Sunday, 25 November 2012

From chickens to chicks

Early in November we realised that one of our chickens, Snowy, was broody. She stopped laying but constantly wanted to sit in her box. Fortunately, Snowy was gentle with her broodiness, not pecking any of the children as they took the opportunity to pat her beautiful soft feathers while she sat, pointlessly, in an empty box.

There are two things you can do with a broody chicken. The first is to unbroodify (my word!) the hen, by sectioning her off in a cage where she gets cool air underneath her and has no straw to make a nest. The second is to provide her with fertilised eggs from hens who live with a rooster, and allow her to sit on them for three weeks until they hatch. With Joshua's enthusiasm for raising more chickens, encouraged by his reading of Keeping Chickens, we chose this second option.

First, we obtained fertilised eggs from the same generous friend who gave us Snowy and Lily to start with. Then, after convincing Snowy to move out of her laying box temporarily, we carefully filled it with fresh straw, placing it closer to the ground so that baby chicks could climb out. We also provided a second box for Lily to lay in. Then, we even more carefully placed our six eggs into the centre of Snowy's box.

Our friend had told us that eggs take 21 days to incubate, so the last few days have been nervous ones as we have waited to see if any of the eggs hatched. This afternoon after church we went to see if there was any sign of yellow chicks. Joshua was the first to catch a peek:
Admittedly it is a bit of a 'Where's Wally?' effort to see the chick, so I will provide a hint that you can see it just to the left of Snowy's tail, behind her wing. Joshua and I excitedly rang our friend to say "thank you" once again for the eggs and to let her know we had at least one chick.

Then we went back out to spy on Snowy again and realised we have at least two! Here you can see the face of one chick and the backside of another:

Joshua has naming rights for the first chick and has decided that since it's foster mother is named Snowy, it should be called Blizzard - with Anna's help we have noted that she (he?) can be Lizzy for short.

The second chick is yet to be named. Any suggestions, friends and family?


Anonymous said...

L suggests Goldie or Chickadee.

R suggests Sparkles.

Sharon said...

Anna and Sam like Goldie. I think Chickadee is cute and Abigail likes Sparkles. Thanks for the suggestions cousins!