Things are still alive and kicking with the current chicken hatching, despite the set-backs and mysteries that surround it. When I left off last time, we’d had four chicks hatch from the first batch and were left with only three viable eggs from the second two batches that broody Paris had stopped sitting on after getting attacked by both body mites and red mites. We’ve had a sudden boom in the fly population as well, so I guess all the heat has been really helpful for not-helpful bugs.
The mites have been dealt with but Paris’ broodiness was broken nonetheless and she is back with the flock. I put the two Batch #2 eggs in the incubator after the first chicks had all hatched and the sole Batch #3 egg, one week younger, under another broody hen. No, not Frodo, who is actually being broody again right now, but young Morpheus, daughter of Andrew and Jemima. She has shown a lot of inclination to broodiness so far and has a seriously hard and accurate peck at hands that go anywhere near her when she’s sitting. She’s a force to be reckoned with! Since she was sitting so tightly and fiercely, I gave her the last egg to sit on in her nestbox in the coop and she has been doing a great job. She’s basically the only one who uses that upper nestbox so all has been well so far. Today I candled the egg when Morpheus was out for a quick snack and the chick inside is moving and growing.
As for the two in the incubator, one didn’t make it but the other one hatched overnight. Hooray! The hatchling is a darling blue chick and, of course, it is the feather child of Duchess, the hen at the centre of the red feather scandal. The egg under Morpheus is also from Duchess. Well, Duchess isn’t one of my ‘best hens’ for no reason… It is kind of good to have more Duchess babies though, as if she has been compromised by the red feather genes courtesy of frisky Thomas there will be more chance of it showing up. Now I just have to figure out what to do with these solo babies. Once the chick in the incubator is strong enough at getting around I will see if it can handle being with the four one-week-old chicks in the brooder.