Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Starlight, the lone chick.

I hate February.

In November, we are celebrating the end of the garden season, still busy with putting up food, and happy that we are going to get a break for the winter. In December, the snow flies and we celebrate the Christmas season, rejoicing in the beauty of the fresh snow that looks so clean as it piles up on the ground. January brings The Oldest's birthday and the start of a new school semester. And then there's February. It's still cold. The snow is still there and we don't remember what grass even looks like. School is mundane again now. And spring is still a couple of months away.

But February has redeemed itself just a little bit this year, with the coming of sweet babies to our little farm. In addition to the baby goats, Freckles the Trick Chicken hatched an egg.
Yes, "an" egg. She started out with four, but only this one was viable. I should have given her more when she went broody, but she's so tiny, being a banty, that I wasn't sure what she could handle.

Anyway, her baby is almost a week old now, and is still doing great, so I decided we can officially post pictures. We don't know if it's a boy or a girl, but the girls are calling it "her" just out of hopefulness' sake, and "her" name is Starlight.

Watching a chick raised by it's mama is so different from our usual chick experience, which involves a feed trough and a heat lamp. You can watch her teach the baby things, see them explore the nursery coop together, and when baby gets cold, she just scurries back under her mama to warm up.
The night she hatched was a bit of an adventure - I went out to gather eggs in the dark that night, and checked under Freckles for any 'extras' that she had claimed (as she did every day.) I saw none, so said goodnight to her and gathered up the eggs from the other boxes, when I heard a "cheep". I checked back under Freckles. No, there wasn't a chick there yet... "cheep!" It was then that I realized her egg was cheeping! I went and got the girls so they could listen to it. We sat for some time watching, and could hear the baby pecking at the egg, and saw a little crack form. After that, nothing happened for hours. I finally made the girls go inside. (They were sure they could just sleep on the roost with the other hens.) I got up ever few hours to check, and by five am, the baby was on it's way out. By the time the girls got out there, she had the whole top of her shell off, but was still wet and newborn. We watched for a bit and then moved her, with her mama, to the nursery coop, where they will live until Starlight is big enough to be around the other chickens.

And the girls adore Starlight as much as every other animal that ends up living at our Forever Home Farm. I've never known any other kids to spend as much time in a chicken coop as these girls do, especially when there is a baby to love on.

Just one more little bit of adventure, but a fun one, and especially neat since it is The Oldest's very favorite chicken that is the mama.

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