We bought an incubator and 2 batches of eggs. 1 batch of silkie eggs, we put into the incubator and 1 batch of Cochin eggs, we put under our resident broody. She had been broody for a month before we had any eggs, so we figured, we might as well let her hatch some and see how things so. Today, they all hatched at the same time, since last night, when we heard chirping sounds coming from the incubator and under the broody.
As it turns out, 4 silkies out of 16 hatched in the incubator today, despite the fact that we had a power outage, so these are our miracle babies.
Here are 2 of them. They were still wet in the incubator.
Our broody was also successful since this is her very first batch and hatching experience. She is a beautiful deep golden buff Orpington. She had been broody for over a month, with no eggs under her, and we couldn't break her out of her broodiness, so we decided to put her to good use, help us hatch eggs.
We placed all the incubator hatched silkies under her as well, so they she can fluff them up good and teach them how to eat. We have the brooder set up in our living room so everyone stays warm and safe.
As usual, our Airedales were on hand to welcome the day old chicks and the broody. Everyone was calm, feeling safe and happy, and the introduction was a great success.
A EE chick perches on Kimi's furry back, and Kimi learns to tolerate having a chick on his back. He doesn't enjoy it as much as Rummy does.
Cleo learns to perch on Rummy's head. Rummy enjoys interacting with the chicks very much.
CThe 3rd silkie in the hatch sequence. It has a greyish black body and a blonde head.
Rummy looks on as I give love to the silkie, who is less than 9 hours old, and the first time I was meeting it since I was at work. Rummy in particular is extremely cautious when there are young chicks around, he makes a conscious effort to move slowly, and make no sudden movements. I didn't teach him that, but he instinctively learned how to behave around new chicks.
Giving love to chickens and canines alike, makes me happy and content.
A blackish Large Fowl Cochin chick. Also 1 day old which my broody hatched.
Another beautifully colored LF Cochin. Not sure what it is going to be when it is full sized. What color will it be? This is another exciting part about raising chicks, its the wait and the anticipation for how they will turn out when they are grown.
An easter egger which was sent as an extra egg in the order. I didn't order any EEs but the breeder sent me some eggs of this, and it turned out to be a beautiful chick, with cleopatra eyeliner so we're calling it cleo for now. Cleo was perching on Kimi's back, the thick fur gives warmth and cushioning and the chicks seem to love perching on the dogs' backs.
Blonde silkie chick. It was one of the 1st 2 to hatch from the incubator. It is so cute. I hope it turns out to be white.
The 4th and last silkie to hatch. It is greyish black, so I think its going to be a blue silkie full grown. Because it is the most recent hatched, it is slower in motor coordination and sleeps a lot more. Its left foot toes were slightly curled in, so I emailed the breeder for advice and she suggested making a bandaid brace for its foot. I did it, and I'm hoping it will get straight and be strong like the others.
Cleo with gro gel. All the chicks love that stuff, and I think it is wonderful they are already eating and drinking even though they are newly hatched. The vitamins and enzymes will aid digestion and healthy chick development. Stronger chicks will result.
2 of the LF cochin chicks and surrogate momma broody, a buff Orp. She's such a natural. Amazing to watch how she just knows how to show them what to eat.
A LF black cochin. Someday, this chick is going to be larger than the surrogate broody.
A broody doing her job... "here, eat this, drink that"
Cochin eating chick crumbles we sprinkled onto gro gel.
All in all, it was a success story. 4 chicks incubator, 4 chicks broody... Cool. We are just over the moon, ooing and aahing over the chicks. Even the dogs are thrilled.
Hatching eggs has given me the opportunity to observe the difference in temperament, between birds that we hatch from home and those we order from hatcheries a day old. We've ordered many batches of day old chicks prior to this first hatch at home, and we noticed that the chicks we hatch ourselves are much quieter, calmer and sweeter. The ones that came from the hatcheries were noisier, just more restless and more anxious. I equate their traumatic experience of the first 2 days of life and their rough journey by mail to our home as the root cause. After they arrive, are fed and acclimatized, they are better, but now that I know this does make a difference, I am hesitant to order hatchery chicks again.
I'd like to be able to hatch chicks again, it is nice having an incubator because now it gives me an added alternative to where I can source my chickens. Now breeders and good quality birds become viable for us, when before, we were at the mercy of the hatcheries or feed stores. Now, we can also hatch our own chicken eggs from our flock, just for the fun of it, and for handling the chicks as early as day 1. It makes a huge impact on taming them and getting them used to our voices and physical contact.
Hatching eggs is an addictive hobby. I love hearing the peeps coming from the eggs, it is a wonder to candle eggs and see life moving within. The chicken hobby has given me hours of endless entertainment, delight, simple joy and excitement. I love being in the country. I love being able to raise chickens. It truly is fulfilling my soul in the deepest way I know.