Success Story: The Miracle Chick

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by EggPlanter, Dec 20, 2016.

  1. EggPlanter

    EggPlanter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, as many of you most likely know, broody hens are considered the most natural and efficient source of incubation (since they are obviously meant to hatch their own eggs). Unfortunately, I had never experienced a broody hen so I had no experience to compare with opinions and facts. This was until earlier this year, when one day I was delightfully greeted by a brooding hen. At that moment, I was so excited I didn't know what to think. I had always wished to have a memory where one of my own chickens had hatched a clutch and I could successfully snap pictures of her teaching this "new" world to her chicks. Over the next few weeks, I decided to give that broody hen special care; her very own food tray and waterer along with extra straw and treats (cabbage or lettuce) if I had them at the time. One morning, I was once again surprised to see another broody hen trying to hatch her own clutch. I continued to do my best to take the best care possible of the future mothers and happily thought of all the happy little chicken families that were soon to come. On day 18 of incubation, I had 3 broody hens. Two surprisingly in the same nesting box working shifts, and one that seemed to neglect her eggs often. Amazingly, one afternoon as I was filling up the chickens food and water, I heard a chick "cheep". This excitement overwhelmed me and I lifted a mother hen to reveal a cute little chick hatching from the egg. I went on to quickly set down the hen and left the coop alone so I wouldn't disturb any hatching. The very next day there was no sign of any chicks. I dug around everywhere in the coop, lifted the hens and made sure there was no way of escape. That day I was sad there were no chicks, but thought perhaps that clutch may not of hatched right or that the chicks didn't survive (it was kind of cold outside at the time). This went on for about a month; check and take special care of broody hens, listen and perhaps candle for life and wait for the chicks. Confused on why their were no chicks hatching, I turned to the internet. I was horrified to learn that sometimes broody hens may not make good mothers and sometimes eat or accidentally kill their own chicks. "Surely not my hens!" I thought and told myself, but I knew my hens probably just weren't fit to be broody. Instead of completely giving up, I decided to give it one last go. I candled the broody's eggs and discarded the bad ones, I checked the chickens more frequently and gave the chickens more cabbage/lettuce so they would peck at that instead of new chicks. After all this work, I thought maybe I should forget about the broody hens and try to break them from their madness(broodiness). This was until, I entered the coop one day and was surprised by a cute little chick under a broody hen. I made sure the chick was healthy, notified my family and placed the chick back under the safety of it's mother(Or maybe not, because the hens kept shifting nesting boxes so it could have been anyone's chick). The next morning I was thinking positively, and why not nothing could possibly go wrong this time, or so I thought. After opening the coop's door, I was traumatized to see a tiny, limp chick body on the straw. The chick from the day before had been stepped on from the other chickens and killed. This was the last straw for me and I decided to stop the broody hens (that reason and because they were stealing all the fresh eggs and making more and more clutches). I began to collect fresh eggs daily, but for some reason I left the ones the broody hens were sitting on (maybe there was still hope in me). The realization that my broody hens were not working came over me and when I found out one had left it's clutch and had stopped being broody, I snatched her eggs (she was never a good mother anyway). The mother was a little stunned to learn someone stole her eggs, but eventually got over it. I decided to try and incubate the eggs myself for fun, and because I was tired of seeing dead chicks and smashed eggs. Unfortunately, instead of immediately bringing the eggs home that day, I left them outside all day with the hot sun the day and the cooler nights. Luckily, I was able to pick them up the next day and bring them home. While home, I had already setup my hovabator 1620n with automatic turner (loved that incubator) for the correct temperature and humidity. Since I transported those eggs a distance i decided it was best to candle them, and leave them right side up for their air sacs to re-attach if needed. As, I candled the eggs I was amazed to see the chicks were all developing at different ages; one was about 14 days old, three were about seven days and the other ones were only 1-3 days old. The next morning, I put the eggs in the incubator because I thought I had nothing to lose. I kept the incubator temperature and humidity the best I could, but on the fourth day I was beginning to lose faith. Day four was day 18 for the older developed chicked, but I never upped the humidity that much or took out the turner because I thought after all these eggs have been through it is impossible to hatch any chicks. That weekend, I received a call that surprised me. It went a little like this:

    "Hello?"

    "THERE IS A FLUFFY BLACK CHICK IN THE INCUBATOR AND THE CATS ARE TRYING TO EAT IT, HELP!"

    "What it has only been one week of incubation, that's impossible"

    "JUST COME HELP QUICK! THERE IS DEFINITELY A CHICK IN THE INCUBATOR!!!"

    "Ok, but you better not be joking."

    I did however end up going to check the incubator, but I was very confused about what I was told; "It's impossible, their pulling my leg" I thought. Well, that day I was completely wrong and came home to two cats ripping and eating up my brand new, not even a year old styrofoam hovabator incubator. Inside it was a curious, a little wet, black chick walking around the incubator. I proceeded to dispose of the cats ( locked them in another room) and looked at the chick in the shredded incubator. I couldn't help but smile as the next morning the chick I transferred to the brooder.

    Today the chick lives on and is known as "Tick" ( don't ask me why). Tick still continues to amaze me and has even surprised me by maturing into a rooster one day when I thought he was a hen his whole life. I did hand raise this chick and even though he isn't really that human friendly anymore as he used to me, he will always have a special place in my heart and mind as he showed me how wonderful and amazing nature/the world can be.

    Thanks for reading my success story and hope you enjoyed!

    P.S. The two broody hens went on to raising two handsome white roosters (one each) which I unfortunately had to get rid of, but they are both at a wonderful new home. Also, after Tick, the incubator was pretty much ruined from the cats destructiveness so I had to cancel the planned hatch and throw away my new incubator. Thanks cats!
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2016
  2. chippy99th

    chippy99th Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow, that's an awesome story! So amazing to finally have that chick be perfectly fine after everything crazy that happened! [​IMG]
     
  3. EggPlanter

    EggPlanter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for reading!
     

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