Sunday, June 21, 2009

First Chickens Hatched The Old Way

For a little background a few of our evolving principles for developing our property are:
- Do things the way that is the most effective and closest to nature as possible.
- Keep it sustainable

As part of that process we have been closely watching our hens for the one or two that demonstrate the most broody behavior and it appears one of our banties is the clear winner. She has been trying to be broody for months but the other hens either squeeze into her nesting box pushing her out or we had an unfortunate issue with having the mobile coop she was in crush the eggs she was on during an extremely heavy rain with significant wind. So this time we put her in a large dog carrier and moved her into the house since we have no barn, yet.

It has been 21 days and 3 of the 5 eggs have hatched and we are closely watching the other 2 although she still seems to be working hard at keeping them warm and under her (Update: they never hatched). She appears to be a wonderful mother and is keeping the babies under her and doing an unusual throaty sound when they get out from under her for too long. We are now doing research on how to handle her and the chicks and when to incorporate them into the hen house. Unfortunately some of our hens are pretty aggressive and so we will probably take a more isolated approach till the chicks are older.

This is good news and if we can successfully replicate this we will be well on our way to a self sustaining chicken flock. We will be marking the original group of hens and using the younger ones for our meat flock to prevent inbreeding. We have so much to learn but thank the Lord for His blessings on our homestead.

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