Eggs

The mixed eggs went into the incubator last night, just before midnight. The new eggs were admired by visitors candled and bought up to room temperature, before being set. I have kept the last Silkie egg in from the last hatch, in case it does peep.
The mixed clutch of eggs came from the ebayer seller named basterinscarsterin. Again this seller is a credit to eBay. The baby chicks are sleeping in the brooder as I write this blog. Henrietta, Ken, Barbie Q and Bruno are foraging in the garden. They do not know they may be getting a new member to join their flock tomorrow as Duane and I are off to the Moreton on the Marsh County Show. So watch this space……….I Love My Chickens :o)
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andy13582001 eBay Egg Provider

Just to share with you where I purchased my Silkie eggs. They came from eBay and the sellers ID is andy13582001 The eggs come individually bubble wrapped, the placed in an egg box, bubble wrapped again and posted out. Andy really cares about his eggs and Silkies and communicates well with his Buyers. I have posted my recommendation of Andy’s‘ eggs on various Poultry sites. Thanks again for the lovely eggs Andy. Pookie, Onion and Obama are currently in the Brooder all snuggled up together. I Love My Chickens ;0)

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Egg # 1, Obama is Born

Obama is born. The name could not have been more apt as we were unsure if the egg was still viable when we candled on Day 18. We decided to keep the egg in the incubator in the hope of a hatch. Day 21 came and I picked up the egg for a brief look as it had not peeped, however I did hear a methodical tap, tapping indicating the chicks’ egg tooth was doing its job. Egg # 1 was placed back in the incubator. Those that have been following the blog will know that Egg # 1 had started to pip on the morning of 02/09/10. At this time Onion, previously known as Egg # 5 was fluffing up its feathers and findings its feet in the incubator. Prior to joining Pookie in the brooder, she would regularly wobble over to the ‘yet to hatched’ Obama and throw her body over the egg and cheep encouragement at it.

I am pleased to say that Duane managed to make it home, photograph and watch the birth of Egg # 1 later that day. This chick knew how to zip the egg. I was contemplating calling the chick Zippy after the excellent job that had been done on the egg. The shell had been methodically chipped all around the egg. After a few big pushes a foot popped out. Those that know of Silkies, will be aware that they have five toes on their feet as well as feathers on the outer toe. Their skin is also black. Another big push saw the emergence of a cute, beaked face with a winking eye. Seconds later at 17.55, after a determined push the egg fully opened and the chick was displayed in all its glory. It was a splendid black feather chick, immediately Duane said “Obama, our first black feathered chick”.

Duane will be uploading the photographs of this event in the next couple of days. Obama very quickly found its feet and was weebling (I think I have invented that word) around the incubator like a penguin. Barry, Katie and Heidi arrived shortly after Obama’s birth, Heidi said ‘Oh cute chicks’. and had a quick hold of Onion and Pookie. Jack, Emily & Annabelle had their cuddles with the chicks earlier in the afternoon, having waited patiently since the chicks were born to see them. They were in awe of them and are eager to meet Obama, as is Rachelle.

Obama did not take long in making sure his feathers were dry, fluffed and dry and was able to walk. He joined Onion and Pookie in the brooder just before midnight. As you can see from the photograph, he has quickly adapted to a new environment. Duane introduced him to water by placing a drop on his finger and tilted the water droplet towards Obama who quickly drunk it. You have to teach chicks to drink and the usual method is to dip their beak into the water frequently for the first few days (hence me needing to take leave from work to make sure the chicks were safe and sorted). I have just had a look in the brooder and Obama is snuggled up under Pookie and Onion has her head resting on the Monkey Mum that I placed in the Brooder. Well done and welcome to the world Obama, you know how to get the job done without having to ‘showboat’.

I have marked and set the new mixed 12 eggs in the incubator and have also left in Egg # 4 from this hatch in case it is a late hatch. I did candle it today, there is an egg sac and the characteristic dark shape, however there is no tapping or signs of a pip. I will keep you updated. I Love my Chickens :o)

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Chick # 5 is now named Onion

I am going to keep the reason for Chick #5 being called Onion as brief as I can, however it was a bit of an Epic.
Those of you who have been following this blog, may be aware, Egg # 5 peeped in the early hours of Wednesday 1st September 2010. Some of the egg shell had from the peep hole had been knocked/pecked away by the first chick to hatch, aptly named Pookie. This, then meant that the two membranes within Egg # 5 were drying up which would cause the chicken to stick to the inner membrane and not be able to free itself. This also means that the yolk would not be able to be fully absorbed (the yolk is the equivalent to the placenta) the inner membrane is also laced with blood vessels feed the yolk until it is absorbed. I upped the humidity and placed a warm wet kitchen towel just under the egg and continually dabbed he exposed membrane with warm water to keep it moist. One of this appeared to help it unstuck itself. If the membrane had not been drying out we would have let nature take its course, as it can take 24 hours from peep to hatch, However Egg # 5 was getting weaker and was clearly stuck despite our efforts.
We made the decision rather than let it die we would help with the hatch. So warm wet kitchen towels were prepared, the heat lamp was on, cocktail stick sterilised and hands thoroughly washed. The idea is that you try and replicate what the chick would do with its egg tooth, which is to tap all around the shell to weaken it (zipping) ready to push out as soon as the blood has stopped flowing in the inner membrane and the yolk has been absorbed. It is the zipping that sends the message for this process to happen. We had listened to Egg # 5 prior to it peeping and thought at the time it was odd that we could not hear the rhythmical tapping. Anyway I lifted Egg # 5 out of the Incubator, placed him in my hand which was swathed in a blood temperature wet kitchen towel. I then moistened the peep hole, being careful not to get moisture into the chick’s beak. I then placed the point of the cocktail stick between the shell and outer membrane and started to zip the egg. At one point I pierced the outer membrane, causing a bleed, which I stemmed and wily placed the egg back in the Incubator for an hour before I repeated the process. I finally zipped the egg and made sure the membrane was moisturised then placed the egg back in the Incubator so that the chick could kick out. The chick appeared to weak to do this, so we removed the outer membrane and could see the yolk had not been fully absorbed, the blood had stopped flowing to membrane so we removed he inner membrane tentatively, making sure the unabsorbed yolk was preserved and then pace the egg back in the Incubator with a few prayers. Hence the name Onion, as it was like peeling back the layers of an Onion.

Onion remained laying on its side, scarcely moving and looking awful. At 05.00 in the morning I examined the chick and could she had a umbilical hernia and that the reason she was not moving was on one of her legs was the unabsorbed yolk and part of the umbilical cord was wrapped around it. This meant that every time she attempted to kick, the yolk sac would pull on the umbilicus, which further aggravated the hernia. The feathers were also stuck firmly to her body instead of fluffing out.
I had to remove Pookie, and put her into the Brooder as she was attempting to eat Onions yolk sac and umbilicus, and was treading on her. As the umbilicus was herniated and still attached to the yolk sack this would have meant instant death. It was clear that Onion cold not survive under those circumstances. I sterilised some cotton, scissors, and kitchen towel, carefully scooped onion out of the incubator and placed her on her back on the warm moist kitchen towel within a food container under the heat lamp. I then freed her leg and tied of her yolk sac, and umbilical cord in three places, cut the connection between the umbilicus and yolk sac, and used the back of my little finger to gently place the herniated umbilicus back into Onions stomach. That done, I rolled her onto her side and used the moisturised towel to rub and separate her feathers as these were stuck as were her wings and needed to be stimulated. With all that done I gave her a firm and gentle rub, dropped some water into her beak and gently placed her back in the Incubator with another prayer and my Rosary draped around it and went to let out our other chickens.

I am pleased to say that when I came back in Onion was chirping and had moved over to Egg# 2 that had stated to peep. I scooped her out a couple of times to moisten and separate her feathers and can now report she is chirping away happily in the Incubator and will be moved over to the Brooder at lunch time. I hope Egg # 2 is not going to present such challenges. I will take a better picture of her than the one on the right as she is sleeping, also the light from the incubator does not make for good photographs, then you can see the tremendous change from Onion, being nearly dead to a now a perky Chick, in such a small space of time. Well Done Onion. I love nature and I Love my Chickens
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The story of why Egg # 3 was named Pookie

We now have a name for Egg # 3. No, it will not be ‘Nugget’ as hoped for by some of the MK Glorious PPU –N Unit. Her name is Pookie. The story behind the name goes back a few years when we bought home a lovely fluff ball looking kitten from Leicester. Duane had gone to help his brother Darren with some work and when he returned I had purchased Aduellia Moonstone, a Seal Point Persian Kitten. Duane was smitten with the kitten and home she came. On the journey home I sensed she was becoming restless and asked Duane to pull over. We were on the Weedon road near the land mark listed Express Lift Tower building Northamptonshire. Too late, she done the most gigantic wee all over my white trousers. I never knew a little cat had such an enormous bladder.

To cut a long story short, I was asleep in bed with Aduellia Moonstone apparently snuggled under my chest and chin. Duane said he looked at us and thought we looked adorable so decided to take a photograph of us. What he did not take into account was the potential response of Aduellia Moonstone. I awoke with a start and the sensation of being pebble dashed with hot, sticky, smelly liquid. Yes, you have guessed right, the kitten had been so startled by the flashlight and noise of the camera, she projectile poo’d all over my face, hair and chest. Well actually it was diarrhoea; I could not speak and only stutter a few explicatives. Duane, went from a state of shock to near hysterical laughter. From that moment onwards Aduellia Moonstone was called Pookie. We do have the photo of this unforgettable event.

Enough digressing, back to the reason for Chick # 3 name. We made a decision to move Chick # 3 to the Brooder to ensure Chick # 5 had a better chance of survival; she had dried and fluffed up lovely. This was we thought a good photo opportunity. At this time chick # 3 was again on my chest and walking up towards my neck to nuzzle. I really think it may have been helpful if Duane had said ‘Watch the birdie’ no really ‘Watch the birdie’ because it was at the moment the flash went off, I felt a trickle of liquid make its way down my decoulage (Chest, cleverage or boobs for the less well informed) I thought she had done a big wee, however as it was mint green and she was a chick not an alien, we established it must be poo. Duane immediately said amid his laughter, “That’s it, her name, it has to be Pookie” I could not agree more, so Egg # 3 became Pookie.

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My New Eggs Arrived Today

The egg arrived today and were packed very safely, Than you Jill AKN by the seller name basterinscarsterin on E-Bay
I have a selection of eggs. 3 x Jersey Giants. These are the largest chickens in the world, very docile and gentle by nature. 2 Buff Orpington lovely stocky birds, they also have a gentle nature, 4 x Rhode Island Red Cross Araucana , they lay, blue green eggs. The other 3 are pot luck and may be any of the following: Gold Brahma Orpington, Barnvelder Cream Legbar, Wellsummer or Maran. It will be exciting to wait and see. I am resting the eggs to bring them up to room temperature today, they will go in the incubator tomorrow for 21 day and be candled at 5, 10 and 18 days, so watch this space. I love my Eggs, Peeps and Chickens :o)
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Rachellé talking to the Peep

As expected, Rachellé was as excited about the hatching as me. we thought it would be a good idea for her to talk to the peep via the telephone. The picture is not to clear, you should be able to see the peep pecking through (it is nearest the telephone). Annabell, one of our Granddaughters has just viewed the blog so will no doubt be paying a visit with Emily and Jack.
The peep responds to noises. Egg#5 has done nothing for the past five hours, it may well be a rooster. I am going to have to step away to give the eggs some piece and quiet and admire my new eggs that have just come through the post by Special Delivery. I love my chickens and my peeps :o)
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Picture of Egg # 5 and 3 Peeping

Egg# 3 and 5 Peeping
This is taken on my iphone so not to clear. Egg# 3 is on the left hand side and is peeping at the top. Egg # 5 is the half of an egg that you see at the bottom of the photograph and the crack is just visible near where it is touching the other egg. Clearer photos will follow. I love my chickens :o)
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Number 5 Egg has Pipped

I think I was in a deep sleep when I woke with a start, sat bolt upright and had a myriad of thoughts going through my head. I checked the clock, it was 02.25. I sat on the edge of the bed sorting the thoughts bouncing all over the place in my head, into some semblance of order.

The phone had not rung, so no known family emergency, the house and garden were quiet so unlikely to be a fox after the chicks or a burglar in the house. Oh my goodness it must be the chicks peeping.

I swiftly left the bedroom and hurried to our den with adrenalin trying to rush through my protesting body. I looked into the incubator, hoping, although not expecting to see a crack in one or more eggs, as this was Day21, the due hatch day.

There it was, Egg # 5 with a definite crack. I peeped and tapped on the side to say ‘Well done’ and further motivate the chick to hatch. Both Duane and I had said ‘Goodnight’ and other words of encouragement as well as made peeping noises at the eggs less than 90 minutes previously. Duane definitely does better chick peeps and chicken talk than me. Egg # 5 is at the one furthest away in the corner, and the crack is near where it is nearly touching the adjacent egg

I then had to make a decision, do I wake Duane at the early point of potential hatch, or let him sleep and wake him when the chick has manged to break through the shell completely. It was a quick decision, the hard bit for me was waking him up gently rather than dashing back in whooping with joy that Egg # 5 had started to peep. I managed to wake Duane as sensitively as I could given the circumstances. I explained that it was only a small crack and that I would take some photos, keep him updated and wake him when the shell had been cracked most of the way. He gave a smile and wished them luck.

I am sitting here pondering the wondrous of birth whilst I wait for the chick to take some rest and then hopefully continue the job of trying to be born. Like any birth, be it a bulb breaking through the earth to bloom, or a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, it is a complex process. With the chicks, they grow within the egg and develop key structures at different stages. I won’t bore you with the details as they are much the same for any creature. However with the chicken, if the humidity and heat are right, by day 18 onwards its embryo should have filled three quarters of its shell. It also would have developed an egg tooth, yes you heard it right, they have an egg tooth for the prime purpose of breaking open the shell.

The clever chick positions itself at a peculiar angle and jerks its body to break through the membrane and into the the air sac. This is when it takes a rest and its body adjusts to breathing. If the incubator is to humid, the chick ( s it has breathed it can be called a chick) is likely to drown in its own fluids, if it is to dry the embryo or chick sticks to shell and dies. Once it is through the air sac and has rested, it starts the mammoth task of chipping away at its shell to join the world. I guess you could liken this to the first and second stage stage of human labour. The process can happen very quickly or take hours.

I have just added some body temperature water to ensure # 5 Chickie has optimum humidity and chance of survival and have taken some photos. E-mails have been sent to share my excitement and make use of my waiting time. As expected, Barry (son) was still up and responded with enthusiasm, he predicts the chick will be a boy. I think you can tell with Silkies by sexing the feathers on the first day only. So I will be looking at the pin feathers, if they are all one length then it will likely be a rooster, if they are two different lengths then it is likely to be a pullet. (Do not google feather sexing Silkies) I am counting the hours until I can ring the Grandchildren up and tell them that # 5 has started to peep.

I am wondering if animals have the same tendency to die in the early hours of the morning much the same as humans. My mind is thinking that would be a great piece of research to read or for somebody to do, if the reasons can be identified. The low staffing issues in hospital is giving as a prime reason, and although that is plausible it does not account for the natural deaths within the same given time scale. Life and death are so extrinsically linked, and is the one certainty we have. I am starting to ramble now so I will sign of, as it is now 04.15 and will keep you all posted.
I spoke to soon, I have just checked the Chicks/eggs and Egg # 3 is now pipping. I love my Chickens :o)

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The girls, Henrietta & Ken, just before having a dust bath

This is also one of their favorite places to sit and wait until the rain stops. The garden has a few shelters, including their coop for them to sit in if it raining, however it would appear that they love being outside in the rain as much as Duane and I.

Ken has been off laying for the past six + weeks, prior to that she was laying soft shell eggs. They looked like something from an alien film. I thought it was likely that she had reached the end of her laying days and was going to enjoy the rest of her days foraging, sunbathing and dust bathing.

This may not be the case now, as we noticed for the past couple of days she had been sitting on the nest, then yesterday she produced a soft egg. Picture will be uploaded soon. Well done Ken, we would not have minded if you never laid again, we just love hearing your ‘cluck of delight’ when you do lay. I think she may have been having a moult, it was hard to tell as she was also growing her feathers back after being rescued from the Battery farm by Linda & Robert from the http://www.freeatlast.org/ If you have not had chance to read about Freebie, the extraordinary rescue hen, I urge you to do so. As my Mum would say. it will warm the cockles of your heart. I have still not worked out where the cockles of my heart are. It would seem that the extra calcium and cod liver oil supplements may have helped her, coupled with the odd tipple of Cider vinegar.

Ken is a very gentle chicken, after n’ ‘Tucky died, Henrietta, decided she was ‘head hen’, and went from being the least assertive to Ms Bossy Boots. Ken will stand up to her if he needs to. He has been known to stick up for Barbie Q and Bruno, he will peck back at Henrietta, is she is having a peck at the babies. I must replace Ken’s ring, I had to take it off in a hurry when she managed to get it caught in the stake the keeps the eglu door open, imagine flapping chicken pinned by the leg and me frantically trying to calm and free her.

Ken does like to rest a lot, and given the life she had in the factory it is nice to see her do so. Duane rang me the other day to say he had left the kitchen door open whilst making the coop, and realised Ken was no longer with Henrietta supervising the build. He saw the kitchen door was open and made his way swiftly to the kitchen. As he walked in he noticed the door to the dining area and lounge was open and feared the worse. However what he was met with was Ken, sitting asleep in the middle of the kitchen floor. Ken just opened and eye and returned to sleeping. We love our chickens ;o)

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