Many people think that spring is the prime time to get their hatching eggs and/or chicks, ducklings, goslings, keets, and poults – after all, the farm stores are overflowing with babies then – but hatching and raising poultry in fall (and even winter) can put a small farmer in a great position when spring arrives!Continue reading “Farm Fowl: Why Hatching Now Makes Sense”
Who says chicks and goslings can’t be fast friends? Despite their obvious differences, these two have shown me just how adaptable baby animals can be…and how important companionship is to their well-being.Continue reading “Animal Tales: Lonely No More”
It’s been busy – and productive – here on the farm. I’ve hatched lots of chicks this year, so it’s fun to focus on waterfowl for a while.Continue reading “Haiku: Growing Gaggle”
It’s hatching day for Silverudd’s Blue and Olive Egger eggs! At last check, the first external pip was on an SB egg (it pipped the wrong end, which isn’t necessarily a problem), and an Olive Egger had also made a nice, large crack in its shell. Over the next couple of days, there should be fluffballs running around the incubator and, when they’re ready, the brooder. If you like cute chick pics, stay tuned!
I can honestly say that I have numerous hatches under my belt: chickens, ducks, geese, and guinea fowl. Each hatch is different, and, sometimes, they don’t have good outcomes; fortunately, that’s not how they usually go. The last duck hatch, however, resulted in just one duckling emerging from five developing eggs. What in the world do you do with a single, lonely, duckling…in winter?
One of the ducklings died today. It was one of the last hatchers, the one with the most yolk that needed to be absorbed…which it did. Its navel had healed nicely and it seemed to be behaving normally until this morning, when it kept peeping, a sound very similar to a chick’s distress peeping. It wasn’t cold (it had easy access to the heat from “Mama Heating Pad”), its butt wasn’t pasty (I checked), and I saw it drinking. Its legs had grown stronger and it was much more coordinated today.
So why did it die? It’s a puzzle – there were no obvious signs of abnormality, it wasn’t injured, and even if it hadn’t eaten, its absorbed yolk could easily have sustained it through today. I know that I’m not going to have a definitive answer to this question, but I can’t help wondering if that duckling just wasn’t meant to live in this plane right now. I assisted it in hatching, and maybe it wasn’t meant to hatch at all…nonetheless, I don’t regret trying because the alternative (the duckling dying in the shell) would, at least to me, have been worse than it living briefly, interacting with other ducklings, dabbling in water, and being free of the confines of the shell. I’m just so sad that it never got a chance to take its first swim.
Wherever you are now, duckling, I hope you can swim, safely, to your heart’s content.