Part-time Blogger about life at Paradise in Disguise Hobby Farm, which is a small scale NY Breeder of Catskill Homesteader Chickens, Muscovy Ducks and Heritage Turkeys; Our poultry not only supply our eggs and meat, they also help make rich, dark compost for our Back to Eden Gardening.
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Chick Hatching Diary Part 1
My ears must kick into “mother mode” when I have chicks hatching, because I don’t sleep as deeply and often wake up in the middle of the night to check on their progress. This time is was around 12:45am, and everything was mostly “quiet” inside the hatcher. Chick #1 was drying off nicely, lying on top of the other unhatched eggs. It has jet black fuzz, a small comb, and hatched from a khaki green egg laid by one of the CH hens in the PA coop. There were a few other pips in the other eggs, but no further action. …
At 5 am my alarm went off, and I could hear loud peeping coming from the hatcher, like there was more than just one chick in there. Sure enough, two more chicks had hatched during the early morning.
Chick #2 hatched from a blue/green CH egg laid by a hen in the SFH breeding group. It looked to be all “blue”, and since “Blueberry” is in there, I’d assume that would be her chick. As the chick moved around a little on top of the other eggs, I noticed it had yellow legs and white “speckles” on its face. It looks to also have a white belly, but I’ll have to wait until I remove it from the hatcher.
Chick #3 hatched from another blue/green CH egg x SFH roo. It was still pretty wet, so it’s hard to tell it’s exact color right now, but it looks to have multiple colors including brown, black, white, etc. It too has yellow legs and a small comb. It definitely looks to have some SFH influence, even though it’ll just be considered a Catskill Homesteader. While I am crossing the SFH with them, I will make sure there is no confusion between the pure SFH and their crosses. And I refuse to sell the crosses as pure SFH, as that is just wrong and being dishonest. Besides, they loose their white “flowers” as adults, as I had several roosters and one pullet that were SFH/CH crosses last year. Some had a few white spots as young chicks, but their adolescent feathers lacked them. Eventually, I’d like to cross some of the SFH/CH back to the SFH and save out any ones with “flowers” to add some extra interest to the Catskill Homesteader Chickens. The one SFH/CH pullet I hatched last year is laying a creamy light brown egg, which I can’t tell it apart from the pure SFH. Therefore, she’s in with the PA coop CH breeding group, and it’ll be interesting what her chicks look like, being ¾ CH, ¼ SFH.
I was updating these blog posts for the last few days, and heard more loud peeping, usually indicating someone new has just hatched. Sure enough, chick #4 made its entry into the world! It’s currently sitting and peeping from it’s light brown egg shell, which has “Dad’s Coop” written on the side. It has a single comb, as I was expecting, and while it’s still wet, it looks to be also “multi-colored”! These Catskill Homesteader chicks this year are looking even better! I’m already preparing myself for when I have to let them go to other homes, as I know it’s going to hard! But, as long as I keep a few to grow out, I know there will be more, Lord willing! You know how I mentioned in my previous post about it being hard to select which eggs to incubate? Well, it’s even harder to select which chicks will I keep and which ones to let go.
Now, if I can just add another page to my website, and have people add photos of their chicks as they’re growing up, then that should satisfy my desire to see “what they look like” when they grow up.
You see, that’s what is so fun about these Catskill Homesteader chickens I’ve been working on. From the moment they hatch, it’s sparks my creative imagination and I love the “mystery” of watching them grow from only a few minutes old to the time when they lay their first egg or crow for the first time.
You know that “box of chocolates” I wrote about the Swedish Flower Hens & Icelandics being?
Well, so far all these chicks from the 2nd 2015 Hatch are looking to be “out of the box” and uniquely different from any other chicks I’ve hatched in the past. That means the Catskill Homesteader breeding project is making progress, and we’re well on our way to reaching one of the goals = multi-colored, uniquely patterned “eye candy”! While Red Sex Links, Rhode Island Red, Leghorns, Barred Rocks, etc all have their purpose, function and are well-known for being the go-to breed for egg layers, you know from day one what they’re going to look like. And if you don’t a Google image search will show you.
But, for myself I prefer not knowing, as that’s what makes raising these CH chicks so much fun!!
---- Wait a minute ! --- I have another chick, as it hatched under the container with the sponge in it, so I didn’t even know it was trying to hatch! I can only see its feet and “silver” wing once in awhile, but I know #5 is in there. All I know is that it’s in the cage with the green CH eggs from the PA coop. It’s getting more exciting by the hour! If I don’t get going and out of my room, I’ll be here all day, doing nothing but watching chicks hatch! See my point, I wrote more and the chick has now moved into view. It’s dark gray with silvery gray wing tips, dark legs; it has a red navel, but that should finish closing up shortly. There’s a few other pips and possibly two in the process of zipping. It’s now 8:45am, and I better post this before anything else happens!
Check back for another exciting episode in the “Chick Hatching Diary!”