As part of my Christmas at the Dairy post I mentioned we made the choice of interfering with nature by choosing to artificially hatch out a clutch of eggs two of our chooks decided they were no longer going to sit on after the first four chickens were born
New life – Four healthy chickens and 17 eggs still to hatch out ( Hen on the left is a Peking and hen on the right is a Silky)
Broody chooks will not only sit on their own eggs but also tend to gather other chooks eggs over the next 21 days. So when the original clutch of eggs hatch the chooks have to make the decision to look after the live ones or continue to sit on the remaining eggs until they hatch and hope the live ones can look after themselves.
Not surprisingly they chose life over potential life – sounds pragmatic to me
However humans have the capacity to help them do both and being big softies Michael and I chose this option.
Chicken eggs in incubator
Its pretty simple to do and very rewarding bringing new chickens into the world
Once they hatch they stay 24 hours in the incubator and then we move them to their next home
We use a plastic container like this and cover the bottom with pine shavings or in this case rice hulls
We supply them with fresh water and chick starter
and a light to keep them warm
Then we have to make the big decision as to when is the best time to give them back to their mums
By this time you are getting pretty attached and you tend to keep putting it off and putting it off
So by now the 2nd batch ( they are still hatching) are almost two weeks old and it was now or never
So we decided to put the first 5 out on dusk just as mothers and the chickens they were looking after had gone to bed.
We were very excited as you can see we managed to tuck “our” chickens under their mums with their brothers and sisters (B&S)
But it was a different thing next morning. The mums and B&S went off and did their own thing and left “our” chickens to their own devices.
But we are so proud of our offspring. They are resilient little champions. They have embraced the “chook palace” like they were born there.
Our cows are just fascinated by chooks
They have figured out how to get fed
They have gone on some big adventures
Climbed a rock face
In the meantime they are are not being completely ignored by their mothers and B&S who have walked by many times.
and are now staying very close by
With the silky chook keeping a very close eye on their activities. Tomorrow is another day and I wouldn’t be surprised if this silky chook has new family
In the meantime another chicken has hatched in the incubator !!!!!!
The humans should get their act together and collect the eggs more regularly and we wouldn’t need to play mums to other animal’s children would we??