Last night, Todd went outside to check on things before bed. When he came in, he announced that he’d seen one lone fuzzy chick standing on the nest in front of Racer X. Yay! So we knew both that we had at least one successful hatching, and that hatching had commenced.
I went out today around noon and peered into the Maternity Ward, and noted four beady-eyed puffballs peering out from under momma’s feathers. Given that it was cold and raining, and I wasn’ t sure when the hatching started, I opted to leave them alone at that point.
Went back out tonight, and Racer X was sitting in front of the nest with all her babies underneath, hiding. I took the opportunity to open the nest box and clean it a bit. She’d stacked all the eggshells neatly together in two piles, just like dishes, fitting inside one another. Wow. I took those out, fluffed up the straw, and noted that there were no “dud” eggs in evidence, and no half-hatched babies. Maybe 100% hatch rate? I then chased her off the chicks so I could do a real headcount.
Indeed, we have eight tiny puffballs! Two are kind of golden, like Buff Orpington chicks. Three are puffy grey and light yellow, like blue Cochin babies with some yellow streaks, and three are mostly black. The mother is a Buff Orpington and the father is a Blue Cochin. Should be interesting to see what they look like as adults!
Poor Todd now realizes that he needs to build a slightly larger “maternity” run, as the one we had last year was barely adequate for mom and four babies, and will be completely inadequate for momma and twice that many chicks. The building projects never, ever stop!