Lesson 300 – Guess what? We’re expecting!

Guess what?

We’re expecting. (excuse me while I go pick Marc up off the floor). A local kindergarten/preschool is going to incubate some fertilized eggs and we said that we’d take all of the chicks after they were born. The due date is sometime around the end of May. (You can start knitting tiny little baby blankets now.).

The nesting instinct has kicked in and I’m already getting the chicken nursery ready. Should I go with a green or yellow feeder?

Of course incubation projects don’t always work out well but this school is on top of the temp and humidity requirements needed so chances are very good that a few if not all of the eggs will hatch. (although I was once told that a 2/3 hatching rate from incubation is considered very good). With this mixed bag, we will probably be getting a rooster or two (there is no way to determine the sex of fertilized eggs) but hey, what’s a summer without a good rooster story or two?

This all means that we’ll be hearing the patter of little feet in our foyer once again. Oh callooh callay!

I’ve been in touch with the school giving some advice and lending a little encouragement (but trust me, they’re on top of this) and they’ve decided to go with an assortment of “top hat” eggs. Top hats are exotic chickens who look like they are all dressed for the Kentucky derby. Large feathers adorn the tops of their heads giving them a jaunty look indeed. Striking birds, our Simon and Garfunkel, who are Appenzeller Spitzhaubens have top hats.

And let us not forget that my holy grail of a chicken, the Black Polish has a top hat (still looking for that elusive bird). If the winds blow in the right direction and the gods are willing, there is a slight chance that there might be a female Black Polish in this group.

It will be sort of like having several boxes of Cracker Jacks given to us (the ones of our youth when you actually got a prize not just a sheet of paper with jokes on it). We won’t know what we get until we open the box and unwrap the prize. No matter what we get though, I’m sure I’ll be finding many stories to share with you amongst all these new little family additions.

Simon sporting a lovely "top hat"


Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Chicks, New Hampshire, Project Chickens before the Eggs, The Chicken Challenge

5 responses to “Lesson 300 – Guess what? We’re expecting!

  1. When I was a child in Southern California (about age 12 in 1956 or so), we raised white leghorns and a few bantams. We kept roosters (no doubt irritating our neighbors immensely) and had a pair of Muscovy (quackless) ducks. We let the hens brood the chicks and a few survived. Somehow, one chick egg ended up in the mother ducks’ next and hatched with the ducklings and began following the mother duck with the ducklings.

    Being a 12-year-old boy (hence, wicked) I watched with interest to see what happened the first time Mama duck took her ducklings for a swim. Alas this calamity was overridden by a greater one. Mama duck’s nest was in the half-basement to our house. Some predator got in and at Mama duck, baby ducks, and the chick who thought he was a duck.

    The Muscovy drake was very bad tempered and aggressive. As he had failed in the one of the two tasks we had assigned him, we ate him.

    • Wendy Thomas

      Sad will be the day when there is no comment from Modesty.

      Your story is sort of like an anti-ugly duckling. What does happen in a family of uglies where one is born of beauty and charm? (other than being eaten).

      Although I would have reprimanded the drake, not sure I would have been so angry as to eat him. You apparently have a stronger constitution than I.

  2. We will be getting new chicks from a farm store. Once my wife chooses a brand/product, she sticks with it for years, even decades. (Hence, we are still married after 45 years, though I am not the best possible husband.) Also, she hates ostentation.

    When we got our first chickens, she chose Dominiques. Unlike our chicken-raising neighbors (who got us started), who keep several breeds and try new varieties each year, she is sticking with the same breed.

    When our chickens hide in the ferns in our very well-protected chicken run, they are almost impossible for us to spot, though the barred owl who inhabits our woods spots them well-enough and spends hours staring at them and dreaming owl dreams of chicken dinner.

  3. I was only 12 when we ate the Muscovy. It was not my decision. I was very wary around the duck, as I was wary around the roosters, but I was not angry. My father was very angry most of my childhood. My mother had grown up on a farm in Indiana, so she did not regard farm animals with much sentimentality.

    I am not a vegan, nor even a vegetarian and I am not much impressed with the arguments (nutritional and ethical) for such food practices, though I have no problem with people who follow such dietary courses. Humans evolved as omnivores. Although I have no zealously practiced my belief (making me a bit of a hypocrite), I think humans who do eat meat should from time to time participate in the killing of their food sources, just to be true to the predator part of our heritage. At the age of 5, I observed a neighbor’s pig being killed. At 12, I helped kill the duck, and a billy goat.
    As a high school teacher, I took students (on a voluntary basis) to watch a cow being slaughtered (so they could see where there hamburgers came from). When we first started thinking about having chickens, we watched the teacher of a class we took demonstrate the killing and cleaning of a chicken.

    My mother told me that when she was a little girl, a neighboring farmer killed his wife and children with an ax. So much for the “good old days” of family values in the heartland. One of the students I took to see the cow slaughter after graduation murdered her husband. So much for my good influence in getting my students in touch with their primate past.

  4. Pingback: Lesson 323 – A bit of coop-keeping « Lessons Learned from the Flock

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