Monday, January 12, 2015

Farm Girl?? Part 2

A while back I wrote a blog called Farm Girl....if you have not seen it, here is the link..<< Farm Girl??? >>. It's a short, fun blog post (my Army Man says all of my blog posts are fun....I think he might be a bit partial though.) where I talked about where I live, what we are doing and what our plans are for this property we live on....
There is also a reference to "The Princess Bride"! One of our all time favorite movies.
It was summer and the grass was green, the garden was looking good and I realized that I am not at all a "farm girl"!!!

My poor Army Man!!!

I knew I was going to have to do a second one, and honestly it may become a series because my life on this "farm", it seems, is ever-evolving!!

This blog is going to be a bit longer and heavy on one subject.
Hatching eggs.

That seriously sounds "farm-y" doesn't it??  Like I may be becoming more farm girl-like?!?!?!

Ummmm....nope. Sorry. Didn't mean to get your hopes up!!

I gotta tell ya, I was a little freaked out by the whole ordeal and have needed a day of rest just to get over the stress of it all!!!!
You would think a little thing like an egg hatching would not have such an impact on a full grown woman. Well, it did...

It really started when ALL of our Silkie chickens were brutally killed by a juvenile Cooper's Hawk. At first we did not realize that was the predator. We kept finding dead chickens (about one a week!!), but no killers!!! We had a trap set on the ground, but nothing was getting caught!!! Finally, my daughter, our chicken keeper, saw the hawk in action. By then we had also lost two of our larger Austalorp hens and knew we had to be drastic in our protection of them!!

ALL of our egg-laying hens were in danger of being killed by this hawk so those that are left are being kept in the "Coop Yard". It is much smaller than what they are used to, but they are safe as it is completely enclosed with fencing and wire.
We are waiting for the delivery of a netting system (~~Aviary Netting~~) we hope to use to cover their "Big Yard" so they can have more freedom and safe space!!

All of that to be able to tell you our hatching story!!!!!!!

After the hawk had so brutally killed ALL of our Silkies (the hens were laying tiny little eggs!!) my daughter was seriously getting depressed and angry at this hawk. We decided to try to incubate and hatch some of the eggs we had collected from the Silkie hens!!! We were told that fertilized eggs are  viable for the first 10 days as long as they have been held at a steady temperature in the refrigerator! =)
So we borrowed an incubator from a "real" farmer friend and tried it!!! Not really knowing if it would work, but hoping for Tru's sake that it did!!!!

And you know what?!?!?!?  

It DID!!!!!! YAY!!!!!
 Pips and zips happening!!!!!! 

It's pretty awesome to think that these eggs that were in our fridge were viable lives just waiting for the right temperature and number of days to become little chickens!!!

It is also a pretty amazing experience to watch the process happen!!! The tiny Silkie eggs that hatched were fast!!! I mean these chicks pipped, zipped and hatched (start to finish) in about 2 hours, tops!!  That is an amazing feat!!!! They are tiny little things!! About the size of a racquetball ball!!!

 The black ones are all Silkie babies.....

The white ones are Australorp babies....

It took about 3 days (Friday to Sunday) but we have 7 chicks now and a great distraction for my daughter who lost her very favorite bantam Araucana rooster (Thor) on Thursday!!!

On Friday afternoon we noticed one of the eggs had a Pip in it, but nothing else seemed to be happening.... ALL of the research I did on Google (we are still VERY new to keeping chickens and "Google" knows all things!! ;-) ) said to wait and give the chick time before you "help" it along.
So we waited. By Saturday the Pip was larger, but still no "Zip"....
On Saturday night I found a VERY helpful blog/article on helping chicks hatch >>>Invaluable Information!!!<<<
Read it a few times and did exactly what it said. I waited...again.
Do you know how hard it is to wait on a hatchling when you can hear it chirping as loud as the other chicks that are already out??
Let me tell ya!
Very hard!!!
Probably one of the hardest things I have done here on the "farm"!!!! =/

This one chick was taking SO long to get out of her shell!!! I decided that I would wait until Sunday after church to help her along.   She always responded to my voice when I would talk so I knew she was just tired and possibly giving up.
By the time we got home from church I was mentally ready to take on the daunting task of helping this chick get our of her shell!!!

Armed with tweezers, q-tips, paper towels and warm water I head into my daughter's room...
 All of the shell that has been removed, was removed by me. She only had a very small hole in the shell. I could see her beak and that is it!!!

One of the articles I read said it is good to have live chicks on the incubator with the hatching eggs to stimulate I tried that first... It did not work too well...the black one just kept dozing off on the job and the white one was walking all over the egg (not really chirping, or helping!)...  =/

So I get to help her along some more....
 I basically had to hatch her out. She was so weak from trying and her shell was so hard!!! Even I had a hard time breaking it with tweezers!!!!   She was chirping the whole time!!! =)

 Her eyes were alert and vibrant!!! We think she was not positioned incorrectly due to our

 Having a rest.....because even with help, it is still an exhausting endeavor!!!!

 Oh my word the thrill of having this little chick hatched is beyond belief!!!! Who would have thought that I, not a "farm girl", would be able to do such a thing?!?!?!?

She is getting some cuddle time in....we warmed the towel in the microwave a bit and wrapped her in it.... she was so tired...

I finally had to go do something else besides hatch a chicken out of her shell.... we put her in the box with the other chicks so she could hear them and get some rest in the heat lamp....

While she was resting we took a walkabout our property. It is one of our favorite things to do!!!

 The new king of our girls!!! He is a beauty!!! "Big Boy" is his name and it describes him perfectly!!!

 The bees seem happy and busy as usual!!! Beekeeping has been easy for us....not sure how long that will last!!!! We pretty much leave them alone and let them do their thing, then collect honey around the forth of July.  It is a win win for us!!!! =)

 Some little berries growing on a tree....
I am seriously considering taking photography classes. I LOVE capturing nature on camera!!!
I will need a MUCH better camera (DSLR) though....taking donations for that!!!!
(Just kidding!!!!)
(Or am I?!?!)

 A part of our property that I rarely photograph... It is wild and bushy, but vital to the creatures that live there!!! =)

Our faithful creek!!!! The clear water and constant flow makes this one of our favorite features of our property!!!! Hearing the sound of the creek flowing while we are sitting on our porch is very relaxing!!! =)

Back to the Little Chick that Could!!!!

 Meet Lucky Charm!!! (Army Man came up with that all by himself!!)  =)   
We reeeeally did not know if this girl would make it, and honestly, still are not sure!! So much can happen in their first week of life!!  But she is a fighter and we are keeping a close eye on her!!!! She is the cutest little thing!!! And I keep calling her she, wouldn't it be funny if it turned out to be a he?!?!?!! Hahahaha!!!

Pics of our chickie babies!!!

 "Sam" (For Samwise Gimgy)...this is a huge chick!!"
A very serious chick....

 This is Zeus....

And this is Lucky Charm...... =)

All of them are happily eating and drinking and growing!!!!!! 

1 Thessalonians  5:18
In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Today (Monday) they are ALL looking good and doing well!!! I had to take a nap this morning as my body had been through some intense stress yesterday!!!! I took me about an hour and a half to help Lucky Charm out of her shell and it was a terrifying process!!! The adrenaline had drained my body and I needed rest!!! I am still slightly sore from the position I had to be in , but it was worth it!!!! =)


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