Sunday, May 24, 2009

And the Hatching Begins!

Our first egg started hatching at school on Thursday. We were thrilled to see this little crack in the shell upon arriving at school.

It took the chick a whole day to get to this point, broken half way around the shell. A couple of things to point out. First, we wrote on the shell in marker. Bad idea. The shell is porous and it could have poisoned the chick. Thankfully, it didn't seem to bother this one. Write in pencil on a shell if you have to.  Second, I am not sure what I think about this little incubator. You can't control the temperature or humidity. The humidity is essential to their hatching. I think that this guy was suffering from low humidity.

At the end of the day on Friday we moved the entire incubator holding two unhatched eggs and one hatching egg to my house, their new home. I placed them in my big incubator to join their new brothers and sisters. 

When the chick still hadn't hatched I got worried. It had been many hours, over a a full day. I was afraid of it drying out and running out of energy. Thankfully I heard from a fellow chicken lover and experienced keeper of chickens. He told me that it was time to help it break free. I set up my chicken operating room and got busy. I had to carefully moisten the inside of the shell. Then I had to break away the shell, going around in a circle, just like the chick would have. Here is Dave inspecting the chick and my work.

Here is a close up of the chick still curled up inside. It was the first time that it saw me. "Are you my mother?" This baby chick is a black austrolorp. That is why it has a dark beak and feathers. Many actually hatch dark and grow light feathers later on.

Lleulu was watching the whole time. She didn't seem to mind what was going on.

Finally it came out of the shell. The poor thing was stuck to the membrane. 

I spent the next while slowly moistening and picking off bits of membrane and shell.

I think that I was picking off some shell here. The little peep was exhausted!

Here she is! Still wet, but ready to go. I put her back into the incubator to dry off and peep a lot. Hopefully she will get the other eggs hatching. 

She ended up with the name Wuella, after a student at school that was so thrilled about a baby chick hatching! Now she is dried off and in the brooder. I have to get a photo of her all fluffy. She has been peeping loudly, apparently to a peeping chick inside of a shell, inside of the incubator! We should have more hatching soon. I keep checking and no shells are broken yet.

Little Wuella has another hurdle to cross. She has splayed legs or spraddled legs. This is when a chicken looks like it is doing a split. She wasn't that bad, but couldn't stand on her own and walked like a drunkchicken, like I have ever seen a drunk chicken. We found this web site, followed the instructions and are awaiting the results. She already can sit up better. She should be standing tomorrow! Poor little Wuella. What a tough beginning to life! You'll have some siblings soon enough. Hang in there. 

I will have more to report soon. Stay tuned.... 


Jo said...

What a lovely little mother hen you are. This is so thrilling!!! Please keep up the updates.

Julie said...

That is fascinating. I'm so glad Dave was able to help you with your operation. I really enjoyed getting to see and hope the baby chick heals quickly.

Meghan said...

Oh my goodness gracious, friend! This is so cool! I love that you call her Wuella. I love everything about this chicken craziness you have going on. I kinda want to get some chickens now.

Can't wait to see you!

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