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Raising Cute Chicks

On our continual journey to become a more diversified and self-sufficient farm, we tried incubating our hens’ eggs for the first time this year.

So far, we hatched three healthy chicks out of ten eggs. The odds are not for us, but it was our first time incubating. Heck, we were not even sure if the eggs were fertile.

We picked our eggs from the nesting boxes, stuck them in the incubator and hoped for the best. There was no method to decide which eggs we were going to try to hatch out. All I know is that I have three roosters in with my hens and at least one of them did their job.

Very scientific, I know.

Incubating our random eggs was merely a way for us to show my daughter that chicks come from eggs. My daughter loved the process and once she realized that the eggs turned into baby chicks, she was astonished. The look in her eyes when we showed her the first chick was of pure excitement and revelation.

When the second chick hatched, its’ leg was stuck to the inside of the eggshell. My husband carefully pulled the chick’s leg from the shell and placed it in the brooder. For a few days, it hobbled around and we thought for sure it was going to have a bumbled leg for the rest of its life, but like all things it just needed some time to heal. The chick is now running around with no gimp in its gait and is healthy.

I did not even know that a third chick had hatched until my daughter said something. She looked in the incubator and yelled, “Mommy! There’s a shick!” (She has trouble with the “CH” sound). I do not know why, but at first, I didn’t believe her. I thought that too much time had passed from when the first chick was born. I had assumed all the other eggs were duds.

Nope this little chick was crawling its way out of the eggshell and so I opened up the incubator and put it into the brooder.

The other curious chicks came over to investigate.

The oldest one pecked at the newest hatchling, nature is not forgiving that is for sure.

It then saw the little bit of after birth and started to try to eat it. Of course, my daughter is asking me why this chick is trying to eat something that really shouldn’t be eaten. I told her it looked like a worm and so they wanted to taste it.

Honestly, what do you say in these situations?

The three chicks are now living in my dining room in a large round barrel that my husband cut down as a food trough. We lined the bottom with paper towels to prevent the chick’s fragile legs from splaying and a heat lamp is attached to the side to help keep them warm.

My daughter assisted by putting food and water in the brooder. She definitely made sure the chicks would not go hungry for some time as she dumped about three cups worth of chick starter into the feeder.

She checks on the chicks in the morning and then again at night when she gets home from daycare. Even my nine-month-old son loves looking into the container and watching the babies scurry around.

Sometimes, it is good to get a child’s perspective on things. The wonder of birth and new life is an amazing accomplishment.