Saturday, May 28, 2011

Success! 7 Healthy Chicks Peeping Under Broody Mama

Beware:  the cute in this video is intense.
Well, that was a hair-raising adventure.  After removing one chick from the nest whose egg was crushed as it hatched, so it could finish hatching in the incubator inside, and then finding the first, beautiful chick dead in the nest on the morning after it was born, I was very worried Gypsy might be a great broody, but lack mothering skills.  What's the point of having a hen hatch eggs, worrying about her getting on and off the eggs and keeping other birds away from her, providing separate food and water as needed, only to have to hand raise the chicks?  That would have been the worst of both worlds and the most time intensive choice imaginable in hatching babies. 

So it is with great happiness and relief that I report that I was able to transfer 3 chicks, the oldest 3 surviving, all Olive Eggers, to Gypsy yesterday, holding my breath that I would find them in a non-mashed state at dawn.  I hoped by that time that the newly hatched Black Javas in the incubator would be ready to transfer, if all went well.

 This short clip shows Gypsy's response when I put a very fiesty day old under her (the aforementioned chick of Esmerelda Weatherwax, my very favorite hen, who was a strong as a small horse after being allowed to hatch and recuperate in the incubator).

Here is what I found this morning when I went out.

Gypsy has the hang of mothering.  I put the other four under her and she seems as happy as can be, clucking and settling around them.  There should be an idiom for happiness and contentment that refers to a mother hen when her chicks have hatched and are safely tucked beneath her, peeping and peeking out at the world.  Sigh.  I may have found my spirit animal.

Enjoy the pics.  I'll post more when she decides to bring them out to meet the rest of the flock.

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