Friday, 27 April 2018

Hatching Chicks And Letting Nature Take It's Course

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that our broody hen has finally hatched her first egg. Or rather eggs. It's still a little unknown if more will hatch, and if any of them will have problems like her first, but sometimes you just need to let nature take its course.

On Wednesday we heard the first little chirps coming from underneath Mumma Hen. She'd moved out from the bucket (it used to be where the duck liked to lay her eggs, when we had them) and so we thought it a good idea to move her inside into a box. There she could be left in the pantry to hatch the rest of her eggs, and she'd be ready to go in the moving truck the following Wednesday.

She didn't like us touching her baby, but they all settled back down in the box and were quite happy to be moved. As we were checking for any eggs we might have missed, B found a dead chick. It hadn't been underneath her, it was still in the nest in the bucket. By the looks of it, it hatched and didn't last long enough to even dry off. B knows a little about baby animals (he is a pig farmer after all), and he thinks it's stomach didn't develop properly as it showed the same signs a piglet would have if it's internal organs weren't developed properly.

It's incredibly sad, and I can't help but think maybe if I'd been a bit more hands on with her I could have spotted the chick before it died. That doesn't change the fact that nothing could have been done though, and I think checking her eggs every day would have stressed out Mumma Hen enough to possibly leave her eggs altogether.

Unfortunately, it's nature, and it needs to take it's course. 

The chick she still has is doing well, though, and we're hoping it will stay that way. It's chirping and running about quite happily. We're still waiting on 5 other eggs she still has underneath her, which should hatch in the next few days.

I've decided to not get too involved with it though. I didn't plan on hatching eggs, it was Mummy Hen that went broody and we weren't quick enough to notice she'd been hiding eggs. By the time we did notice, it was too late, and she could have been sat on them for up to 4 days so we decided to just let her have them. Not wanting her to peck a hole in my hand also helped us make that decision.

We'll help keep the chicks alive obviously, as she's still learning and has a little trouble letting her chick get underneath her at the moment, but when it comes to hatching and so forth we've taken a step back. I can't save them all, and there is a certain amount of circle of life involved. Having  100% hatch and survival rate is quite rare from what I know, so I'm not going to beat myself up about it. At the end of the day I'm not a vet or a chicken, so I can't fix everything.

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Moving House

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