A very exciting moment occurred Thursday morning in my kitchen at 5:40. I heard a tiny “peep”. And as you can imagine, at this time of the day, I wasn’t quite sure if I had actually heard this or not. I checked the incubator that has been living on my kitchen breakfast bar for 24 days. (since the untimely death of Bart) And lo and behold, there was a piece of an egg shell laying on the wire floor in the incubator. Inspecting the egg, I could see a tiny beak barely visible through the membrane between the shell and the wee chick. Remarkable!
Waiting for a sign of life, 3 days past the chick expected arrival date, here it is. And here I have to go to work until 3:30 in the afternoon. Oh, I was terribly nervous to leave for the day. What if the chick got stuck and needed assistance?
When I arrived home, quick as I could manage of course, no progress had been made. I thought the worst. To my relief, within a few minutes chickie started peeping! Horray! But why no progress? I called a dear friend, who has been hatching out chicks far longer than I have, for advice. She advised placing a very warm wash cloth in the bottom of the incubator with the chick. Val explained, “If the chick drys out during this process it will stick to the shell inside and will not be able to free itself”. Well this makes perfect sense. I did as instructed. And within 10 minutes after placing the-soon-to-emerge chick on the warm wash cloth, it was really starting to move. It was truly amazing the difference this warm wash cloth made in the chick’s pursuit to free itself. I believe the warm moisture was very stimulating to the chick.
We couldn’t leave the incubator! It was like the chick had been waiting all day for this moment to share with us. We had to get the atmosphere just right and the “emerging show” was on! And what a “show” it was. We were cheering and giving words of encouragement. When the chick freed itself, after about 15 minutes of pushing itself out of the shell, it came out like a rocket! It only laid still for 20-30 seconds before getting up and “crashing” into the sides of the incubator and into the other eggs. Honestly, why in the world was the tiny, wet, weak, helpless chick compelled to get up and move already? I thought only wild newborn animals had an instinct to get moving immediately after birth, not a domestic chicken. New discovery for me!
So far, our 3 day old chick is solo. Seeing as how we collected and placed the eggs in the incubator in a 10 day span, we could still have more chicks emerging for about 8 more days. For the sake of this tiny lonely chick I hope more chicks emerge soon.