Updates On The Farm Denizens

Batch3_Last_ChickIncubated eggs: batch #3 hatching is complete, with just one late hatcher left in the incubator. The chick in the photo was an unassisted hatch, but we noticed that one leg splayed out a bit, so we taped his/her legs together with a piece of bandage to help the leg straighten out. The late hatcher clearly needed some assistance, but we wanted to provide every opportunity for the chick to emerge on his or her own. When we did intervene, we began by partly opening the egg (last night) to see if s/he could kick out; when we checked this morning, s/he was still in the same position in the partial shell. An examination of the shell revealed that it had dried and hardened on the chick, effectively trapping him or her. We dampened the shell and membrane, but the chick seemed pretty exhausted, so we carefully peeled the remaining shell off, releasing the chick. The chick dried in the incubator, but didn’t fluff up properly, so we put him/her into a bowl of lukewarm water (chicken soup!) and bathed the amber-colored goop off. The chick fluffed up in the incubator, but seems to be having some trouble balancing; unfortunately, leg problems seem to occur fairly frequently with chicks who have difficulty hatching. We dropper-fed the chick some electrolyte water so s/he can grow stronger before joining the rest of the hatchlings in the brooder tonight.

Injured hen: we’ve been spraying the young hen’s wounds with wound spray several times a day, and she seems perkier. She’s also fiestier when we have to handle her to spray the wound – while docility makes our task easier, we know she’s feeling stronger, which is good. She’s in a crate in the laundry room and will remain there until the wound is healed enough for her to be reintroduced to the flock. We know she’d rather be with her hatchmates, but she must be isolated now for her safety.

Teen chicken integration: the teens “got” the concept of heading into the coop at dusk even more quickly than their parents did. Usually, most of the teens are in well before the adults. The teens have expanded their range from the barn and can frequently be seen foraging along the fence line or running around in packs like little velociraptors. The young roosters have found their voices and sometimes there’s quite a raucous chorus of crowing going on…some voices are definitely more melodious than others!

Broody duck: Coraline has been faithfully tending and guarding the 8 eggs in her nest. She emerges once or twice a day (it’s difficult to tell since we don’t constantly monitor her enclosure), eats some food, and bathes in the rubber tub that’s just for her. Her “broody house” shares the same enclosure as the duck coop, but no one is allowed to enter her domain – she’s closed in at night before the other ducks are allowed into the enclosure. Seems to be working well so far. One week down, only 4 more to go…

Rabbit does and kits: the kits are growing fast. They’re coming up on 6 weeks old now, and Waldo is back with his siblings. Even better, it’s impossible to tell which of the 4 white kits is Waldo now. The does go out on pasture daily (weather permitting), and they seem to appreciate the time away from the rambunctious kits. In a couple of weeks, the kits will go on pasture permanently. Time is flying by!