Tiny Hen’s chicks are now all grown up!
Tiny Hen’s chicks are almost grown up now, and are roosting in the big coop! This is a picture of them roosting on the gate about a month ago. There are three cockerels, and four pullets. Left to right: Tiny Hen II (Tiny Hen’s chick), Bluesy (Sparkles’ chick), and Chip (Sparkles’ chick), and Tiny Hen herself. Her chicks are almost as big as she is! Sparkles’ chicks have nice long tails, and Tiny Hen’s chicks have nice red combs and white earlobes.
This is Miracle Chick, their father, keeping an eye on the little roosters. He has nice color and a sweet and calm temperament. However, he does have one bent comb point from being trapped in his eggshell, and he has his tail partly molted out in this photograph. He was champion in showmanship this year. I think it’s rare to have a rooster well-behaved enough to win a showmanship class. He did crow a lot at the show, trying to intimidate the other roosters. His crow is fairly quiet, but somewhat shrill. Only one of his chicks has tried to crow so far (his name is Zip). My nice camera stopped working, so I will have to rely on lower-quality cell phone photos now.
Here is an old picture of Sparkles (mother of Bluesy and Chip) when she was their age!
Milford at the show this year. The water bottle was there to help her cool off.
Sadly, we lost Milford to an owl in September. She was an extremely sweet hen, and Overall Champion Single Comb Clean Legged Bantam at the show this year, and is greatly missed. She was sitting on eggs that she had laid and carefully brooded for 17 days. I found the eggs cold the one morning, and another nest of eggs cracked and eaten. We quickly gave her nest to another hen, Blackbeak. Miraculously, two of the six eggs hatched–they’re two tiny and beautiful pullets (not named yet). Milford has a total of four descendents, since Millie also hatched two of her eggs a few months ago. She hatched one cockerel, and one pullet (named Tip and Trixie).
<– Milford’s mother: Clover, and father: Tick-Tock. She looked a lot like her mother hen.
One of the chicks looking cute.
Tiny Hen’s chicks are growing up, and one is getting blue wing feathers. One of the other Dutch, Sparkles, mus have laid an egg in her nest. If it’s a blue rooster, I’m keeping it because it would be 100% unrelated to two of the Dutch hens, Beaky and Clover (but extremely related to Duchess).
Tiny Hen digging for her chicks (all seven of them).
The chicks can fly now, and are flying all over and play-fighting with each other. They love to dig and eat bugs and worms. There are definitely at least four cockerels, since four of them are getting black feathers in front already. One looks like a pullet, since it’s getting cream-colored chest feathers.
Sleepy in the sun.
Chicklet in her chick plumage. She still has down on her head.
Chicklet was the only chick hatched by Duchess, Beaky, and Clover. She doesn’t seem to be lonely, since she has three mother hens watching over her and feeding her. She’s very sweet and calm, and loves to eat berries.
Chicklet with her mother hens (they’re molting right now).
Left to right: Sparkles, Birdy, Baby, Buddy, and Zippy (far right). They were curious about the snow last November.
Zippy was hatched last year, and raised along with Sparkles, Baby, Birdy, and Buddy in the same pen. He is an extremely beautiful bird, currently enjoying his new home. There were so many chicks hatched that I couldn’t keep them all. His name is Zippy because liked to run around all day.
Zippy in his coop. He had a beautifully long tail.
Zippy as a chick, playing outside.
Brooder Chick was given his name because he hatched out last from the incubator. He was given to a broody hen shortly after hatching, because the chick-raising pen was already full of older chicks, and chicks with a large age differences between them usually don’t get along. He had a fabulous chick-hood, free-ranging outside with his mother hen. These little roosters are so tiny that you can pick them up in the palm of your hand–and they love to fly up into trees and crow! The usual rooster of this breed weighs only 21 ounces, with cockerels weighing 20 ounces.
Brooder Chick showing off his beautiful neck-ruff.
Last November: Chicks curious about their first snowfall (Brooder Chick on right).
Watch for one new Dutch Bantam post a day!
Miracle Chick poses with Bluesy.
This is Miracle Chick, a chicken with a story to tell. He was hatched in late September of last year, and he had a hard time getting out of his egg. After many of the other eggs had hatched, he was still trapped in his eggshell. Chicks are supposed to pip a hole in their egg with their beak, and then “unzip” the eggshell by turning and pecking until the eggshell breaks in half and the chick simply leaves the eggshell behind by hopping away (newly-hatched chicks can’t walk properly yet).
But this didn’t happen with Miracle Chick. He had pecked a big hole in the side of the egg and stuck his head out, pathetically peeping and refusing to move. We watched in horror, not sure what to do about it. Two days passed without him making any progress, as other chicks hatched around him.
Finally the incubator water wells had evaporated so much that the eggshell’s membrane was becoming dry, and he still hadn’t attempted to get out of the egg further. He was stuck. At a loss of anything else to do, we refilled the wells, and wrapped his egg in a wet paper towel. Hours passed without progress. It was a high-stakes hatch, because chicks are supposed to eat after three days, and he had been stuck in the egg for four. Finally, we dropped a bit of water into the eggshell, and he was able to hatch.
But the battle wasn’t over yet. It was clear that he was a healthy chick with no deformities, but he wandered around aimlessly, apparently not recognizing food or water. And he was as thin as a stick.
As a last-chance effort, we put him under a broody hen who had hatched one other chick. Due to his behavior, his chances of survival looked small. But the hen did something to calm him, fluff up his chick down, and get him to drink and eat. He was transformed from a thin, confused chick into a confident and happy one. He has grown up into a fine, healthy bird, and is king of the flock–hence the name “Miracle Chick.”
It still hasn’t been determined what caused his difficulty hatching. Too-low incubator humidity and temperature changes is a suspect. The hatching issue does not appear to be genetic, since his chicks (hatched this year) had relatively easy hatches, and are doing great.
Miracle Chick’s baby picture with his mother hen, Blackbeak.