Michael got a surprise this morning when four sweet little chicks peered up at him as he lent over to check the settings on the incubator. The chicks have hatched a week early and are somewhat of a miracle. The incubator was still on the rotating cycle (not optimal for hatching chicks), it wasn’t on the correct temperature for hatching, and we really weren’t sure if the eggs would hatch (100% success at the candling process seemed very hard for us to believe…was it an optical illusion…maybe it was just bad lighting…)
You may or may not recall the year we hatched 14 Australorp eggs and 2 were girls. Then there was the dozen Buff Orpington eggs in the incubator last year and only one male hatched, that was Clementine who for a long time we thought was a hen. Clementine decided to start crowing very late in the game, he is the father to these chicks.
We’ve bought eggs that got transported in the post and none hatched, actually to be fair one order looked like they had had a supermarket stamp poorly wiped off. There was the dozen fertile eggs that came down the Midland Highway from right up north of the island, unfortunately the bumpy ute ride wasn’t successful, the poor shock absorbers in the farm ute along with the eggs sitting on the floor of the cab for the whole journey didn’t help, I won’t go into details about it being a 32 degrees celsius day with road work delays out in the middle of no where.
So why such success?
I have a few theories that I am more than willing to share. As always, apply what resonates and park the rest for later on to consider or never.
1. I do think that shifting the incubator out of the laundry has been successful, away from the vibration of the washing machine that could interfere with the rotation timing of the incubator.
2. The weather, the ground is just damp enough, grass abundant, everything is growing at lightning speed. There is the feeling of Spring abundance, warmth, sunshine, Spring showers, optimal conditions to raise chicks. We know that so many animals have a decline in breeding when conditions aren’t as favourable. There is more than enough food on the ground for hens.
3. Clementine the rooster, and the three hens who are Mum’s to the chicks are all in very good health and at the prime time in their lives for having chicks. Petal and Petunia are Orpington sisters and Viola is an Australorp hen.
You may like to know that…
I was under the illusion that I would be able to tell which egg came from which hen and therefor who was mum to which chick but the surprise arrival thwarted that grand plan.
I am being very restrained by not naming the chicks or getting too attached to them but I am taking great care of them with the help of Lil and Michael. I am also not looking too lovingly and too tenderly into their eyes for long minutes at a time like I usually do to gain that loving Mama Jude attachment. I tell you what, it is super hard to do and goes against every fibre of my being, I am a maternal Mama hen through and through!!!
We have had some news this week and our plans have changed and hand raising the chicks is just taking on too much, we did have a broody hen on standby to care for the chicks but someone (who thought that they were being very helpful) took the eggs away from under the broody hen and successfully shifted her off the nest. (Again another miracle, we don’t usually have success with Autumn the hen being broody and abandoning the nest so quickly and a husband who is so quick into action!)
The chicks are for sale and advertised on Gumtree (There are four unsexed chicks and the cost is $35). I would be interested in donating the chicks to a Primary School or part of a Community Learning Project. Please be in touch if you are considering adopting them and have any questions.
Springtime greetings from here at Fairy Wren Cottage,
October 12, 2021