The chicks are now a week old, and I’ve finally got my act in gear to post the pictures of them coming out of the incubator.

One of them was thoughtful enough to hatch right in front of the little window. This is a picture of the egg cracking. You may have to use your imagination, Raven says this looks like a grainy horror film image:

We were a little concerned about who exactly they might be going to imprint on. Velcro was very involved in the hatch. I don’t know if you can make it out or not, but she’s nose to beak with a baby here:

Finally it was time to take them out. Out of 27 eggs, nine were fertile and six of those managed to hatch. Those are fine odds on the hatch, not so good on the fertility, but we’ve got both Patches and Crowley jumping on hens, and Patches is just now coming into maturity, so it isn’t surprising that the fertility was low. I believe Patches may be the daddy of some of the eggs currently in the big magic box (I put a new lot in right away) – there are a lot of fertile eggs this time around, but of course they won’t all hatch either. If the germ is weak, or the shell is too porous, or the hen was having a bad day, or the temperature mucks up again… there are lots of reasons for failed germ or failed hatch. But we’ll get some!

There are four black and two yellow chicks. (One of the blacks was hiding underneath the tray, and so is not pictured here!

We brought them out to the brooder – we’ve got a nursery set up in our smaller coop, which unlike the big coop has no openable windows and gets very very warm in summer.

They’ve got that huge tray of food so they can’t help but eat it – for a while (like about six years) they’ll try to eat everything, so some of what they try had better be edible! I also dipped their little beaks in the water to show them where that was and what you do with it. They caught on to the water drinking right away, especially the smallest yellow one. Water drinking is her Best Thing.

Here they are at day three, looking considerably fluffier and more traditionally chick-like:

Now they’re old enough to handle slightly lower temperatures, and so when it gets super hot we bring them outside to learn about the world. If you look close, they’re getting lots of little feathers already. The wing feathers come in first, and it’s my favorite stage because they’ll be all cute and fluffy everywhere else, but they’ll have perfect tiny feathered wings. I love that.

Ok, are you saturated with “cute” yet?  Next time I’ll post something dirty.

Meantime, here’s Blackie, dressed as The Queen of the May… you’ve got something on your head there, darling…

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