The two nights of hatching were some of the worst nights for weather we have had all year. Heavy rain with thunderstorms and I admit to waking up and worrying about Flower out there in her coop 'giving birth' in that weather. But everyone did fine. It is an amazing thing watching these little baby chicks working away, working so hard to get out of their shells. I could tell by the first day which eggs were going to hatch, leaving one that would not. Because out of all of those perfect little eggs, with no holes yet came the very busy chirping of little chicks. I could pick them up and hold them up to my ears and hear the babies chirping away. Mom would cluck, cluck, cluck back to them to encourage them on their lengthy endeavor. For some of the chicks it took 12 hours from the first hole in the shell to being completely out and free. They would lay there in an exhausted heap, sides heaving under Flower for a while recovering from birth. Then they were fluffy, teeny little chicks that stayed mostly under mom, sticking their heads out once in a while, but mostly resting for the first day of their lives.
Early Friday morning the last chick hatched and we have 8 new baby chicks. Only one egg did not hatch. Upon looking at it I found a chick in there that had died early on in its incubation, a miscarriage of sorts.
Friday was another rainy day, so the babies and mama stayed in their coop. I providing the with food and water that everyone could get to and the babies would run out eat and drink and then scoot back under mama. Flower seemed very happy to be eating and drinking as well. Imogen and I dug up a bunch of worms from the compost and added it to their food bowl. Both mama and babies enjoyed the treat.
On Saturday a warm, sunny Spring day Flower brought her babies out. What fun it was to see these little tiny babies out romping with Flower, scratching at the dirt the way she did looking for little, tiny buys that might fit into their mouth. Flower, the wonderful mother that she is would chew the worms into little pieces and leave them on the ground for her babies.
I began to be concerned that some of the babies might get too cold, so I put them back in the coop and shut the door. Somehow thinking I was a better mother than Flower. Later as it got warmer I let everyone out again. I kept checking to see how everyone was doing and started to get worried again that they had been out too long, so I wandered back to chase everyone back in and found the lovely Flower warming her babies as they needed it, when they needed it.
The auntie hens watch on the other side of the fence and seem to be taking it all in pretty well. No one has tried to kill the little ones through the fence. Although I will keep them separated for quite some time yet.
Now that Flower is incognito as a pet while she takes care of her brood. Imogen has claimed Elizabeth to be her new favorite chicken. I am not sure if that is a blessing or a curse for Elizabeth :).