Saturday, March 5, 2011

I'm a Grandma!!

Ok, not really, but I am proud of my Buff Orpington hen for sitting on her eggs all the way to hatching time! She had plenty of starts but poor follow-through last year, usually abandoning her eggs after a couple of days. But this year, she sat and sat and I was hopeful!

I check her eggs daily, since other hens squeeze in with her and lay eggs and she collects them underneath her. So I marked her original eggs and pull out the unmarked ones. Yesterday, one of the marked eggs I pulled out had cracked and upon closer inspection-- a beak came out!

I ran for the camera and you can see there's a baby in there! I checked the other eggs but no movement on them. By nightfall, still no baby out of the shell.

Early this morning, this is what greeted me!! I checked underneath mama hen and there's another one just hatched, the feathers still wet! By the end of today, 2 baby chicks. Even though mama hen is a yellow Buff, papa is a Rhode Island Red, so the coloring seems to favor the papa.
I separated mama and her eggs and chicks into a large animal carrier. I don't want a repeat of last fall, when some of the babies were attacked by the bigger roosters and died. If I could re-do the chicken coop, I would make it twice as large, with a section dedicated to the 'nursery'. A safe place for hens to nest and sit and babies to hatch and roam without interference from the other chickens. I don't have the materials to double the coop, but I do have enough scrap lumber to build an in-law suite of sorts.
I've been busy most of the day working on it. A little apartment attached to the outside of the coop with a slanted roof that will be hinged for me to lift and inspect/clean; a fenced-in area to separate chicks from other chickens; a door that opens the full length of the box to make cleaning easier and stays shut with a latch. After initial frustrations with the wrong type of wood screws, I went out to get chick feed and proper screws. The project went along much more smoothly with the right screws and I have the floor and sides completed. I need to measure and cut the roof and door, then attach hinges and latches. Once that is done, I'll set up the fencing and transfer mama and her chicks to their new digs.
There were 9 eggs minus 2 hatched equals 7 eggs to go. I wonder how many more chicks we'll get?? I'm so proud! :o)


Ron said...

Chicks! So much fun. I always hope and look forward to having a decent broody hen.

Cheyenne said...

Congratulations on the babies! Giving them a separate place is a great idea.

Bluemeya said...

Congratulations on being a grandma to all those baby chicks! Sounds like a full coop!
Great idea on the nursery! Amazing how life is formed and made from a simple egg to a beautiful chick.
Just amazing......

jenny said...

Ron-- I know! For a 2-year old hen, I'm glad she finally sat long enough to hatch her first set of eggs! 3 chicks so far!

Cheyenne-- Thanks! My project has been hampered by the weather-- would you believe snow again! But she's nice and comfy in the cage I have her in.

Mia-- Thanks hon.I just did a head count and I have 21 chickens, including the new chicks. It always amazes me how those chickens come from such a little egg, but then, so did we! :o)