Monday, 28 July 2014

Hatching update

Recently we had two sets of eggs being incubated. The first set of 6 wellsummer eggs had been put under a broody hen and they began hatching on Thursday. You can see the first chick in the photo above. Shortly afterwards the second chick arrived. When I checked on them later, I found that the mother hen, Ginger, was on the floor of the henhouse with the two chicks under her whilst the 4 eggs were in the nest box. I could hear lots of activity from each egg so I decided to leave everything as it was. That turned out to be a bit of a mistake.

I checked a few hours later and found the eggs had not hatched and they were getting cold. I decided to break open the eggs, got the chicks out and tried to warm them in my hands. They were not strong but after a while I put them under Ginger in the hope she would warm them up. When I returned an hour later, two were dead, one was struggling to pull through and the 4th was doing well. The two early hatchings were fine and keeping warm under Ginger's wings. The next day, the chick that was struggling eventually died.

Meanwhile, we had another batch of cream legbar eggs in the incubator. They were due to hatch today (Sunday) according to our calculation but emerged yesterday instead. An interesting point about this batch is that it is the first time we have had all the eggs hatch.

All plan was to carefully introduced this second batch of chicks to Ginger in the hope they would adopt each other. So tonight, I took all the new chicks over to the allotment and put them into the henhouse with Ginger. I'm pleased to say that bonding was almost instantaneous. Ginger started chirping and purring and within a couple of minutes, all the chicks had disappeared under her wings for warmth and protection.

Ginger has spent nearly the whole of the last three and a half weeks in the henhouse. Tomorrow I need to build her a temporary run so she can get out and take the kids with her.

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