Sunday, June 3, 2012

20 Multi-Colored Peepers Greeted Our Arrival Home


Compare the messiness from hatching with clean environment
of the last post, before they hatched. Sean had his work cut
out for him cleaning it again!
20 out of 27 eggs successfully hatching is not a bad result according to chicken hatching web sites, the average hatch rate being around 70%. Our eggs hatched at a slightly higher rate. That doesn't change my heart aching for the little lives that weren't. We had 3 eggs pipped through to the outside air, but the chicks inside were dead already when we got home. And, when we candled the other 4 eggs without pipping, there was no movement inside them. One was clearly dead and not developed with black spots throughout. The other three, showed no sign of life and no breach of the internal membrane. To be absolutely sure, we carefully breached the air sac to see if there was any sign of life or movement. There wasn't. Sean removed the dead chicks and buried them in a box in the woods. It seemed the decent thing to do.

I am trying to find comfort in the active and thriving 17 multi-colored chicks in the brooding tank. They are eating, drinking water, and peeping. I will post close up pictures of the different types tomorrow. For tonight it is best for them to stay warm, dry and safe. Additionally, I have 2 black chicks and 1 yellow chick wrapped in a warm towel, tucked into my shirt. The yellow one seems weak, which is worrisome. They are all so much smaller than the others, that they are getting trampled on. Sean cleaned out the incubator of the eggs and nasty water. It is heating the inside to 100 degrees again and these littlest guys will spend the night in there, to give them the best start possible. If they survive the night and seem more active, we'll put them in with the others. I hope and pray they will. (It is morning. The little yellow chick did not make it and died in my hand this morning, but the others are doing just fine. What a sad start to the day. The rain which has been abundantly present this weekend does nothing to improve my mood. Sean has asked me to remain inside while he "tries something." I suspect this has to do with Dilly. I just hope he doesn't do anything that could injure himself. I think a hot shower and redirecting my thoughts to focus on the 19 chicks that are alive will be more soothing to my heart.)

Sean and I have also come to a decision that Dilly must return to his home with Mr. Farmer. This has been a difficult decision to make. On one hand, I feel so badly for this animal. He needs the right home, situation, and attention to live the best life possible. I strongly feel that the only responsible thing to do is to have him castrated, which will cost about $390 and to let any prospective buyers know that he must be watched and cannot be added to any herd with females in it. I think that Mr. Farmer plans on bringing him to auction to resell him. I can only hope that the next owners are more qualified and better able to provide for his needs. On the other side, after doing more research, checking with our vet, and calling and talking with several experienced llama owners to potentially adopt him, we are convinced that we cannot keep him well here. This is not a good fit for him, and castration is too expensive an undertaking for us to pay for, only to find him a different home. I wish that we could, but we have other lives we are responsible to care for and money is tight. This decision was hard to make for both of us, but the thought of him dying of loneliness, being separated from having a herd or "pasture buddy" or his possibly injuring someone is too big of a risk to take. He needs to be castrated- he should NEVER be bred to pass on this aggressive tendency to his offspring- and find a home with an experienced handler in a herd of male llamas. I hope he finds that. Tomorrow is going to be hard.

It is late and we have a long day tomorrow. I'll write more later. For now, here is some video of fluffy chicks to make you smile. The top video is of the chicks doing well. The lower video is of the youngest, more frail chicks.
Goodnight, friends!


  1. I am sorry Dilly didn't work out, but I certainly understand you want all parties involved to be healthy and happy. I am also sorry about the chicks that didn't make it. I didn't know that they all wouldn't hatch, so it is good you did the research and were educated. I am afraid I am not cut out to be a farmer, I couldn't handle things as well as you are. You have the proper attitude, focus on the cuties that did make it, and nurse the ones that are a bit behind.

  2. i hope the little ones are getting stronger. I am sorry some did not make it.

    See you guys sometime soon.


  3. Sorry to hear about the little ones that didn't make it.Thank you very much on the offer of some duck eggs, but the truth is we were just messing around with the eggs we had. I'm not sure what we're going to do with the ducks when we're finally succesful at hatching eggs. Again, thank you for the offer.

  4. No problem. I get help from many wonderful sources and I like to pass it along when I can. I have ordered some Heritage Red Bourbon Turkeys for next month, which I will be breeding to provide poults for others to raise for themselves and I will have some chick and fertilized eggs available, if you ever want to try those in the future.

    As for what to do with ducks, I suggest selling the eggs. They sell for $4/dz and I can't keep up with my orders here in coastal Maine. Those sales make keeping ducks (and our flock of chickens) profitable (even if only marginally). You might have a market for the same in Southern Maine and if not, there is always dinner. :)

    Thanks for your comment!