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...