A story about the chicken that wasn't

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Apr 6, 2015
My wife an I recently purchased a farm innovators incubator. I haven't used an incubator since I was a kid (25+ years ago) and I don't think my wife has ever used one. We were excited to get it set up and regulated and start our first eggs and so we did. We placed 16 mixed eggs from our Australorps and Orphingtons (we wanted some of the orphington eggs because we recently gave our oprhingtons along with our 3 guineas to a friend to help them start) in the incubator and decided to add 4 bantam eggs. On the eve of the 20th day our first egg pipped and at around midnight the first egg broke and out spilled our first chick (black with a white underbelly). The rest of the night and the next day was more of the same as 1 by 1 each of the larger chicken eggs hatched producing chick after chick until we had 16 new arrivals. 100% hatch rate!.....except the four bantam eggs lay silent. We went through many scenarios maybe that side of the incubator was too cold, but there were other eggs that hatched on that side too. Maybe we opened the incubator too much, but the rest of the chicks hatched as well. Maybe they were just bad eggs? We candled them with a flashlight. It was hard to see in the tiny eggs but there was definitely movement in 2 of them. Maybe we just leave them in and see what happens. Day 22 went by and nothing. Day 23 was the same then 24 then 25 then 26.

Day 27 would be my next day off and since I work nights, I generally arrive back home around 5am. I had already decided that I would shut the incubator down and remove home that morning. There's no point in postponing the obvious any longer. When I arrived home I opened the incubator to remove the eggs. I was disappointed that the little bantam eggs didn't turn out and I was at a loss as to why they never hatched. You can imagine my surprise when I noticed one of the eggs moving and saw the zip circling about half way around the end! I woke my wife up and told here the news. One of the bantam eggs is hatching! Sure enough a few hours later a small white chick burst from it's shell. He was wet and weak and helpless but for what I could tell he was healthy. To make the day better egg 2 had pipped and started zipping as well. The second chick was even smaller than the first.

It didn't take my wife long to realize once the chicks were dry and moved to their own brooder (they were WAY too small to bee with the other chicks) that chick number 2 was having trouble walking. She posted a thread here on BYC and received lots of helpful advise to help the little chick out but sadly a few days after the late little chicks hatch date he passed away. Over the few days he was with us we had grown attached to him, my wife had named him trooper because he was fighting a good fight and we were sad to see him go.

As sad as we were about chick number 2. I think chick number 1 missed him the most. He was too small to be in with the other chicks and now he was all alone. We had to do something to remedy this so we looked into the brooder. All the other chicks were so much bigger than the little white bantam and we were afraid they would trample him. All the chicks except one. Though he was still bigger than the little bantam and a full week older, this little black chick with the white spot on his head was the perfect brooder mate for the little bantam and hopefully would help end his loneliness.

I am happy to report that the match was perfect and the 2 little chicks are both doing well. Normally this would be the end of the story and I think most would agree that though there was sadness in this story there was happiness as well but the story doesn't end here. You see every good story needs a twist and this story my friends has one of those as well.

One morning while I was sleeping my wife came in excited.

"wake up I want to show you something!"

"What is it?" I said still half asleep.

"Get up and come look."

I got up and followed her to the brooder where the little bantam and the black chick were running around doing things that little chicks do.

"Do you see it?" she asked.

"See what?" "Look at the little chick she said. Look close."

"I don't know what I'm looking for." I replied.

"The little bantam" she said "I know why he hatched so late!"

Now I'm awake and interested. I had been racking my brain trying to figure out what was so different other than the 'fact' that they were bantam eggs.

"You're going to have to fill me in." I said "I don't see what you see."

Then she told me. I looked again. Oh my! It was so obvious. The way it looked, The way it chirped, The fact the although it was a 3rd the size of the rest of the little chicks it was noticeably faster. Everything about it. Our little bantam chick that was hatched 28 days after the rest........was a baby GUINEA!!

The End.

Thanks to everyone that helped with questions along the way.

That explains a lot. Was scratching my head as to why a bantam that is usually early would be so late.

Congratulations. I imagine it can live and be right at home with the chickens.

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