We’ve had the first chick of the year hatch.
It’s a little late in the year for chicks, that much is clear but it’s not been a good run really for our hens this year. We’ve had some false starts and some literally some bad eggs and this might be the only chick that makes it at all.
Batch One and Two
Our rooster hasn’t been very successful with the larger hens. He’s not the dominant chicken in the group. Renfield is and the three large chickens just throw him off if he tries to mate. Steve rolls over. We think he might have managed a couple of times, there were larger eggs that looked like they were fertilized but nothing came of them – two lots of eggs were sat on by Steve and then Clorida but they never hatched and didn’t really develop very far. We tried to break the brooding cycle by throwing them off the nest (literally), which worked for Steve thankfully but Clorida just carried on. But then she was the one who stuck with the eggs last year as well.
Clorida went right back on the nest and started gathering up all the eggs she could, mostly those laid by our smaller hen Krem who’s a different breed to the larger hens. They’re Scots Greys and Krem and Feathas the rooster are Thüringen. We’re not sure the two different breeds are compatible which would explain the fact the crossed eggs didn’t get very far. Krem’s eegs would be pure breed Thüringen, which this chick is.
It’s not actually the first chick to hatch, but the second. However it’s the first to live. The second one didn’t develop properly and was fused to the egg. It died when it tried to hatch and Clorida pushed it out of the next and down the coop. We found it in the morning unfortunately.
We were pretty pleased to see one had hatched finally – not because it’s been pretty sad to get no where with these eggs this year but for the sake of Clorida. She’s been sitting in that nest for over three months, nearly four and she’s lost a lot of weight. She needs to hatch an egg to get out of this brooding cycle she’s stuck in. Thankfully now one chick has hatched she’s eating and drinking more regularly, so she should put weight on again.
The Only Chick
She started with four eggs. One died in hatching. One hatched. Two are left but I don’t hold out much hope for either of them. She keeps burying one in the hay and the other never seems very warm when I go to check. I think she knows at least one isn’t going to make it, we’ll see what happens with the other one in time. If there’s no sign then I think we can call time on this years hatching attempt. It was a good try but Feathas isn’t compatible with the bigger hens and the weather may have been too unpredictable too. Krem herself hasn’t helped by arguing with Clorida every day wanting to lay her egg in the same nesting box as her (there are two nesting boxes for a reason).