Thursday, July 7, 2011
I found a solitary little chick with 2 of the setting Bantams in the barn! I was surprised as they had a slew of eggs amongst them and the number had gradually diminished to a solitary egg and they were setting fast but bickering over it. I gave them a bunch of newly collected eggs, thinking the last egg wasn't going to do anything and yet they still wanted to set. That solitary egg hatched! The chick was pretty mobile and now there were a bunch of eggs which had been set on for a good week. When I picked the chick up both hens came a flying and attacked my legs. The hens weren't heading back to the eggs so, in my human mind, I decided to bring the solitary chick to the house. He could keep the 2 just hatched chicks company and the hens could continue their quest to hatch a brood. Earlier this Spring a couple chicks hatched in the goat pen (same nest site) and were stepped on by the goats. So my hope is I can keep him safer and give him a chance along with buddies.
I now have 4 cute little chicks in the brooder. They are all 4 looking to be Bantams. All 4 are different so it will be interesting to see the outcome when they feather out.
I also have the last 4 chicks that had hatched (incubator) in a brooder and they are just about feathered.
Of the 4 surviving chicks who have hatched out this Spring, there are 4 PULLETS! What luck as to the sex! Unfortunately I've lost a few and one was my fav, a feather-legged blondish red pullet. She was one that was really calm and could be picked up easily. I think she became a predator's mcnugget and I was dissapointed to lose her.
I hope to have more chicks hatch soon. There are a few turkey eggs in also but I don't think any of them have been fertile this year. Tom needs some more maturing I guess. I'm not having good hatches at all this year! Last year was great and this year a disappointment. I do suspect it's a fertility issue due to the Cochins being so densely feathered in the tush area. I know some folks pluck the rear of their Cochins to improve fertility. Do I REALLY want to do that? I sure like the Cochins immensely so it's under consideration for next Spring. I'm about done hatching now due to it being July and wanting the chicks who make it to have some body size so they can thrive during the long, severely-cold Winter here.
Who'd have thought breeding chickens would be such an undertaking!