Friday, October 9, 2015

Eureka baby chicks!


New babies!  Homegrown.

13 babies.
Last week Annmarie spotted a lone white chicken out in the barn hidden under some hay.  She was sitting on 20 eggs.  It was the beginning of the month so we had decided to give her 25 days to hatch any chicks.  Annmarie started checking on the hen every day to see if any chicks hatched.  Yesterday morning she found chicks!  Lots of chicks.  I was heading out to get the cow hay so there was no time to catch chicks.  We decided to do it later in the afternoon.  I hauled over 24 bales of hay and our neighbor brought the 25th one and stacked all the big bales in the machine shed. 
We went out to catch chicks.  The hen was not happy.  She kept trying to peck us.  Eight of the little buggers were stuck between the outside door and barn.  Annmarie was catching them when one dashed under the barn.  I had to try and squeeze past the outer paneling I installed a few years ago.  There was some loud discourse on the fact that I did not install a gate to get under the barn.  It will need to happen eventually.  I ended up crawling halfway under the barn and could not catch the chick it disappeared.  I had Annmarie run to the other side of the barn and the chick had snuck out.  She snagged it and we tossed the hen into the box with the babies.  We took them to chicken fort knox in the coop.  I had to go back out to the barn to get the dog and decided to throw out the eggs from the nest that had hatched and the unopened one.  I didn't want them to rot in the barn.  I heard the occasional chirp when I was grabbing all the eggs and kept digging around in the straw for any missing chicks.  I never found any and the sound was pretty infrequent.  I took the eggs out to the barn lot and started breaking them on a rock so they would get eaten.  Most of the eggs broke right open, but a couple just bounced.  Then I heard the chirping again from an egg I had just tossed down.  I had to peel the shell off a baby chick.  It was still alive!  It was barely moving.  I found another one that had to be peeled out of its shell.  I decided to take them back to the coop and put them under the warming light in the hopes that they would survive.  I do realize that natural selection was at work and I was violating the principles by helping the chicks out of their shells.  When I went out a couple hours later to check on the two stragglers one had survived and one had expired.  Not bad 50% survival rate.  Today all the chicks were running around chirping their little hearts out!  Free baby chicks!  Now I hope that more than 50% are girls and not boys. 
Alfalfa for hay.