Last Summer my sister and I decided that the next time Duchess became broody we would give her eggs to sit on. As long as it was in Autumn. It is way too hot to expect her to sit in the chicken house for 3 long hot weeks in Summer.
We thought we would sit her on 5 eggs, 3 would probably be boys and maybe 2 would be girls. We already have 5 chickens (council maximum) but only 1 of them lays eggs anymore, so we wanted fresh young chickens, council rules be damned.
We went to a chicken breeding lady, she gave us 10 eggs but said most of them probably wouldn’t be fertilised as it was a bad time of year to be attempting this.
Allegedly chicken mamma’s just know if there is something wrong with the egg. Not fertile – get rid of it. Not developing right – get rid of it. Don’t like the cut of its jib – get rid of it.
We decided to put all 10 under her. She got rid of 2 a night for the first 3 nights. I didn’t have high hopes we would have any babies. She sat on 4 for about a week. Then got rid of another. Sat another week, got rid of one more. The last week we candled the eggs (honestly we candled them nearly daily, no expertise but so much hope!) They both looked right. In the final days we could feel the movement in there and hear cheeping. Beyond exciting!!!
On hatching day I pestered that poor mamma chicken relentlessly. Both the eggs had a small crack but neither had pipped properly and certainly no zipping. Dr Google was adamant that you don’t help a chick in the hatching process. This is mother nature weeding out the weak. So we left them. The next day one of them hatched!!! The cutest thing I ever did see. Mamma hen stayed sitting on the other egg for another 3 or 4 days, day 2 I could no longer feel movement in the egg. After I was damn sure it was dead I cracked open the shell and saw it had broken through into the air sac it just wasn’t strong enough to get through the hatching process. RIP Baby.
We called the survivor Baby Chick even though we had decided its name would be Cricket. Its name is still Cricket, I have used it approximately twice. Our plan was if it was a boy my cousin would come and take it away, kill it and eat it. I thought I was ok with this. I thought I was ok with this til Baby Chick was 11 weeks old. Then I suddenly realised I wasn’t ok with it. Really really not ok with it. It is the most trusting glorious little chicken. It runs to me, if I am crouching it jumps on my back, it loves heights and has flown from the ground to my shoulder. It walks the balcony railings like it can actually fly if it falls. It lets me pat and cuddle. I could not hand that over to die.
Last week there was a farmers market quite close to my house, there was a chicken man there, he said I could bring the chicken down and he would sex it. HE SAID IT’S A GIRL!!!! Baby Chick can stay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am never allowing Duchess to sit on Fertile eggs again. Not until I can keep the roosters if there are any boys.
Baby chick is the best, so clever! I cannot convey the levels of my joy upon hearing those words… It’s a girl.
Bring on the eggs!!