Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Bird in the Hand

It began with 14 eggs that whittled down to 6 and in the meantime we picked up 2 day old chicks...but when hatch day approached for our sweet little eggs we waited with baited breath and unfortunately our first day came with little action but by the evening we saw that 3 eggs were showing progress (meaning small cracks from the inside out)! And it was like...whoah, our water broke! I know that's taking it a bit far, but honestly it was exhilarating.

We went to bed that first day after seeing some good progress thinking that by sometime tomorrow we'd have a couple of chicks and then bam...we wake up and there are two chickies (Silver Laced Wyandottes {SLW})! We.missed.it. But there was more action on several of the eggs and with the arrival of 2 furry little chicks came the knowledge that THIS actually works. We CAN hatch chickens! How rewarding and wonderful.
So we went about our morning with a family breakfast at the Ridgeback Cafe and dropped Daddy off at work. When Wes and I returned we put on Cars and waited for more...and did I mention that they were cheeping inside their shells? That was pretty incredible and so so encouraging. So there Wes and I were enjoying the adventures of Lightning McQueen when all of a sudden an egg took the cheeping up a notch and low and behold a little claw was pushing out against a huge crack in the shell of our only Golden Laced Wyandotte {GLW}. I thought, "this will probably take awhile" but I couldn't stand there by myself so I decided to call my Mom and in the middle of our conversation the little lady completely popped the top off and within seconds had made her way out of the shell, a shriveled wet mess with a belly the exact same shape as her egg!
That left the 2 Black Copper Marans {BCM} (one of which had been showing signs of hatching since the very beginning) and 1 SLW. The daytime action slowed way down and we entertained the Myrons for dinner but as soon as they left BCM #2 began to "go" and Jeff was finally able to witness the hatching first hand...we then stayed up until 2 am- very confident that BCM #1 was going to hatch any second...but she didn't.
The next morning we woke up to our little Wesley...he had thrown up all over his crib in the middle of the night (poor thing, but he was ok) and I was so distracted by the clean-up that when I went downstairs and looked in the incubator and saw 2 little dark chickens I assumed it was both BCMs...but I was wrong. Our last SLW, the one that seemed like she might not hatch, had done a tremendous amount of work during the night. But what did that mean for BCM #1? She seemed exhausted, I should note that we had assumed she was going to hatch because we had heard her cheeping and saw her pushing, plus she had pipped more than half-way around her shell...but I think after nearly 2 full days of work she was done. still breathing. but done. I looked at Jeff and said, "I know that in nature they might just let this chicken die...but if c-sections didn't exist then Wes could have died, and I could have died. We need to do something."

It felt wrong to pry that little egg open but I don't regret it. I think she was turned the wrong way, was maybe a little too big...at any rate she was stuck and wasn't coming out on her own and now she's alive and well and I know we did the right thing.

The chicks have adapted to their knew home well and appear more eager for Jeff and I to hold them than Biscuit and Sheila ever did. I think it's because they recognize our voice, we're their Mama and Dada!

Biscuit and Sheila joined the rest of the gang about a day later and I've been so impressed with how easily this flock has come together.

And now...the big name reveal (in birth order minus Biscuit & Sheila):

1. DeLorean (SLW- yes, all the SLWs names are based on a Back to the Future theme, this particular bird has distinct racing stripes down the back, of course)
2. Foxy (SLW- she is more black with yellow wings and has a little spunk)
3. Winnie (GLW- this is the one I saw hatch in the afternoon, she has a brown beak and is dark with golden hues)
4. Juliette (BCM- this is the one that Jeff got to see hatch, she has a black beak and is larger than the other BCM, she also likes to sleep on her side)
5. Lorraine (SLW- she's the smallest and sweetest we've got, she used to get stuck on her back and it looked like she was making snow angels in the pine shavings...but the other chicks liked to peck at her so we're pretty happy she's gotten stronger and can stand on her own two feet)
6. Josephine (BCM- she's the one I had to help but she can hold her own in there...she came out with a scratch on her claw and the other chicks tried to peck at it but she fought right back and they eventually backed off...she's our fighter!)
We're quite happy with our little flock of 8 (and you can see them periodically via live video feed in the post below) but if we're being honest...8 is enough, or rather...too much. And although we aren't sure which of our 6 will be male or female we think we'll risk it and say goodbye to 3 (2 SLWs and the 1 GLW).  Does anyone know of a good home these chicks can go to? FREE.

Thanks for sticking with this super long post.  I'm sure we'll have more updates down the road, but I'm looking forward to less chick-centric posts in the near future so be ready for that.

But before I go, please enjoy this video montage.


Shauna said...

Wow, I'm impressed. Nice work on the c-section Jenny! ;) Hmmm...I would take your 3 extras if only I had a coop (and a husband that agreed it was a good idea to have our own chickens).

Kristen said...

wow. what an incredible thing to watch! thank you for sharing the video, your words, the photos...all of it! and now you have chickens!! love the names, and we're looking forward to meeting them soon! xo

Brianne said...

That shot of Genevieve and the chick is really cute...babies and baby animals, I'm a sucker :)
We loved getting to see the little gals and guys Saturday night- thanks for sharing your brood!

Rebekah said...

seriously amazing Jenny - all of it! the photography is stunning and captures the new life so perfectly. I love your little brood - nice name selections. Did you really name the c-section fighter baby Josephine? ha ha..you know we have a little Josie too right ;). can't wait to meet them I am proud of you and Jeff for doing the whole experience I think it is making many of us excited to join you in the fun of raising chickens!

JKLR said...

Lil & I loved "the hatch" video! Can't wait to meet them!


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