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The second incubated chick just hatched. The first one, now four or five days old, is very interested. The father is a Leghorn (we only have one rooster). From the markings on the first one, and the puffy cheeks, I think the mother may have been one of our Americanas. At first I thought Buff Orpington from the blond color, but now the darker marking are coming in, and I see the puffy cheeks I had missed before.
Here is the chick that our friends hatched in their tiny 4-egg incubator from an egg they got from our hen. They named her Yellow Bird. She’s probably a mix of Leghorn (our rooster) and Buff Orpington (we have several of those). But if the coloring changes with time, we may consider other hens. The hen that incubated her for the first couple weeks (before the incubator) was another Leghorn.
Here you see Yellow Bird learning to play video games using a touch screen.
Here’s our chick, making lots of noise as he stays in mama’s shadow and looks for tasty things in the dirt.
The rest of the hens (and the rooster) are leaving the chick alone, but he still hangs around mama for security. Not always a perfect plan — I saw baby go tumbling when he got behind mama’s foot just as she was vigorously scratching to dig up a nibble. He sat for a moment, trying to figure out what had just happened, but then jumped back up and ran back to mama. Chickens are not the best at figuring things out.
Many parakeet chicks have been raised here at the Birdfarm, but we usually buy our chickens as chicks from local feed stores and hardware stores. But our white Leghorn loves to set, and all the other chickens come into her nest box and lay their eggs there, and she sits on them as if to show them what maternal instincts are supposed to look like.
So when a friend wanted to incubate some eggs as a science project for her boys, we left her nest box alone, rather than collect the eggs for breakfast as usual. The friend brought her tiny four-egg incubator over, and we selected four eggs. We left the rest (about a dozen) under the hen.
Our friend sent us a wonderful little video of her first chick hatching after a couple of weeks (the eggs had been under the hen for at least a week). And today, two days after that, I went out to feed our chickens, and heard a familiar peeping sound. We now have one little chick, who stays very close to mama as they scratch around for breakfast.
We’ll leave the rest of the eggs where they are, and see if this one gets any brothers and sisters. Mama may feel at this point like she is done. We’ll see.