Well at the moment we have 6 healthy little chicks. One more hatched over night but we were forced to move mom and chicks down to the 'nursery' coop. I was setting more food out for the oldest chicks when mom gave me a loud warning cluck and well, her bowels cut loose in the nest. No wonder, poor thing has been holding herself for almost 4 days. She still had three eggs she was sitting on with no signs of pips in them. They were being jostled around by her and the chicks so I figured we had nothing to loose by moving them also. The chicks are adorable. Three have Welsummer blood in them, three look pure Buff O. I feather sexed two as possible pullets. The youngest was too young and the other two didn't have enough pin feathers to tell anything by their wings. I moved the eggs with her, set one down at her breast and she tucked it under her. At this point I'm concerned about her still being glued to the nest. One of the eggs is probably infertile, the other two, who knows.
Should I leave them till tomorrow and if they haven't hatched, pull them and put them in my 'bator until we are sure they are not going to hatch? The chicks are ready to be out and about with her. They are so cute. I put chick feed in the palm of my hand and immediately three climbed on to eat. Mom needs to be eating also. Her stool is loose at this point, I'm sure from stress. There is no sign of coccidia or blood. Just stinky loose broody poo.
But given the time of year, this being her first brood, 50% fertility the Welsummer eggs and on again, off again cold weather, I'm happy with 60-70% hatch rate.
Footnote. I just went out with chopped cooked egg to add to their chick feed and momma was off the nest with chicks in attendance. I gathered up the abandoned eggs and brought them in. Two were infertile. One was dark with a clearly defined air chamber and in the other I could see a little beak in the air chamber but no real movement in the embryo. They were cool to the touch but I still brought them in and placed them in the incubator. Not holding out much hope but 24 hours is all we have to invest to see if anything happens. On the bright side, Momma and babes are doing well. Momma has them sitting in sunlight that is coming in through the nursery window. The chicks are sitting in the sun dozing. When I just peeked in on them 4 of them had taken up residency in the low food bowl I put out for them along with their chick feeder. At one point the Buff O rooster came up and looked in the door. I told him he was a new father and that I'd bet real money that most of them were his. He actually looked at me, back at the window and then went about his business. Sometimes I wonder just how much they really do understand.
Edited by microchick - 2/28/16 at 1:39pm