dead. There was still quite a bit of yolk, etc in the egg so I think perhaps the hen pecked that chick out too soon. The second egg hatched out that Saturday but died a few hours later. I think momma hen accidentally smothered the poor wee thing.

Here is a photo of the first chick shortly after it hatched. Momma hen turned into Ninja Chicken whenever I tried to pick up the chick so I had to get a photo of it tucked underneath her wing.

The next morning, there was one chick already hatched out and a second one almost hatched out. Those two chicks survived and are doing well. Here are photos of the two surviving chicks, taken when they were one day old.

The young man who gave the eggs to me said the first chick (the darker one with the yellow spot on its head) is a male Cuckoo Orpington and should mature to be gray with black stripes. The second one is most likely a Black Orpington and I won't be able to tell what sex it is until it feathers out and is more mature. I'm hoping that the second one is a hen and not another rooster! I will keep them both, regardless. I guess I'll have to order more live chicks through our feed store if I want more hens this year. But, next year, with at least one rooster in the flock, we should have more eggs to hatch out and expand the flock!


Lin said...

Gees, that's a lot of work for just a few chicks!

Split Rock Ranch said...

It was! I was a bit disappointed in the hatch/fertility rate but it was my first time doing this and it was the hen's first time, too, so its probably better that she only has two to take care of right now.