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We've Hatched!

The absolute coolest high school class ever has to be Agricultural Science.  They didn't offer it at my high school, but my kids' high school does and my daughter is in it.  I'm jealous.  I'm constantly trying to volunteer just so I can sit in on this class.

They do such fun projects!  Their latest -- hatching chicken eggs in the incubator.

We've tried hatching eggs several times over the years, both in an incubator and under a broody hen, without success.  We've finally decided that our rooster Meaty shoots blanks.

So it was exciting for Kaylin to choose out two presumably fertile eggs from a batch donated to the school, at set them under the class incubator to hatch.

Chicken eggs take just 21 days to hatch.  This, unfortunately set their hatch date on the first day of a week-long school holiday.  Since we had an incubator at home, Kaylin asked her teacher if she could bring her eggs home.  She definitely didn't want to miss the hatching.

Did you know that once the chicks get large enough, their movements will cause the egg move?  I didn't either!  It was amazing to see the egg shaking and rocking as the chick moved inside.

And, a day or two before the egg hatches, you can actually hear them peeping from inside the egg!  That one was incredible.

One full day before the egg was set to hatch, at 5:00 in the morning and without anyone there to see, the little chick pushed its way out of the egg.

The incubator was in her room, so Kaylin was awakened by extremely loud peeping.  While she was a bit disappointed that she didn't witness the actual event, we did get to see the peep when she was just minutes old, still wet from the hatching.

We're calling this chick a she, probably more out of an abundance of hope than anything.  We don't need another rooster.  In fact, I don't think we could safely keep another rooster without Meaty and the new guy fighting each other.

If I've read the wings right, signs point to this one being a cockerel.  Experienced raisers can tell the sex of a chick with 90% accuracy by looking at the chick's wings.  I'm not at all experienced, but to my eyes these wings point fairly strongly toward a cockerel (young rooster) rather than a pullet (young hen).  Major bummer!
Another bummer, only one of Kaylin's egg hatched.  The other must have been a dud.

Even more unfortunately, because of a power outage at the school (one day after Kaylin brought her eggs home) none of the other Ag Science eggs hatched.

Papaya (as "she" has now been named) is the sole survivor of the entire batch of fertilized eggs, which I think numbered 50 total.

A single chick is a lonely chick, and I didn't need much pushing to go buy a friend for her.  I treated myself to a breed that I've always wanted: a white silky.  Silkies aren't laying birds, so they don't make much sense on the homestead.  But since our flock currently numbers in the teens, and we have plenty of fresh eggs, I figured we could afford one completely illogical bird, solely because they're cute.

Papaya and Kiwi, a few days old and small enough to fit in my hands.

If you've read about any of our other batches of chicks, you'll know that each batch always gets a naming theme.  Since the hatchling chick is named Papaya, the silky has been named...


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