Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Hatchlings

by Pa Rock
Farmer in Summer

I awoke yesterday to the sound of "peep, peep, peep" coming from the kitchen.  There, in the incubator that has been perking on the kitchen table for the past three weeks, was a tiny brown chick (a baby Rhode Island Red) that had just struggled out of his shell.  As the day wore on, his brothers and sisters began breaking free of their shells.  This morning the number of baby chickens stands at fourteen, with nine more chicken eggs still incubating.  The incubator is also home to two peacock eggs and three duck eggs - all of which could begin hatching in one week - on July 20th.

One of the peahens has been sitting on ten eggs in the barn for the past several weeks.  I had almost given up on her efforts - and so, I think, had she - when yesterday morning the dedicated nest-sitter introduced me to her new peachick.  Sometime later in the day she quit the nest and took her baby to live in the far side of the barn.  The mother appears to be very pleased with herself - and very protective on her baby.

Cosmo, the peachick who hatched in the incubator on June 17th, is still in the nursery with his four duckling siblings.  The fuzzy ducks are giants compared to Cosmo.  Yesterday the little peacock put up his small fan of tailfeathers for the first time - so the baby is growing up!  The new chicks will be ready for the nursery in a few days, which means that Cosmo and the ducks will have to move to new quarters.  I'm going to try to get the ducks to mix with the chickens, and I am going to put Cosmo in a special cage inside of the peaccockery so that he and the others can get used to each other before he joins the general population.

On the negative side of the ledger, I have recently lost several of the new chickens that I bought last spring to predators.  Of that group, I am down to one surviving banty hen and four Red Jungle Fowl.

So goes life at Rock's Roost!

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