Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Miracle of Life.

I have many tales to tell over the last few weeks.  Grun has been sitting on her eggs like a champ.  We had an incident where she ended up on the wrong nest.  We do not know how long, but it could have been hours.  We were afraid the chicks didn't make it.  This was about 12 days into the incubation.  We opened one up and saw that indeed, we had a developing chick.  It was exciting, but then we got scared that maybe just maybe our chicks wouldm't make it.  So we put the other 2 eggs back under Grun to wait it out.  Afraid that Grun would make a mistake again....Kenny quickly got to work to make her a palace of her own...where she can ride out the rest of her setting in peace and a place where she can be with her chicks without interference from the rest of the gang.  I would still like to cover with a  tarp at this point for some rain protection, but otherwise, it's working well.  FREE PALLETS ROCK!  We spent $20 on a used small dog crate from a yard sale group on facebook.  We've been locking the door at night just in case of predators, since our fencing is more to keep her contained in a small yard.  

We have a piece of fence surrounding the front so she will be able to get around  after the chicks are born.  As of now, she is only leaving her nest about every 2 days to potty, dirt bathe and chow down on grass.  We've been bringing her snacks and she eats from her nest.  

So on Tuesday of this past week, we decided to pick up afew more eggs to start.  We decided that we were not sure that this first set will hatch, so better have a backup and the new eggs are not related.  We picked all blue eggs....2 are from both Ameraucana parents, but different colors from our Prissy and Flower, and the other 2 are from momma Frizzle and daddy Ameraucana.  Frizzles are awesome and all their feathers look 'curley'.  Hoping we get some chicks because it will be awesome to see how they turn out and we'll have some blue eggs in our cartons!  The plan is....if the first 2 eggs hatch, we will remove the chicks and brood them so mama will continue to sit on the remaining eggs.  

Meanwhile.....we get to 20 for the first 2 eggs.  I checked them yesterday.  No sign of pipping and almost all is black when we candle minus the air pocket.  We did see movement in the Barred Rock egg (brown), but could not confirm in the EE egg (green).  We spent hours today out and about and come back ready to check on Grun and the eggs.  Something looked wrong when I approached the nest.  In the wood chips just outside the nest box was some yellow yolk-like material streaked with red blood.  I reached under Grun's breast and pushed her up off the eggs.  I immediately saw a crushed green egg, more blood and yolk looking stuff.  I was not expecting what I saw to the right of that.....a full grown, fully feathered chick!  It was laying under her wing area.  I reached in to pick it up.  It was all limp.  No signs of life.  I held it for a while, just to make sure it really was dead and not exhausted.  Poor chick had made it out of his of the biggest hardships for any bird to overcome.  We were pretty sad, but at the same time, so happy to see a successfully grown chick! Everything had worked!  I candled this egg yesterday and could not confirm movement in it and yet, there was a chick ready to come out!  We decided to name the chick "Star" and had a quick funeral in our pet cemetery.  Star was buried next to our beloved cats, Salem and Monet aka Mony Cat.  Although Stars life was too short, we are happy to see him/her and hope that the other egg ready to hatch has better luck.  

Because of the scare the other week, and confirming the second egg's movement well afterwards....we already have his/her name picked out....Phoenix.  We are really pulling for Phoenix to have an easier time of it.  We just checked the egg, and no signs of pipping.  The other one went in less than 24 hours.  Who knew a chick could hatch so fast!  Please send good vibes for Phoenix and we hope he/she has a healthy and happy arrival into the world.  :)  

The 4 blue eggs started incubating Tuesday night, so we have another 17 days.  I am ready to set up the brooder tomorrow so if Phoenix shows up we can whisk him away to his new home before Grun gives up on the rest of the eggs.  I was really hoping for 2 chicks to brood so they can huddle so I'm a little sad that Phoenix may be a loner.  

We will be watching Grun and the eggs like a hawk for the next 24 hours as Phoenix is due to make his/her entrance in the world!