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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Chicken littles.

  The flock on our mini farm has been growing for a while now. But this year we had a snafu. One of my broody hens gave up in protest for some reason. Abandoning her share of eggs and the chill hadn't left the air quite yet. Ming was on her own with way too many eggs and she hopped back and forth with no real way of covering all of them at one time.


 With worry of false starts and development problems I barrowed an incubator to salvage what we could. This round was special because it contained the coveted chocolate colored egg layers called Black Copper Marans. Beautiful hens and even more adorable as chicks looking just like baby penguins. Also in this hatch were several of Fancy the rooster and Mings babies. Our first Feltifarm breed stock attempt. I left Ming with a couple of each and brought the rest indoors and hoped for the best.








  Candling revealed movement and development which gave me hope we would have at least one or two of Ming/Fancy babies. But the dark Marans shells are impossible to see into so they were a gamble and a mystery.

 Twenty one days and nothing. Twenty two and we had one single pip in the tiniest egg in the incubator. Twenty three and we had our first chick. Typically chicks will hatch on day twenty one give or take a day. So one baby was not a good number. And not a single sign of life under Ming outside.


Then finally a chocolate egg pipped. Then hatched quickly into a sweet tired penguin.




 And still none under Momma Ming. So I prepared to clean out the duds from the incubator and under my hen, trying to feel glad for the two that made it. Thinking that we have been lucky with past hatches because the broody girls did such a great job mothering. And then my husband checked the incubator just in case and saw another pipped egg. Which also hatched into a marans baby. Giving us a perfectly healthy trio.




 Counting your chickens before they are hatched is really stupid after all it would seem. Because when I went out to clean up the dud from under Ming there was an Easter baby. Which was very shocking considering that was at about 28 days!


 She knew something I didn't because she still wasn't getting up. And we let her be. She hatched one of her own and one penguin for me like a good momma. And then chased those busy babies around leaving the nest cold.

 Last night when I came home I had to be what my hilariously accurate friend dubbed the "chicken doula". And our last little miracle babe was born.

( science can be graphic ya'll) 
video



 So crazy and magical that I can't recall even speaking during this so I sound funny to myself. I have watched the four minute version of this about a hundred times now. 


She hatched and dried and is perfect. I feel very lucky to have caught that pipped egg and I feel lucky that my husband put it in the brooder box under the heat lap with our incubator babies even though he was sure she was a goner from being cold.




So, I decided to try to sneak these sweeties in under momma and hope she accepts the whole bunch as her own. I would say so far so good. And I took a moment to capture these 6 lucky little peepers in something frame worthy for the mom den. Because I am now officially the crazy chicken lady who posted a birth story about chickens. And I love it.










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