Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Pass out the cigars!

After Saturday and finding the first little chick who didn't make it, we were very sad and ready to see what would happen to egg #2.  Saturday was day 20 of incubation.  What a crazy 3 weeks it had been!  How many times had that bird been on the wrong eggs for who knows how long?  Well.  Sunday at 4:05 pm, we checked the egg and it had pipped!  It was very exciting!  Of course, we had no idea how long the rest of the hatching process could take!

Genny listening.  You can hear the chick peeping through the shell!  It was all very exciting!  We totally wanted to help it out, but they have to do it all by themselves!

Here is the first sign that the chick is getting ready to hatch!  It is called 'pipping' or 'pip'.
We checked the egg every half hour until bed time with no further progress and lots of peeping coming from the egg.  We figured we'd let him be and check in the morning.  Turns out that it could take up to 24 hours from the pip to the hatch.  Many things are going on inside that egg.  First off, besides the obvious...the little excavator trying to crack his way out, the chick needs to absorb all of the remaining yolk sack.  This will be his food/nourishment for the next 3 days.  In nature, this is meant to allow the remaining eggs in the clutch to hatch without the mama having to start caring for her chicks.  In the modern world, this means hatcheries have 3 days to crate newborn chicks and get them out Fed Ex for delivery to the farm before they need to eat.  When we picked up the chicks last spring, the first thing we did was dip their beaks in the water so they would drink.  They were probably 2 or 3 days old when we picked them up at the feed store. 
Anyway, back to the story.  So I'm a little stressed out by the fact that it is Sunday night and I will be at work during the day Monday. I really want to take that chick away from mom and put him in the brooder.  I am concerned about her wanting to continue to sit on the remaining 4 eggs that will have a little over 2 weeks to go since we added them later.  But I manage to have a good sleep and am up around my normal time, 6am.  I head out first thing to check the progress.  As I get my hand under Grun to lift her up a bit, I notice black fuzz.  Ok a chick.  The shell cover it's back end comes off as I do this so it either just hatched or with Grun on him, he just couldn't weasel out of the shell.  I pick it up.  ALIVE!  Whew!  Relief for sure.  It was very wet, so I whisked it away and put it in the brooder to warm up.  I had turned the light on before I went down just to get it warming up awhile.  He started drying off.  Seemed weak, but healthy.  Figured that little chick had been working hard all night to get out of that egg!  I put his beak in the water and he took a little drink.  Whew...that is good too.  Well, he was all settled in his new home and off to work I went.  I could not wait to get back to check on him.
Our little chick just after I put him in the brooder.  His feathers were wet from the hatch and he needed warmth.  He was very weak and shaky in his movements.  At this point, he really wasn't standing up.  He is black and I can see a white spot on his head.....just like his momma.  Just like Weiss (so named for her BIG white spot on her head) and Rosa, the Barred Rocks. 

Here we are, 2 days later.  Phoenix is doing awesome!  He's a great little chick and is full of spunk and life!  We named him Phoenix because after the many times we thought he would not make it, he kept on trucking!   This was due to mom getting on the wrong nest, etc. 
He's the perfect fluffy chick now and oh so cute.  The first night after his hatch, I introduced him to his Aunty Grun.  She came in the house and they had some bonding time.  It went well.  She was making her clucking noises and seemed to be into him.  He ended up climbing under her for warmth.  It was very sweet.  They have been spending time together each eveing.  I am convinced that Grun is much more into the sitting that deal with a chick, however.  She is very focused on her eggs (3 of the 4 was crushed yesterday under her and it was developing nicely from what I saw of it).  Today it made me laugh that he kept pecking her in the eye.  She pecked him back only twice and after taking alot of abuse.  She did not seem to want him under her and next thing you know, she walked away from him and into the main coop, up the ramp and into a nest box!  What a stinker!  We relocated her to where her eggs were and she got back to business.  I guess Phoenix is 'going to grandma's'.  :)  She doesn't mind us raising him and in fact, seems to like it that way.  I do want them to bond so I am going to make sure she gets time with him every day.  I'm hoping she'll accept him after the others hatch.  Seems like she may be a stubborn one with this broody thing!  I am also glad that she has not given up on the eggs she's still sitting on, which is why I was cautious about letting her spend time with the chick.  Things seem to be ok.  In fact, Phoenix gets so excited when I come home from work.  He peeps and jumps to get out.  He cuddles up to me even.  Maybe this one will bond to us.  He's all alone in the brooder where we had 6 in there last year.  He has no buddies. 

About the HE.......
Another crazy thing to note.  I found specific info regarding the cross breeding.  The rooster is a Welsummer.  The mother is a Barred Rock.  Apparently, this cross produces sex-linked babies.  Remember back to middle school science.  There is a flow chart.  Anyway....with this cross....any females would be born looking like Grun did as a baby...brown with chipmunk stripes.  Males would be colored like the Barred Rock with white spot on the head (COUGH COUGH CHOKE).  Females in the black would have no white spot on the head.  No males would be born in the Welsummer pattern in this generation.  So according to science.....and you have to trust that....I mean, it's no mystery if there is a stinkin flow chart, eh? ... we got ourselves a roo.  Lila's possible replacement.  WITH Lila's stinkin' mean ass genes.  Weissy is bossy as well.  The only thing I can do is brainwash him.  I whisper things like:  YOU won't attack me...YOU are a sweet boy...Mommy loves you....Your Daddy's a jerk.   Time will tell if it works.....The awesome thing about this.....he will look like this:


Had he been born a female in the black coloring....she would be solid black with some red popping through.  Nothing exciting.  So here's to him getting along with the others, being a sweet boy...and if he and Lila are friends....well....we have the whole summer to decide what to do with that stinker.  

Here's afew pics of Momma (Auntie Grun) and baby to make you ooooh and aaaaah.  :)

Congrats to Auntie Grun for being such a good surrogate Mama!  Hope the final 3 eggs continue to thrive and we have no more accidents!  2 weeks to go!

Phoenix is quiet now...he must finally be asleep.  He's an active little dude! 

:) Peace's sleeping.