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Little Miracle

It had been a long day. It began at 1a.m. with the sound of a new baby - a lone, first baby in the incubator. You know, that particular cry that seems to say, "I'm wet, I'm tired! I want my mamma!!!!" It's such a heartbreaking sight to watch that first little hatchling wander around the incubator, looking for comfort! So, I was awake; chatting with the little fellow through the window, and then, finally, watching subsequent hatches take place all day. No matter how many hatches I've seen, I never tire of the process. It's incredible and beautiful.

Ah, but I did finally, and quite humanly, get tired. By 10 p.m., I was barely holding my eyes open. Nothing much was happening on the hatching front, so I finally dragged myself off to bed.

My sleep was fitful - and by 4 a.m., I was startled awake - not by any sound, but just a sinking feeling that something was not right. I hurried into the kitchen and switched on the overhead light. With eyes not quite adjusted, I peered into the bator. A fully zipped egg sat completely motionless in its cut out cardboard egg cup - not a terribly alarming sight - but then I saw the humidity gauge. 35%. What? How had it gone from the ridiculously high hatching humidities of the day to such a shockingly low number! I looked again at the little zipped egg. Nothing. No movement, no sound.

I quickly heated a moist paper towel and removed the egg. It felt stiff and sticky as I attempted to clear away some of the shell and membrane. Depressingly, it appeared I was in for a necropsy as I continued to chip, chip, chip...

Cheep, cheep cheep - so quiet, I almost missed it. Cheep, cheep - louder this time! There was no mistaking the sound - the beautiful sound of life!!

I quickly ran it over to my brooder heat lamp and continued to gently peel away the shells, dropping them on the bewildered little hours-old chicks below. My hands shook as I talked to the tiny fighter inside. "You're going to be okay, I'm going to get you out of there." Finally she uncraned her long neck and blinked her little Bielefelder eyes at me as I moved her back to the incubator to allow her to finish the final push.

I wasn't sure if I should be happy, or keep worrying. I'm fairly certain I did both until, gradually, the worry turned to joy as she began her wobbly march around the incubator! "Welcome, tiny Gretta, welcome to your new home! I'm sorry you had such a rough beginning!"

I found out later that my husband had watched her zip around 11p.m., just before he went to bed. She had been in that sticky shell for 5 hours. She's our little miracle!

Comments (13)

Aww....I am so glad you saved her!! :-)
She's adorable! Great story, so happy you were able to save her!
Aww, she is adorable!
Love a happy ending! Shes gorgeous :)
Glad there was a happy ending!
Congratulations, we've chosen one of your chicken pics for the Picture Of the Week. Thanks for posting your chickens to our "My Chickens" pages! You can find more info about our POW here: BYC POW process
Wonderful story, and adorable chick! Thanks for sharing!
I'm glad she survived. She is adorable! What kind of chicken is she?
Not sure what you mean by zipped?
@guinealeghorn Gretta is a Bielefelder!
@Betsy57 zipping is the stage of egg hatching, where the chick cracks the shell all the way around the egdes of the air sack! It's really more like "unzipping"!
Thanx. I hatched some last year and it is an awesome experience to see them break out through great struggle. Poor little things. But they sure do recover fast! I had one egg mama was sitting on and I thought it wasn't going to hatch so I set it aside in 40 degree weather. That night the egg began chirping so I put it back under mama. That was a miracle so I called her Mira. She was a tame gal and good layer.
Every hatchling is a miracle, but some more than others.  Enjoy your Bielefelders - I have several in my flock and I love them to bits (especially the roos - the most gentle that I have ever had!)
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