|The first little puff ball- he surprised us by being early.|
In November, my biology teaching sister hatched some eggs for a class project. They had one hatch out of 2 and a half dozen eggs. I had hatched just before her and only got 3 out of 18 eggs. I have never had hatch rates so pitiful. So, I decided to get to the bottom of the problem.
Considering the awful summer we had, I suspected the heat. I still think that was a factor. I also wondered about the potency of my rooster. This was the first time I had hatched eggs that he was responsible for fertilizing. I never witnessed much from him, but thought maybe he was a gentleman and private lives were just that- private. There are a few humans who could take lessons from that bird and then we would have a lot less “reality” on television. Anyway, I collected another batch of eggs once the girls were done with their molting.
Molting is when the chickens shed feathers and put on a fresh, new batch. The first time your chickens molt it can be quite a scare. You walk into the coop one morning and there are feathers everywhere! However, once you start counting chickens you realize that none are missing or injured. Then in a few days you begin to notice naked necks and bald spots. This is normal and during this time the laying declines and the fertility is decreased. I just learned from a very seasoned chicken fellow that if I pull the rooster away and put out a high protein feed like game bird feed, the molt will be over much quicker. That little tidbit of advice has been filed away till next fall.
Well, 21 days have come and gone and hatching began yesterday afternoon. I am definitely suspecting the rooster now. Out of 1 dozen, only 3 have hatched. All three are from the same colored egg and the chicks are identical. So, it would seem that he had a particular girl that he was cozy with and ignored the rest. One might equate this monogamy with being a gentleman, but in the farm world this is considered being a slacker. Time will tell, I won’t get rid of the eggs for another few days. We might have a few more pop out.
|Hands down, every batch of chicks thinks the top of the feeder is the best place to sleep.|
Hatching eggs is so much fun. You would think it would become mundane as many times as we have done it, but it doesn’t. I love seeing the chicks emerge. It seems to me that if anyone watched this they would have a hard time believing that there is not a Creator and all of this happened by accident. I also find it amazing that an egg can go from embryo to fuzzy chirping chick in 21 days- that is less time than it takes to grow a cucumber.