I have 6 Chamois Poland Frizzle, 6 Porcelain D'Uccle & 6 Blue Silkie eggs 'cooking' away at 37.5o'C with water in a little tray which is keeping the incubator at around 55% humidity. It is completely amazing to me that it will only take 19-21 days for the embryos which are hopefully growing inside the eggs to develop into fluffy chicks! Today is Day 2 of my incubation period & according to the chart in my 'Guide to Hatching & Rearing' the chick embryos have the beginnings of a digestive canal, spinal column, nervous system, head, eyes, heart & ears. Tomorrow their hearts will begin to beat!! How wondrous & miraculous is that?! My own heart flutters as I watch over the eggs & hope that they are fertilised & developing. At seven days I will be able to 'candle' the eggs (direct a beam of light into the egg) to see if I can see the tell tale spider-like shape of an embryo with blood vessels radiating outwards. How happy I will be if even a small ratio of these eggs make it!
My intention is to keep my bantams completely separate from the other hens in a secure area of our back garden. We have missed seeing feathered friends scratching about outside our kitchen window! Of, course, I have no idea how many of the eggs will hatch & how many will turn out to be cockerels, so this is a big adventure into the unknown. I will keep you posted!
Back to cockerels, it has become apparent now that in fact none of the eight young cross breed chickens we were given are cockerels. The hens have displayed some rather odd behaviour since Rodney passed away. Top of the pecking order, Chicken Tikka, who is most definitely a SHE, has been treading the other hens in the absence of a male!! I know some people find the sound of a cock crowing a noisy irritation but to me it is one of the most stirring, life affirming sounds of the countryside. Fortunately, my neighbours also seem to enjoy the sound! So I had in my mind that it would be wonderful to find a new cockerel for the girls. As well as blogging, I regularly 'Twitter' with a small circle of like-minded chicken loving individuals & it just seemed like fate that one of my most favourite fellow 'Twitterers' asked 'Twitterland' if anyone could give a loving home to some of his hatchlings that had turned out to be cockerels. Unfortunately, he is unable to keep cockerels at his home although he would dearly love to. You can read the truly heart warming tales of his chicken adventures (amongst other musings & rants!) in his blog by following this link http://spicycauldron.com/. So about the first week of December we are driving up to Yorkshire to collect two Copper Blue Maran cockerels & possibly one Welsummer cockerel too if he has not found a home by then. I am so looking forward to both collecting our boys & also meeting my Twitter pal! In the mean time, I know they couldn't be getting a better start in life :-D.
Above one of the Copper Blue cockerels & below, left of photo, the Welsummer cockerel
My last bit of news is that after a long wait our bedroom window has finally been knocked out & replaced by French Windows - yippee! It has made such a difference to the room already. The light just pours in when you open the curtains. Eventually we will be able to step out into a little arbor. In my imaginings I have romantic pictures of hens wandering in to join us, wild birds singing on the door step & bunny rabbits hopping around our feet. But in reality I'm sure it will be more a case of shouting at the dogs for bringing in muddy paw prints & hubby for muddy boot prints!
I am going to hang a crystal in the windows to bring rainbows into the room. Whatever horrible, scary things are happening in the wide world out there, my own little universe is a very peaceful, content & fulfilled place right now & I feel very lucky to have this little sanctuary away from the madness. I hope each & every one of you has a special place too, whether it be a favourite seat in which to read a book, or a garden to nurture or a favourite walk with the dog. We all need to be able to take time out & breathe in life, before time starts rushing us on again!