We’ve just got in from an evening of brick laying. We’re obviously amateurs but it seems to be going okComments 2 comments
This post is long overdue, it’s nearly a month since the last one! As you can probably imagine, the ducklings have grown a LOT in the last 4 weeks since they hatched. To try and show this I have selected pictures with a few days apart;
It is a lot easier with the ducklings being outside in contrast to them being in a brooder in the house. The down side is that they are not as tame and literally panic and run when you reach into their enclosure to lift them out. It’s a mass panic, once one jumps up and runs, making the alert noise, they all crowd together and stand in the corner.
The new run is coming along. It’s back-breaking work!
Getting the trench marked out correctly and then actually digging it was a massive hurdle and I had to keep asking myself why we’re going through all this effort. But then when we step back and look at the parts of the garden we’ve already transformed, the final image comes back into view. On top of that I know that the dark, cold winter trips to sort out the chickens will be a lot easier and cleaner. It’s all been team work up to now which makes things a lot easier, and fun too.
In order to have room to dig the footings and lay the blocks I had to shorten the chicken run as it was in the way. This was a relatively quick job but means they have less room than ever so we keep making them temporary runs using the Omlet fencing and let them out whenever we can.
The chickens have been well noisy lately. It’s Star and Belle. They make this loud irritating squawk sound. I know it’s because they want treats or attention as they only do it when they see us either at the door or in a window. Also we are messing with their environment. It’s that loud though that I feel conscious of the neighbours. The only saving grace is that there’s seagulls nesting on a roof behind us and they are louder when they start singing, probably due to their height!
It’s unbelievable how quick they grow. They are literally as tall as Snowy now and starting to feather. It looks like they are all white and chocolate magpie coloured. It’s a real shame that they are not that tame but it’s to be expected, Snowy is their mum and our five fingered hands coming towards them are alien. It is strange though as when the first one – Oreo, hatched, it would come running out of the coop to see us and climb onto our hands, I even wondered if it had imprinted on us. I’ve started to spend more time with them and lift them up to pet them. They do settle but run off as soon as you put them back down. It’s a work in progress!
It has been great to let Snowy incubate, hatch and raise them though. If I ever let a hen hatch again in the future, I’ll make sure to spend more time with them to try and tame them a bit more in their first days.Comments 4 comments
An amazing weekend
What a weekend! The last post showed that number 18 had hatched, that was Friday. We kept an eye on them through the day and the little one quickly found it’s feet. We’ve named this one Oreo.
When the girls got back from school they were overjoyed to the news of the hatch. Oreo seemed to want attention from us and would run away from Snowy and into our hands! I wondered if it’s imprinted on us as Snowy was just a big fluffy heater when it hatched and we may have been the first moving object that it saw.
Meanwhile, Snowy was patiently sat on the other two eggs, number 15 and 16 although there was no sign of pipping.
The following morning I checked on them and number 15 had started to break out, this was great.
Snowy had a problem though, Oreo needed teaching on how to eat and drink, but the eggs needed to be sat on. She was back and forth.
Every check of the eggs shown that 15 wasn’t progressing past a certain point, and the beak didn’t look to be in a position to break any more shell, but I left them to their arrangement and we went out for a couple of hours.
They say not to help them hatch from the egg
When we got back later in the afternoon, Snowy had somehow rolled the eggs into the run and 15 was sat in the warm sun but was still chirping and moving. I moved them back into the coop and Snowy followed and sat on them. A few checks later and I decided to give it a little hand. There was no progress in cracking the shell and the beak was still in the wrong position to break any more. The main concern was that the membrane was all visibly dried out. The duckling looked strong and was pushing on the egg.
I gently peeled away some of the dried membrane and broken bits of shell and then placed the egg back onto the coop floor. Snowy was trying to peck it so we held her off, and Oreo was running around and getting involved too.
I’ve read that you shouldn’t help them hatch, the strong ones will get out. But this little guy had been through quite a bit already, and leaving it to dry out in the warm sun hadn’t helped. He needed a little hand.
On the next push the little duckling managed to get one foot out of the shell which seems to be how they get grip to progress to their final push. That final push was amazing to see, it was the first time we’d seen one hatch and all of us were there to watch. The little guy was tired.
We left Snowy to take over at this point, she was perfectly capable although I did lift the little guy and put it underneath her as it seemed to be looking for comfort.
There’s a few pics missing from the story now, but we do have videos which I will upload later. Unfortunately egg 16 was still showing no signs of movement so we removed it.
Next to hatch was number 8 in the incubator at about half ten on Saturday night. Sam and myself managed to watch this one hatch too which was amazing again especially with it not needing any help. As soon as it’d hatched and moved away from the shell I scooped it up and we took it to Snowy, it was dark at this point and we just slid it under her and she accepted it.
While the incubator was open I checked the three remaining eggs, number 11 had pipped and was moving happily in the egg but the other two hadn’t and were showing no signs of movement. We went to bed knowing that 11 would probably be out by the morning.
The girls ran down before us and then came back to say it’d hatched and it was another magpie coloured one. I went and scooped that one up, which looked like it had not long emerged, and put that under Snowy with the others, again she happily accepted it.
So it has been an amazing weekend for all of us and I think Snowy is happy. This last picture shows her teaching them all how to eat and drink, of which she is doing a great job.
One thing I realised this morning is how much easier it is this time around. We don’t have the brooder cage set up in the house, we won’t have to deal with any smells or noise and Snowy is delighted to be taking care of it all! Perfect!Comments 5 comments
Nature is amazing
I just went to see how Snowy is doing and I found this:
Snowy has finally hatched an egg, I bet she is over the moon! I hope the others hatch soon.
I have some different sized leg rings to put on these ducklings so we can keep track. This one turned out to be number 18.
Absolutely amazing!Comments 3 comments
It seems the eggs are OK
I’ve checked on Snowy and her eggs and it seems they are OK. Phew!
The first one I checked had little movement, so I’m not sure about that one. The second one was definitely OK, as I was picking it up and moving to the darkness of the shed the movement could be felt, then the chirping and finally the visible movement with the torch.
Then I looked for the egg that had already pipped, I left it there but got a glimpse, it’s OK! The duckling has broken through the shell further and is moving about!
Good work Snowy!Comments 2 comments