Adventures in Hatching Eggs: Pt. 5

in Barnyard,Beginner Barn

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It was Day 21. THE day.

It seemed like forever since I placed my order for hatching eggs, waited, got the package, waited another long day for them to “settle,” placed the eggs under a grumbling and growling Idee, and marked off 21 days on my calendar.

Each day I made a big “X” to mark off another day of setting, I wondered if this was an exercise in futility.  We got Idee in a batch of eight day-old chicks straight from a hatchery.  How could a hen who never knew her mother, or any mother of the avian variety, know how to pull this off?  The setting, the rotation of the eggs, keeping everybody properly warm?

Then, if we had any chicks, what would she think?  I mean, shucks, minding hard, dry calcium ovals is one thing.  How would she react if they transformed into alien creatures?  A newly hatched chicken is an ugly sight.  I think I might run screaming if I didn’t know what it was.  Would she embrace the little beggars or freak out?

It was a lot to ask of Little Orphan Idee.

And none of them would ever look like her, either.  It would be a very “blended” family.  None of the eggs were Buff Orpingtons.

It was early when I went out to the coop.  Dew covered my shoes as I walked across the too-tall grass and reached the coop’s screened door, listening carefully.  If there were cheeps they were drowned out by the early morning cacophony of songbirds in the hedges and trees.  I would have to go in there before I knew.

I went up the steps and into the coop hesitantly, fearful and hopeful at the same time.  Idee sat in the same spot she had inhabited for over a month, counting the pre-egg phase when I knew I had me one broody hen and took the leap of faith and ordered her some “real” eggs.

She was hunkered down as usual in her “leave me alone” position.  This time, though, I knew I heard something.

“Chip-chip-chip,” tiny squeaky whistly peeps.  A chick!  That was a chicken peep. There had to be at least one chick!  Oh! Congratulations, Idee!  You did it!  Good girl!

But still I saw nothing.  In the dim light, I drew closer.  Idee bristled a little and stared at me warningly. Her feathers moved strangely.  She seemed to be poking out in odd places.  She shifted somewhat uncomfortably.  And then I saw it.

A beak.  A tiny, teensy beak, pale and hesitant, it poked out from Idee’s buff-colored feathers near her tail end.  Then it was gone, my first glimpse withdrawn.  Ack! I waited.  The peeping continued.  Was it just the one, or were there more?  Now that I had sight of one, I wanted there to be more!

The head that first poked out peered out again, but just for a few teasing glimpses, then went back into the fluffy, feathery abyss.  This continued for a while, then, sure enough, a different head appeared.  Two chicks!  Yay for Idee!

Idee was basically immobile, except for some wobbling as her undersides moved and peeped beneath her.  She continued to glare at me, but was there a tinge of self-satisfaction in her gaze?  Or was that exhaustion?

Idee was taking it in stride.  The otherworldly transformation which had taken place beneath her downy, warm bosom seemed to be all right with her.

By now, chicks were popping out in multiple places.  Were there three, or were they just very maneuverable under there, dodging and darting aft to stern?  Was the hatching still in progress?  The chicks I saw were fully dry, fluffy perfection.  I wasn’t going to reach under there and see.  The mystery wasn’t over yet.  I would have to wait for a final count.

And, oh, I almost forgot.  I wasn’t alone in the coop.  I did actually take my camera:

Idee’s Big Day

 



{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Angie Davis July 14, 2012

The link for the pictures is not working. I so want to see those babies.

2 Carol in NM July 14, 2012

Congratulations! Thanks for taking video of the chicks. This has been a fun story to follow. Yay, Idee!!!

3 Amy July 14, 2012

Yaaay! I’ve been following the saga eagerly and I’m glad for a happy ending (or beginning? …cheesy.) I want to meet the little guys, so I hope there’s at least one more installment :)

Oh, and the video link worked fine for me.

4 ranch101 July 14, 2012

Hooray! Hatching is always so exciting. And yes, it’s amazing how hens just know what to do, even if they were incubated in a machine.

5 Blanca July 14, 2012

Congratulations, its a good job.

6 Maria July 14, 2012

Congratulations! Now just wait for them walking around with Idee at front. Chickens are great! I wish they were legal to keep in my town. Oh, just watching the video it make me feel so nostalgic of my childhood growing up on a farm. Thank you for posting your stories and the video.

7 Candace Lebel July 14, 2012

Finally! I’ve been hanging on waiting to hear the outcome. Yeah for Idee! More video please. I too want to see Idee and her brood out in the yard strutting and pecking. Thank you so much for sharing.

8 Lana in MI July 15, 2012

SO exciting!!! Thanks for sharing such a great story! I love your blogging style! Great video! Sure caps off the end of a perfect story!

9 alisha July 15, 2012

AW! So cute! Congrats Ida! :-)

10 Wanda July 15, 2012

YEA IDEE! You did good girl!

11 Robin July 15, 2012

Yay !! How exciting ! We’ve only ordered day old chicks before,never incubated the eggs.When does Idee let the chicks out for food and water ? ….and how does she introduce them to the other chickens? I’m very curious !! Congrats !

12 Tess July 15, 2012

Yeah! Way to go Idee.

13 Javalady July 15, 2012

Waaay to GO Ide !!

14 Elizabeth July 16, 2012

Good grief. I found myself clapping and cheering for her whilst sitting in my office. LOL Yay, Idee!!

15 Home Blogs July 16, 2012

Ahhh congratulations that’s great! Makes me want to have my own chicks…so exciting!

16 Megan Bayonet July 16, 2012

So wonderful. My 3 year old watched the video through twice this morning and was so excited to see the little chicks peeking out. We can’t keep chickens in our town so we’re living vicariously through you and Idee!

17 Suzette July 19, 2012

I sooo want my own chickens now. Congratulations and way to go Idee!! I have been following along and am so excited for both you and Idee. Hope to see and hear more on this story.

18 Wanda August 12, 2012

How many? And when do we get to see pics of Idee and her chicks?

19 Lorie December 28, 2012

Soooo awesome!! What a wonderful story! I too would like to see pics of Idee and her chicks.

20 Daisy December 29, 2012

Lorie–Pics (and some vids) are up! Put Idee in the site search bar on our sidebar and you’ll come up with more!

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