Last Updated: 4/23/19
A New Beginning
The Hatching Eggs
Two and a half years after Chickie died, I decided to try chickens again. Seeing the run down old pen was just
depressing and reminded me of death. The last week of March 2018, I received a dozen hatching eggs.
I ordered the "Fun and Funky Assortment" which may include:
Possible Fun and Funky Genes: Crested, Frizzle, Sizzle, Naked Neck, Silkied
Possible Breeds: Easter Eggers, Cochins, Silkies, Polish, Silchen, Seramas, etc.
I ordered 12 eggs because when you know how to incubate your own eggs right, you can expect a 50% hatch. When you mail order, that drops to 25%. Considering how many times 15-20 years ago that I tried incubating eggs and that only Beebee ever hatched, my odds were even lower.
On 1/28/18, I cleared off a spot on a table near the electric box (easier to rig up the generator when the power goes out, and it has almost always gone out when I incubated before). I set up the following equipment that I bought 15 years ago but never used! Little Giant #9200 Still Air Incubator, #7200 Forced Air Fan, and #6200 Automatic Egg Turner. Well, I had to splice wires to hook up the fan, and it did not work! The heater and turner work. I ordered a replacement fan that was supposed to work but the #7200 is no longer made. The hatch rate would be much better with a fan. When the new fan arrived, I discovered that the splice on the old one did not go through the wire which is why it did not work. I got the new fan to work. It rattled a bit though.
My contractor was supposed to come some time in April to renovate the chicken pen. The pen is 25.5 years old! The house will be painted, new shingles, cement floor, and new hardware. The run will be completely redone as there are holes in the fence which is rusted out, and it will be enlarged. The new wire is all vinyl-coated with smaller holes than the old wire. The bottom few feet will be hardware cloth with the upper sides and top chicken wire. The contractor ended up removing two of his fingers, and the renovation was delayed and not started as of 4/24/18. He would eventually paint the old house and put new wire on the old run but he never expanded it. He just left.
The 12 eggs I ordered were set to ship the week of 3/26/18. I got a shipment confirmation on 3/27/18 and tracked the package. It was not actually in the hands of the USPS until 1 pm on 3/28/18. The tracking said the eggs were at the post office at 6 am on 3/30/18 so I called to verify. The woman could not find them at first but eventually she did. Our local post office was closed a year ago so I had to drive 25 minutes away to go get them before work and be late. The woman said they would have never called me as the "call on delivery" was not noticeable and nothing on the box indicated they were eggs. I brought the eggs home and unpacked them. There were 14 eggs. There were two standard size blue/green eggs (Easter egg chickens), two standard size brown eggs (turkens, cochins?), one larger dark brown egg (Marans?), and nine smaller eggs that were all white or off white (silkies, bantams, polish, frizzles, who knows?). I put them large end up in an egg crate and went to work. The night of 3/30/18, I candled the eggs. I found no cracks or other problems but I also could not really see any air cells. The eggs went in to the incubator on 3/30/18 at 9:06 pm. The next day I put a couple of store eggs in the incubator as a control. I confirmed with the supplier that the free range organic eggs could not be fertile. They were chocolate moran eggs so it would have been nice if they were fertile. Those two eggs went in on 3/31/18 at 12 pm.
The morning of 3/31/18, the incubator was up to 103 degrees F! It fluctuated so much from 95 to 103 degrees F! After a few days though, the fluctuations quieted to between about 97 and 101 degrees F. The eggs themselves helped hold the incubator temperature.
I candled the eggs on 4/6/18 on Day 7. First, I looked at the store eggs and removed those from the incubator when they were confirmed to be clear. I then candled the eggs one by one. I took the eggs out of the incubator a few at a time through the plexiglass windows. Six looked clear (never developed), one had a blood ring (died), two I could not really tell (the brown eggs), and five had veins in them. I saw two of those five embyros move! I did not see ANY air cells but I was not going to play with the eggs. I did a quick in and out check.
The incubator had been swinging all around even without adjustments. And yes, the incubator was not in a room with drafts or temperature changes. It was in the basement where the temperature is very stable. On most days, the thermometers which record minimum and maximum temperatures would swing from about 96 or 97 to 101 or 102 degrees F. So much for keeping the temperature at 99.5 degrees F +/- 0.5 degrees F! I mostly trained myself to not touch the adjustment when it is at either extreme knowing it will swing back within a few hours. If anybody survives this crappy incubator, it will be a miracle. Humidity has been pretty good though ranging from the high 20's to high 40's but normally about 40%. I fill the two troughs, two plastic Easter eggs, and a few plastic caps in the bottom twice a day. I use a rigid piece of airline tubing and a syringe to feed in the water. I microwave a cup of distilled water for 15 seconds on high to bring the water to around 100 degrees F first. There is basically no humidity in the basement so without adding water, it would be a desert.
I candled the eggs on 4/13/18 on Day 14. I removed the six clear eggs and one with a blood ring and broke them open outside. There was nothing in the clear eggs, and the one with the blood ring just had some white stinky gunk but not anything you would recognize as an embryo. The other seven eggs all looked as they should including the two brown eggs that I could not tell for sure the week before. The air cells were mostly strange shapes but that is common from shipped eggs. I think many of the dead eggs had been scrambled in shipment. I saw three babies move!
On 4/17/18 at 9 pm, it was time for "lockdown." I put the eggs safely in an egg crate off to the side and took the incubator apart. I removed the egg turner and a couple of the thermometers leaving "just" four in there. I put in four big sponges that were wet with warm water and wrung out. I got the incubator back together. I had planned to try to mark the eggs at the largest part of the air cell where likely to pip but, after doing one, I was afraid I might crack the eggs trying to write on them so I just quickly looked at each egg from top and bottom. The air cell could be seen at the top and a little bit of room left in the rest of the egg. From the bottom, all seven eggs were pitch black. I laid them on their side on some shelf liner that was suggested on some web site. The liner helps reduce splay leg. I did not see any babies move but I wanted to do everything quickly and not risk them getting cold or shaken. Egg 6, the smallest egg, had a huge air cell, maybe even half of the egg so I doubted it would survive. I put a motion camera over the left plexiglass window where I put the four smaller eggs. I put the three larger eggs on the right side. Then, I waited.
When I got home on 4/19/18, I tried shining flashlights through the plexiglass and viewing the eggs from the other window to try to candle the eggs long distance. I was able to make out just barely the air cells in two of the white eggs. There were no internal pips in those and no obvious movement of the dark bottom of the egg (the baby). I kept cheeping at the eggs when I checked the incubator. About 7 pm on 4/19/18, I got a response! The next morning at 6:30 am, the blue/green egg and the largest dark brown egg had external pips in them. The others were doing nothing.
On 4/19/18, when I cheeped in to the incubator around 7 pm, I got a response! I believe this was Billie but could have been Angel. Billie was in a dark brown egg with splotches, typical of what a Marans hen would lay. Angel was in a blue/green egg, typical of what a hen with Easter egg/Americauna blood lays. The next morning at 6:30 am, both of those eggs had pipped (made little holes). I went to work and watched those eggs on a camera. Billie popped out a few more pieces but all in the same spot. When I got home on 4/20/18, there were three other pipped eggs.
Within a few hours, Perky zipped around in circles, popped off the air cell part of the egg and was running around like an idiot by 9:50 pm before I even saw her hatch. I guessed Perky was a boy (and I was totally wrong; Perky is a girl!), and she was getting in trouble, knocking eggs around, pecking at stuff she shouldn’t peck at. Perky is a funky white naked neck and might be Polish and/or silkie as well! The Polish chickens have extra feathers on the head. The silkies have down-like feathers as adults and not just as chicks. The naked necks are sometimes called turkens as they are supposed to look like turkeys. What a combination! When I went to bed at 10 pm, it was just Perky out. At 2 am I checked, and Daffodil was born. I call her Daffy for short, like Daffy the duck. She was already up and going too but much more subdued. Let’s see if I’m right that Daffy is a girl (yes, right!). Daffy was almost purple in color and very fluffy once dried so might be a silkie. Perky came out of an oblong ivory egg, typical of silkie and Polish chickens but not very definitive as to breed. Daffodil came out of a light brown egg which could be from half the breeds out there.
By the morning of 4/21/18, Billie and Angel had made no progress more than 24 hours after pipping. They were too big to spin in the egg and break the circle which is called zipping. Chicks are generally too big if their air cells are too small due to too high humidity during incubation and not enough water loss from the egg. I kept the humidity in the 35 to 50% range the entire time with the average around 42%. Experts say mostly in the 40’s and some say 50%. I am also assuming the humidity gauge was correct. The one I was going by had a calibrated thermometer with it that matched the NIST thermometers. I had another cheapo one that always read about 10% higher in the humidity and 5 degrees F lower. Anyway, I had to make a choice, do nothing and let them die or risk surgery. That really was no choice. Experts tell you never to open the incubator, that you’ll “shrink wrap” the chicks which is when the humidity drops, and the membranes dry fast, trapping the chicks in the eggs. But, that had already happened to Billie and Angel because they had pipped so long ago. They couldn’t get out.
At 11 am, I removed Perky and Daffy to the brooder. They can sure scream! I then got a warm wet towel and took out Billie. I used a tweezers to chip pieces of egg shell away from the pipped hole, keeping an eye out for blood. I removed enough for her to get out. I then did the same with Angel. A few hours later, Angel finally hatched at 1 pm but he was goopy with yolk and stuck membrane all over him. Billie had not moved and was dying so I took her out again. There was membrane dried around her right eye and head so she couldn’t move. I used my mother’s cuticle scissors to free her head and the top of her was “born” in my hand at 1:20 pm. I put her back, and she was out the rest of the way within the hour. Both of them were laying belly up (and the belly was huge with absorbed yolk), breathing, and cheeping a lot but couldn’t get up. I knew they were exhausted so gave them hours to recover. Finally Billie was on her feet. But Angel couldn’t get up. He had dried yolk and membrane all over. It was time for more intervention which they tell you not to do! I made a small bowl of warm water (felt like my body temperature), submerged all but Angel’s head and used my fingers to wash off as much yolk and membrane as I could. His right wing was glued to his body, and I freed it. He also had a clump of gunk on his neck but I left that there. I put him back in the incubator. Within a short time, he was up and moving but not sound on his feet. Billie and Angel were making so much noise that I wanted to put them in the brooder and not leave them in the incubator where the humidity was very high from the hatch. I decided to try a blow dryer. First, I took out Billie, and her right eye was still glued shut. I used warm water to unglue it and blow dried her a little. She was pretty much dried but looked wet from a messy hatch. I put her in with Perky and Daffy. Then, I took out Angel and gave him a lengthy blow dry on low, always moving it so he didn’t get too hot. He LOVED it! I put him in the brooder, and Perky pecked at him but I gave it a little bit of time. A half hour later, and Angel was a foot from the IR heater looking dead. Ut oh! I put him back in the incubator at 9 pm, removed the sponges and left him in there for the night. At 3 am, I checked. He was alive but the temperature had shot up to 102 degrees F as the humidity was decreasing so I turned the thermostat down. At 6 am, I put him in to the brooder. He still looked wet but he was dry and could not fluff up. I have heard after a few days of preening and then new feathers coming in, it should be okay as long as the others do not harm him.
Billie, Perky, and Daffy all have some feathers on their feet. Angel’s feet do not. Angel and Daffy have black feet (actually, Daffy's would eventually be more gray in color). Perky’s feet are pink. Billie’s feet are black and white.
Chickens LOVE to peck each other. It’s mostly not harmful but you have to keep an eye on it! The morning of 4/22/18, I saw Perky eat a mealworm and chick starter. I told you; she’s ahead of her game! Perky and Daffy are super fluffy now while the others look wet but are not. The evening of 4/23/18, I opened the three eggs that did not hatch. The one that had pipped had made the hole in the main part of the egg and not in the air cell. Before I knew that that baby was in trouble, he/she had already suffocated and/or drowned from the oozing liquids in the egg. The baby looked just like Angel, had a fully absorbed egg yolk, and was ready to be born. The other two babies died before making it to the end. The smallest egg I had was moving on Day 14 but must have died a few days later as he/she was very tiny. That baby had yellow feathers. The other egg died sometime around Day 18 and also looked like Angel. Its yolk was not absorbed. I buried the babies. The next morning, someone (guessing fox) had dug them up and ate them. Such is nature.
By the morning of 4/23/18, Perky, Daffy, Billie, and Angel are all eating mealworms and finely chopped fruits and vegetables. I put in about eight mealworms but I think Perky ate most of them! Billie and Angel have preened a lot of the gunk out but still look abnormal. Angel is always cold and sticking his head up against the heater. They are getting better though so they should be okay in the long run.
I call the babies chickweeds because they are growing like weeds! So, Perky, Daffy, and Billie are all frizzles. Angel has regular feathers. He does not seem to have anything special about him but he did come from a green egg so, if she is a girl (nope, boy!), she will lay green eggs like Americaunas. Perky was a total nut for about the first week being the first to do everything and the most active but she has since calmed down. I am even wondering if Perky could be female (yep!). Billie has the most comb growth so far. Even though she does not act like a boy, Billie physically looks the most like a boy. Daffy is the most daring. She is always hopping and flying and wants to get out of the brooder. Perky is still the one who wants to eat the most. All four absolutely hate when I pick them up but I still try to pick each up at least once a day to feel them and kiss them on the back. They started tearing up the paper towels at about two weeks old just like my previous chicks so now I am just putting new newspaper over the poopy paper. The contractor finally showed up on 5/9/18 to start renovating the chicken house and run. Two guys worked for three days. They removed the old chicken poop and shavings from the house, pressure washed it inside and out, removed the old fencing, painted the house inside and out, replaced all the hardware (spring locks, barrel bolts, hinges, etc.), and put new fencing on the old structure because they did not have time to expand the run yet. Since they got paint on the dirt in the house, I put down a few layers of cardboard.
I put the chicks out in the run on 5/12/18, and they were petrified so I put them in the chicken house. It was 90 degrees F their first day out so they were very hot. The next day was cooler, and they went back to their old selves. Because it was raining, I kept them closed in the house. It is supposed to rain every day for two weeks now! At three weeks old, they are too young to be out in the rain. They were slipping on the cardboard so I put newspapers out there. They, of course, found a corner to dig in the dirt and peck at it and probably ate some paint flakes! What do you do?
It rained from 5/12/18 through 5/19/18, every single day! Over five inches! So, the little ones stayed inside, finally going out on 5/20/18. It rained again heavy on 5/22/18 so they were in again. That night, Daffy went up to the lowest roost to try to roost for the first time! Perky joined her but then went back down. I do not know if she spent the night up there because they were all on the ground in the morning. Daffy does not mind me holding and kissing her but the other three run from me like I am a predator (except when I have got those mealworms!). Billie has the most comb growth followed by Angel.
So, it is 3 weeks later. I am 95% sure that Perky, Daffy, and Billie are girls, and Angel is a boy. I wanted one rooster so that is perfect! Angel is a Easter egg chicken so he has basically no wattles and a very small comb which is not even red for that matter. Years ago, I had a rooster, Sugar, who was an Easter egg chicken (that was sexed at the hatchery as female; great job guys!) with very little in the way of comb and wattles. Boy, he was a nasty one. I have told Angel to live up to his name. After all, I saved his life twice on his first day when I had to open up his egg after more than a day trying to get out and later bathe him because he could not move due to yolk gluing his feathers down.
So, why do I think he is male? Even though he is the only one who is not a frizzle, he is now considerably larger than the other three, taller, longer legs. Nobody has spurs yet either aside from a dot. He is also getting the longer feathers down his neck. And, he likes to jump on the others and chase them around. In 4 months, I will have proof of sex when eggs and crowing start.
On 6/17/18, I went in the chicken house, and I only counted three chickens! What? I looked all around and then finally up, on the beam 7 feet in the air! There was Perky! So much for those that say frizzles cannot fly! Perky was first to hatch, first to eat, first to drink, and first to go up to the top! Now, she did not fly straight up; there are various boards below that that she used to get up. But, she was too afraid to come down so she actually let me carry her down. She usually would not let me touch her. It is still hard for me to call Perky a girl since I was so sure she was a boy!
Ok, by eight weeks old, I am 95% sure that this is what the babies sexes are and what breeds they look like:
Perky - Female Brown Frizzle Naked Neck
Billie - Female Black Frizzle Cochin
Daffy - Female Gray Frizzle Brahma
Angel - Male Black Easter Egg Chicken
So, by 7/9/18, I can still hold Daffy but the other three do every thing in their power to avoid my touch! Angel and Perky roost way up high now. Angel can fly down himself when I open the door to the run but Perky refuses to come down on her own half of the time. I was lifting her down but she kept scratching my arms with her talons so now I just push her off. Daffy and Billie roost on the lower areas. They must have trouble flying because they are frizzles but so is Perky, and she goes way high!
That morning, the chickens were fighting over something when Billie broke away with it. I looked in. It was a small toad! I had to get in there as fast as I could but it was too late. Somebody ate the toad which is mildly toxic. Years ago, I think it was my rooster Speckles who tried to eat a full size toad. It got stuck in his mouth by spreading its legs out, and Speckles was foaming at the mouth from the toxins with a toad stuck in there! I had to catch him and pry the toad out who did not survive the ordeal.
The morning of 7/25/18, I heard a nearly perfect crow! Angel started crowing at only three and a half months old! Not only that, but he is really good at it!
Update 8/22/18: Angel crows every morning. None of the girls have laid an egg yet. None of the chickens like me. ;-(
The chicken pen was partially renovated from 9/4/18 to 9/21/18. The run is now 2.5 times bigger. The chickens were locked up until the end of the day on 9/19/18 but survived. Perky almost never comes off the roost because Angel rapes her so violently. Daffy started staying up on roost all day too with Perky. For some reason, Billie does not mind Angel, and they spend the day out together. None of the hens have laid an egg yet. Hopefully, once that starts, Angel calms down, and now with a bigger run and roosts in the run, the girls will feel it is safe to spend part of their day on the ground. I have started closing Angel out of the house for about 10 minutes in the morning so Perky and Daffy can eat as they have both been starving in order to avoid Angel.
On 9/25/18, after work when I went to give the chickens their treats (freeze dried mealworms, crickets, and grasshoppers), there were two eggs on the bare dirt of their house. They were smaller eggs, light brown in color. The color is closest to the color from which Daffy hatched so, until I get eggs from all the hens, I assumed that she dropped both of them. I was totally wrong. It was Billie who was laying. She hatched from a very deep brown egg that was large but her eggs are small and light brown. It is unusual (in my experience) for a first egg to be perfectly formed, hard (not soft), with no bumps or problems. And, to have two at once is even more rare. They are identical so I am assuming Billie held them in long enough to drop two but I could be wrong. Now, I will have to start to figure out what to do with the eggs because I generally do not eat eggs! They are my grandbabies after all! As of 10/8/18, I have no evidence that Daffy or Perky have laid any of the small brown eggs that I have been collecting. I have seen Billie in the nest box often.
On 10/9/18, there were two eggs again, and one was slightly smaller and more pale. That one was Daffy's! I saw her in the nest box that morning. There was a second smaller egg on 10/7/18 as well so that was probably Daffy's first egg. Only Perky has to lay an egg yet. She was born from an ivory egg. I hope her egg is different in color than Billie and Daffy's eggs which look pretty much the same. Maybe they had the same father because their mothers laid different colored eggs. Well, Perky finally laid her first egg on 11/4/18 I think. I did not see her in the nest box until 11/5/18 but I got three eggs on 11/4/18 too. Perky's egg is identical to Daffy's egg. So, all three hens are laying small, plain brown eggs. I guess to get some colored eggs, they will have to have some daughters one day with Angel who hatched from a green egg. The Easter egg colored eggs are usually dominant.
So, previous to these new chickens, I had chickens for 15 years, and I almost always had at least one rooster with anywhere from one to three hens at most. At times, I even had two roosters. While the hens would lose some feathers on their back, it was never an amount that worried me. Beginning in November 2018 though, Billie's back was really stripped of feathers with small cuts thanks to Angel, the not-so-Angel rooster, mounting her. I ordered a couple of saddles. The first arrived and was too small. While waiting for the second, I noticed that Daffy was not going to the high roost at night, and I went to hug her on 12/18/18 and saw dried blood. Lifting up her wings, I found that she had deep gouges under both of her wings from Angel's toe nails. Perhaps Angel slipped off of her back. Poor Daffy was hurt! I poured hydrogen peroxide on the wounds and put on some Neosporin. While the wounds went through all the layers of her skin, they were not fresh so stitches were not a good idea. And, the closest vet that sees chickens is an hour drive away. I ordered another saddle and some spray for injuries, and Amazon delivered it the next day! I brought Daffy inside on 12/19/18, treated her wounds, and put on her new saddle. She seems mostly okay with it but, the next morning, both Angel and Billie were regarding it as something new and strange and tried to peck at it a bit. Billie's saddle should be coming soon. I guess I will buy two for each hen so I can change them out for laundering maybe once a month. Perky's back looks normal, and she would be hard to catch so I may not put a saddle on her, at least until there is a problem. This is new to me, using the saddles so I hope they work! Angel is pretty aggressive now with me but I know he is just doing what he is programmed to do. For some reason, he sees me as a threat and not as his mother/friend. Billie's saddle arrived on 12/20/18. It is thicker so her wings stay under it so she cannot fly. On 12/24/18, Daffy was not interested in mealworms which has me really worried. Her wounds look like they are healing with no obvious sign of infection but she could have septicemia.
By February of 2019, Angel has become very violent with me, throttling me when I try to bring in food in the morning so that food goes flying and my feet get bruised, biting me when he is on the roost, drawing blood. I found an old snow shovel which I now put in front of me when going in the cage when he is off the roost. You know, I had designed Chickentopia with an attached extra little house and run but the bleepers who I hired to build Chickentopia never finished before they made me mad, and it takes a lot to make me mad! If I had that extra area, I could put Angel in there for a time out at the very least. Instead, I should change his name to Satan. I keep telling him that I saved his life four times on the day he was born but he does not seem to get it!
When I came home on 3/25/19, Perky was in the nest box which was not unusual. But, I kept checking, and she was on the nest way after dark. She has gone broody! I have two nest boxes (plastic dog houses). There was an egg in the other one that I gave to her that night, and one from Billie the next day (Billie's eggs are a little darker, larger, and splotched). I do not know how many eggs Perky has besides those two. I collected all the eggs on 3/24/19. I will not add more eggs, or the hatch would be staggered, and the late-added babies would be left on the nest to die.
The morning of 3/27/19, the other three chickens were acting weird. They normally cannot wait to eat their food. Instead, they stayed in the run. They may be confused without Perky and also with the door between the house and run left open over night. Perky is a high strung nut. Billie and Daffy are sweet and motherly. So, for Perky to be the one to want to brood was the last thing I would have expected!
The eggs are due to hatch 4/15/19 and 4/16/19.
On 3/30/19, when I tossed some no waste wild bird seed in the run for the chickens, Perky came sprinting off the nest to eat it. I went and looked in the nest box. There were five eggs. When I came back a little later, Billie was sitting on the eggs. Perky did not know what to do so she went and sat in the other nest with no eggs and sulked. I waited a short time and went back out, and Billie was off the eggs but Perky was still in the other box. So, I did not know for sure which egg that Billie had just laid as they were all warm. I put pencil x's on the now six eggs so that I will know if any new ones are added and which ones that they are. I then put a screaming Perky back on her eggs, and she was very happy to be back! It has been so cold but I guess Perky is keeping them warm. Now, I worry if the other chickens will harm the babies. I have had a hen brood three times before, each time with one single baby surviving. The first time, another hen tried to kill the baby Speckles, and I had to separate them. The second time, I separated them before the baby came and until Chickie was older. The third time, I did not separate anybody, and except for being stepped on a few times, Petunia survived. On 3/31/19, I tried to cut wire to put up the divider between the main run and the quarantine run that the contractors never completed. I basically just made a hideous mess, and I need help!
Perky came off the nest for breakfast on 4/3/19 so I checked on her eggs. There were now eight of them! I went inside and got some disposible nitrile gloves and then came out and looked at each egg for the marks that I had put on them. I removed the two that did not have x's on them and put them in the woods for someone to eat. I did not want to see the babies inside that were developed anywhere from 1 to 4 days along. Her other babies are from 4 to 9 days along. I do not know yet if I am going to try to incubate the later eggs because they will be abandoned (assuming the oldest eggs hatch). Either Billie or Daffy or both are laying eggs when Perky gets up or maybe next to her. Perky may think, "Oh cool, another egg! Let me take that one too!"
So, Perky continued to come off the nest when I was there about 70% of the mornings. Each time, I would put on gloves and go through the 7 or 8 eggs to remove the ones that were not marked. On 4/8/19, I had a handyman help me create the quarantine run area by putting up more fencing, plywood, and a gate between the two areas. I was not sure if I should try to separate Perky from the others but made the choice to close the gate the morning of 4/9/19 so that now Perky is living separately from the others. Daffy could see Perky's food bowl and kept flinging herself on the wire trying to get it. Daffy is sweet but not too bright! She had plenty of food in their regular spot.
Perky did not come off the eggs the morning of 4/15/19 to eat as she had been. Later in the day, I heard the first cheep. The next morning, I saw the first baby, a black one. I named her Georgia. When I came home on 4/16/19, Perky was out of the nest box. Before even looking at the babies, I grabbed the remaining two eggs and ran them in to the incubator. I did a quick candeling. They were near term but not piped. I do not know how long she was off of them but I will give them a chance. Back in the chicken house, I found that Perky has four babies! Two are black. The black one with a yellow chest is Georgia. The all black one is Dusty. The dark gray one is Dulcinea. The light gray one is Iris. Since their father was black at birth, it is hard to say which babies came from which mother. I would think that the two black ones are Billie's. The lighest one may be Perky's since she was yellow at birth. The medium gray one may be Daffy's since she was gray at birth. But, in reality, Billie could be mother to any of the black ones and either Daffy or Perky could be mother to the gray ones. None of the babies has a naked neck (which would be a give away that Perky was the mother). I did not notice if any have feathered feet. If any do, they cannot be Perky's but both Daffy and Billie have feathered feet. The youngest egg in the incubator I know was laid by Billie. The other one is probably hers but could be Daffy's. Perky was really in to grooming herself, and she sort of stepped on the babies multiple times but otherwise is a good mom. When Perky relieved herself, one of the babies tried to eat it! Yuck! They were pecking at things but not big eaters yet at only one to two days old.
On 4/17/19, I was able to note that all the chicks have black legs which is not surprising since Angel is their father. I still did not note if there were any feathers on the feet but I did not notice any (without looking that is). I put a tarp over their run that night as we are going to get bad storms on 4/19/19. I noticed that Perky had managed to get the poo pots in the plastic dog house for the night where they were born. If they do this during the rain, then they should be fine. So far, Georgia, Dusty, Dulcinea, and Iris are all acting the same, nobody seems to be more forward or nutzo than the other. They are all pretty calm.
When I came home on 4/17/19, one of the eggs in the incubator had pipped. I cheeped to her, and she responded. By three hours later, not much had changed. There was a small hole at 9:15 pm, and then at 9:55 pm when I checked one more time before going to bed, little Ariel was out and cheeping. She looks exactly like Iris, a sort of grayish yellow. Since Perky could not be Ariel's mother (once a broody hen starts brooding, she will not lay more eggs), and Billie's chicks are most likely all going to be black, that means that Daffy is probably mother to Iris and Ariel and probably even Dulcinea for that matter. That would mean that none of Perky's chicks were her biological chicks. I had trouble falling asleep and woke up a little before 4 am. I knew that Ariel needed to go under Perky under cover of darkness for her to accept her. I really did not want her in the incubator all day by herself and not bonding so I went out at 4 am with her in a bucket on a towel. She was cheeping. As soon as Perky could hear us coming, she made her "Here I am, baby, come to me" call. I got down on the ground, and Perky was up on her haunches. I stuck Ariel under there. When I went to feed them around 7:20 am, they were all out, and I could not find Ariel at first but then she came out from under Perky. She is not much smaller than the others but she is much more still and confused (and not yet hungry). Perky has accepted her. As long as she gets enough time under Perky for warmth, she should catch up.
The last egg was due on 4/20/19, and Hope hatched between 8:30 and 9 pm! The incubator was acting up so I put her outside around 10 pm. The next morning, Hope was chirping that she was cold, and Perky was totally ignoring her. I tried to set up the heater out in the run but Hope would not stay under it so I had to bring her inside. She is alone and cheeps for long periods. She and I are becoming buddies. She mostly wants mealworms out of the deal. Hope is all yellow with a little eye liner.
The five chicks outside now have their first wing feathers coming out. Dulcinea and Ariel look to be frizzles but not Georgia, Dusty, or Iris. I will make a table on my next chicken page with everbody's attributes.
Now, the big questions are which chicks are male and which are female, will they get along, and what will they all look like?
Go back to my chickens' page.
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