Friday, May 29, 2009

Final Countdown

Photo: My chooks last April when they were a day old. Ollie's in there somewhere!

In less than one week the first batch of Twelve Acres chicks and ducklings will be either hatched or hatching! I can't think of anything more exciting than the impending arrival of babies. I've been raising animals of one kind or another since I was old enough to hold a puppy (thanks Mom) and nothing beats babies being born!

Ollie's such a fantastic broody hen that I wouldn't be surprised if her chicks hatched a day or two early, a common occurence when a hen is allowed to follow her instincts undisturbed. There is nothing better for hatching eggs than a good broody. Read this great article, "Let Mama Do It". But it seems we people aren't content to let our hens hatch eggs. No, we have to complicate things because, darnit, we can do it better! Or we're bored, or we just want to invite disaster. Whatever the excuse may be, I'm about fed up with the people at Backyard Chickens. Want to see just how bad people are at hatching eggs? Take a look here. If you've never been to BYC prepare yourself and make sure you aren't drinking anything that might hurt as it shoots through your nose at the speed of sound. I'm not a violent person but I really think some of those people should be slapped and have their chickens taken away from them. Truly they are obsessive-compulsive about their chickens.

I'm happy to let my hens do the job of incubating. They are doing it a thousand times better than I could ever hope to. God saw fit to give these gals instincts to do things no other creature has taught them. I am amazed at how they know exactly how long their breaks should be. I watched Violet today as she took her break. As quickly as possible she did the following: pooped, dust bathed, ate, drank, hopped back on the nest. And she did it all within a short period of time. I didn't teach her to do that! How does she know how long she can be off the nest? Someone tell me!

While she took her break I quickly candled her eggs. This is the fourth day of incubation for her clutch of eight. Wouldn't you know it? Every single egg has a viable embryo growing in it...including those darn Silkie eggs! *Groan* I commiserated about that fact with Jim tonight on the front porch as we watched a passing rainstorm blow through. He said I could always give them back to the lady who gave me the eggs. She only has one roo and two hens. A nice thought I think! That is, of course, if I can keep Derek from falling in love with the darn things. Or worse, me...


  1. Enlightening about how many incubator lovers are out there! A fella just outside of our town has an incubator full of eggs - he got the eggs from different folk, and is learning to hatch them, and sells the chicks. He is making his very own crosses, and is upset because his 'theory' on getting chicks that can be sexed by color at a week of age is failing....

  2. Amy, that is a fantastic article on broodies! I'm bookmarking it for future reference. I haven't visited Modern Homestead in a while and they've really updated their content.

    I got fed up with BYC about 8 months ago, and I rarely visit the site. There are soooooo many ninnies on there, I just want to slap them, so I stay away. I can get all the information I want or need from good people like you or just researching on a need-to-know basis. Actually, I'm surprised they haven't purged me from the membership.

    Can't wait to see how your hatches turn out!

  3. Classy, yes it is enlightening to discover how many folks love incubators. I'm glad I didn't get bitten by that bug! I've got the best incubators out in my coop right now.

    Susan, I knew you'd "get it" about BYC. I go there in search of info sometimes but usually get sidetracked by the outrageous posts about somebody who wants to know if a hen can still lay eggs even if they don't have a rooster.

  4. Go Ollie! I like for chickens to be chickens. I have a MommieBird now with 10 chicks, we so enjoy watching them, and she is stern, when she starts walking away, they better come on. When you have 10 babies at one time, you have be tough.

  5. Joanna, Hee hee! Well said!

  6. I sometimes mention on my blog that as a teen I used to make money by selling eggs, however I lived in an area where it was really hard to buy chicks or young chickens. I started to raise my own chicks with broody hens and I can't say enough good things about it. Even now if I were to buy chicks, I would wait for my bantam to go broody and let her foster them, it is just so so so much easier.
    Actually my little hen hatched out some eggs last week.

  7. Amy, your post came in perfect timing! I have been wanting to learn more about the process and debated getting an incubator. I read the entire article "Let Mama Do It", all 5 parts. I learned so much I did not know and have been wanting to research. Out of frustration the other day I marked some eggs and left them in the box. My husband assured me it would not work. Darn he was right. Our rooster to hen ratio is off 1:23 which I alread knew so I'll be looking for another rooster. Thanks for the great post. I will post about our experience after we get up and going with it. ~Kim

  8. NBUC, I've read about the virtues of bantam broodies and how great they are at incubating eggs. Congratulations on the new chicks! How fun for you!

    Kim, you are welcome and I'm very happy to hear that the article answered your questions. I'm looking forward to reading about your experiences. You always do your research first. I like that about you and it's something we have in common. Good luck!

  9. Even a city girl from London, England can get excited at the imminent arrival of those chicks.

  10. I agree, Nature does know what's it's doing. I remember reading how sychronization happens when the chicks start to pip and chip away at their eggs.

    Congratulations on your growing brood :)

  11. Sounds like you have a big hatching coming, Amy! I agree- the hens know more about hatching than we do.
    Love the picture with your babies on your lap!

  12. I see iris is taking out her belly feathers and is getting hormonal.

    Amy's son,


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