Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Spring Chicks!

Our first batch of chicks just hatched this week!  About forty-five chicks hatched.  It really does feel like spring now that there are chicks in the brooder, even though there is 4 inches of snow on the ground outside!  We hatch chicks for our own family and some to sell - the hens we raise up and either keep as replacement breeding stock or we sell them as pullets.  The roosters we usually raise up for meat.  It is amazing to see all the new life coming into the world.  Chicks go through so many developmental changes as they are growing inside the shell - it is quite extraordinary!  You can see with the candler all the little veins spreading like spider webs all over the inside of the egg - and when they get further along you can see them moving around in there!  

And the funnest part is watching them hatch.  Once they break into the air sack they have only 24 hours to get out of the shell before the air runs out.  They make the first little pip and slowly pip all the way around the egg and then push the top off and come out!  They take long breaks in-between pips, sometimes up to an hour at a time.  When they come out they are completely exhausted!  They lay around mostly and dry off, and when they are strong enough they bumble around and knock the other eggs about.

The first chicks of the year:

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