Rudy’s Arrival


Recently I heard that chickens are slowly forgetting how to hatch their own chics. I’m not sure how much stock I put in that but I suppose it could be true. I know that my chickens get “broody” once in awhile, although not all will sit on a clutch right up to the “due date,” which leaves me in a fairly disturbing conundrum, as I’m left with the job of sitting it out for them, which not only takes me away from my very busy life but is vaguely uncomfortable as well. Just kidding! It’s EXTREMELY uncomfortable!
Anyway, last year one of the girls DID sit it out on her own. Being that it was my first time experiencing such a thing, I was thrilled to discover that the eggs were beginning to hatch. While I was disappointed in Rudy the rooster for not playing a more parental role, I found the hen to be an excellent mother. So ferocious was she in protecting the eggs that she even attacked our pit bull…and won! It’s something we’re not supposed to talk about, but it really paints the picture of motherly devotion.
The first chic finally emerged from the warm cocoon of his egg. What a struggle he endured and he certainly looked worse for wear. Scrawny, soaked, and exhausted, he was one of the cutest things we’d ever seen. Our excitement was near bubbling over as we painfully awaited the hatching of the remaining 10 eggs. And waited, and waited. And…nothing. One egg out of 11 hatched and the rest were duds. But we weren’t disappointed at all! We’d just witnessed the hatching of the very first chic at Carey On Farm and we were elated! Cheers rang out through the barnyard and we set up chairs just so as to watch the fascinating relationship between hen and chic. It was like a miracle! That is until I realized I had to do something with the 10 remaining duds.
This was something I hadn’t been prepared to face (I am a newby after all) and the thought of discovering a partially developed chic fetus was a tad more than I could bare. I left them with the hen a few more days but after awhile it was obvious that I had to get rid of them. I thought burying them was a great idea. We even had a respectful memorial in their honor.  A few tears were shed at the thought of what might have been, and we built a headstone made of rocks and twigs to mark their final resting place. It didn’t occur to me until the dog dug them up and rolled in them that we had held a funeral for 10 rotten eggs that had never been fertilized in the first place, but I kept that joke from the boys.
It’s been almost a year since our first chic hatched and I still haven’t gotten the smell completely out of the dog, but the hens are getting broody once again, and with spring stirs new life. With my head in my hands I can only wonder what the year ahead might bring. Besides baby chics, of course.

3 thoughts on “Rudy’s Arrival

  1. what a wonderful author you are, This is the start of a bestseller. If you set a hen again after ten days take the eggs out from under her(be careful , she will probably peck your hand, best wear gloves. Hold the eggs, one by one against a bright light, if they are dark a chick is developing, if translucent the egg is not fertile. (Called candling ) this way you can discard the no good ones and save the hen the work of sitting on so many eggs.

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