As i mentioned in the post, Introduction: The Chickens, we have been collecting the eggs from Norma and Wanda, our two Australorp hens and incubating them. Last Sunday the first lot were due to hatch.
We waited for a few hours however nothing was happening so we went to our church’s night service. When we came back, we had a look in the incubator and sure enough there was a baby chick!
After they first hatch, you are meant to leave them in the incubator until they dry out and fluff up a bit. We took the opportunity to take a photo while we transferred it from the incubator to the makeshift brooder (set up in the spare room). As there was only one chick for the first day we didn’t want to put it in the large brooder Kel has made because it would be the only one.
Two more have hatched since Sunday, however sadly two have not – Kel has candled the eggs and there is growth however no movement. We’ve left them in the incubator just in case however if they haven’t hatched by the weekend we will take them out and bury them.
Experiencing this was very emotional for me – not in the sense that i was crying or anything (as likely as that is for me), more in the sense that we had this new life in our care who was so extremely fragile. I was so scared that we would do something wrong and it would die (i know, i have a very positive outlook, don’t i?). We made it through the first night however not without any hitches!
Instead of heat lamps, we are going to be using reptile heat mats as they are a lot more energy efficient, the chicks become used to the day/night cycle because there isn’t a constant light shining, there is no risk of a fire starting, and you don’t have to worry about the globes running out – which is what happened. You see, our reptile heat mats are coming through the mail (like almost everything we buy because we live in the country) and they had not arrived yet so in the interim Kel used his old disco spotlight, which puts out a lot of heat. In the middle of the night i woke up to a constant cheeping. I went to check on the chick and sure enough, the globe had gone. I woke Kel up and using our bathroom heat globes, he made a makeshift heat lamp. Soon enough the chick was warm and sleeping soundly again. Needless to say i slept very lightly for the rest of the night.
The three chicks are now in the large brooder (set up in the shed) with another batch of eggs ready to hatch in the next couple of days.
Our next update on the chicks will be Kel showing you the brooders he created out of recycled material – when you see it you will be very impressed by his ingenuity!