Wednesday, June 09, 2010

More chicken stuff...sorry

Well, I was going to suggest a walk round the garden but the weather is so unsympathetic that indoor things would be better instead.

Come and look at the chickens. They're in the garage now in their brooder. Chickens 1- 8 were first out there, followed a day later by the other 3. That's it I thought - there'll be no more now -  and took the lid off the incubator to remove the unhatched eggs. But look, there's a crack in one - perhaps it will hatch. Better late than never. 12 hours later an exhausted Maran flops out. Alive. Just about. I decide to leave it overnight. In the morning it's on its feet and chirping so out it goes to the garage to join the gang.

Now it is definitely time to tidy up. I unplug and start to dismantle, picking up the last eggs with a view to going and cracking them open over the compost heap to see if there was a reason they did not hatch. Ha! Another pipped egg, which, when I hold it to my ear cheeps and taps on the shell with its beak. Now this is a dilemma. Good practice would recommend jettisoning this late (potential) arrival. In the wild its mother would have left the nest and it would have died; maybe it is destined never to thrive if it does hatch. I decide to give it a go and some 14 hours later with a little help it too hatches. I go to bed not expecting to see it alive in the morning.

Alive and chirping it was however, on its feet and tapping at the incubator's perspex cover.

Anyway, come on - they're over there in that plastic tub behind the mountain of books. Don't trip over that strimmer which Has Not Been Put Away Properly and lies like a man-trap on the floor just where you need to put your feet...Whoops! Did warn you...and mind your heads on the boiler.

While you're at it, watch you don't step into those open bags - one's cement and the other's lime. The dog walks straight through and leaves a trail of footprints....and don't bark your shins on the Dog Cart (that really should be Polish Dog Cart). No dog of ours has ever pulled it and we have no way of knowing if any Polish dog was ever harnessed to it either. It has only ever stood in a garage and is now the sort of thing, that when provoked, a husband and wife can have Words about. And another thing - just why is it that the car, worth a king's ransom, sits outside in all weathers while a huge amount of tat is under lock and key, warm and dry inside?

Here they are then, my babes, warm under a heat lamp which gives them a cosy red glow and suspended as it is will keep them at 37 degrees while they acclimatise to the vagaries of our changeable weather.

13 chickens, happy enough I think. The pale ones are Rhode Island Reds and the darker ones Marans.  I am prepared to bet that the one in picture giving us 'the stare' is a cockerel - and am stealing myself to think 'dinner'. The eldest are four days old and already developing pin feathers on their wings.

They are so curious - see how if I tap their food dish with my finger they run to see what is on offer. I've noticed a mother hen does this. Much of what they do seems innate ; scratching, preening and pecking at vulnerable siblings. Drinking too - I'm not much of a mother hen so it is as well they've mastered that alone. I could watch them for hours.

I've not really thought about the next step, where to put 13 chickens when they outgrow this very temporary home. I think I might be whistling for a bigger brooder. Glam.Ass, Beloved - if you read this - please see what you can rustle up.

But now we'll leave them in peace. Look! the rain has stopped - the garden looks so lush, green and inviting. Maybe we'll stroll around tomorrow.

12 comments:

rachel said...

Can we have daily chicken updates, please? And can we see the Polish dog cart? The mind boggles as to why you have one, but I suppose we all have our little foibles. Shoes, handbags, dog-related items.....

Pondside said...

Bring it on - another chicken blog is always welcome. Congrats on the safe arrivals!
Your garage sounds much like ours, except that our version of the Polish Dog Cart is an ancient German wicker pram with iron wheels. It is rotting (genteelly)hung from the rafters - or maybe it's the solid brass pump lying on the floor..........

Kirsty.a said...

I love the way you write. Thanks for this insight into your lifestyle. I am really starting to care about those chicks!

bayou said...

Oh yes, please take me on your stroll round the garden next!
How lovely and strange to see them all hatch and all on their legs. I can believe that it is difficult to not to spend so much time on watching them. Chickenwatch, indeed :-).

Wipso said...

Awwwww they are just gorgeous. Cluck cluck....if you need a mother hen then I'm your gal :-)
Garden walk today please [rain allowing] and another peep at the chicks pleaseeeeeeeeee
A x

elizabethm said...

Chicks look to be thriving. I am feeling very guilty now that I took the last egg away from my broody when all the others had hatched and, a day later, this one still hadn't. I wonder if it would have made it had I left it alone?
Bet your garage is tidy compared to our workshop!

Frances said...

You've got me laughing with your warnings about how to safely enter the garage.

Those little chicks are adorable. I would love to see lots more chicken posts!

And garden posts, too. xo

her at home said...

Meanwhile my stupid brody sits on... perhaps I wil show her your fluffy chicks to giv her an idea of what she is meant to be hatching... can I borrow your glam assistant when you have finished with him...

Fennie said...

Thanks for the trip down memory lane. We raised chicks in an incubator too and then reared them with an oil filled radiator covered with a blanket against which they nestled like a mother hen. This meant they could run around quite a big area and just go back to the radiator when they needed a heat charge. Yes it's all innate including the way a chicken scratches the ground, first one leg then the other. Somewhere in your egg there's a little sequence of protein that somehow codes all that. But how did it ever get there?

Isabelle said...

Dinner????? Oh dear.

Imagine going to see Katherine Swift. How exciting. I wonder if she might come to the Edinburgh Book Festival?

Chris Stovell said...

Fab! On the tension reading about the little runty egg. And then the question mark over the cockerel's future... Love it!

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Thirteen !!
In Franco's Spain , a family that large ( children though , not chickens ) got a medal .
So , Familia Numerosa that you now are , consider yourselves bemedalled . Congratulations !!