About Me

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Portland, OR, United States
I am finishing up my midwifery apprenticeship and plan to be a real midwife early in 2014!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

little chickies

Meet Mama Bear. Mama Bear really wants to be a mama. She's been a mama before, but chicken mothering is short-lived. Their babies really grow up too fast. In 6 months, the babies are moved out into their own apartments drinking way too much beer and doing things their mama really doesn't want to know about.

We adopted Mama Bear a little over a year ago, and I can't tell you how many times she's gone broody in that time. Broody is when a hen wants to hatch eggs. They'll sit on any eggs, or none at all if they're not available, and lose all their underbelly feathers and ruffle out the rest of the feathers to make a larger warm place for an optimal hatching area. Yes, even if there are no eggs to be hatched, or if the only eggs available have not had benefit of being fertilized by a rooster.

So, to make my Mama Bear happy, I obtained some fertile eggs from the chicken goddess herself, Tonya. She's who gave us Mama Bear to begin with, and understands Mama Bear's longing to be a mother. I asked for 3 or 4 eggs, and Tonya gave us a dozen. Huh. She's really evil that way. ;-) In exchange I gave Tonya some of my homemade chocolate soap.

So, that was three weeks ago yesterday. I put the eggs under Mama right away and she's sat on them faithfully ever since. Chicken eggs usually take about 21 days to hatch....so we should have been on schedule to hatch yesterday. But all there is so far is a hairline fracture on one of the eggs. I'm trying to resist the urge to check them any more than, oh, once an hour or two.

When we lived at St. Nicholas Ranch was the only other time that I've had eggs hatch. A hen got broody and sat on some duck eggs! I thought it would be great to have more little ducklings around (because ducklings are the absolute most cutest baby animals in the whole world....and then they grow up to be funny, klutzy adults!) so I let her sit. Ultimately, we had three very cute little ducklings hatch, with a chicken mama. But I thought they were late, and then I thought surely the eggs weren't viable anymore, and finally I thought, gee, it's so hot that surely they are rotten and might even explode and make a terrible stench. So I decided to break one open and see what was inside.

And was instantly so regretful that I'd done that. Because there was a live little duckling in there that couldn't possibly survive now that I'd broken it's shell. I couldn't even actively kill it, and instead just buried it. I felt so bad! So, I will not be breaking any of these eggs, at least for another month.

So, here's Mama, in all her mama glory, sitting on her four eggs. Watch this space for news and pictures of new baby chicks!


Magpie Ima said...

I agree that there's nothing sweeter than ducklings. Kepp yer hands off those eggs! ;-)

ElizO said...

What are you going to do with all those chickens?