Eggs and Legs

November 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

It’s been a wee while since I posted about Frida’s slow road to recovery. She seems to be doing well – today is the seventh week since her leg was pinned, and she’s lurching around her cage quite sturdily now. She had an X-ray last Monday to check on progress, and things are apparently healing quite well, although there wasn’t quite enough re-calcification for it to be time for the pin to be taken out. (Did I mention that the silly muppet is still laying eggs from time to time?) The plan at this stage is for that to happen next Monday, all other things being equal.

One of the side effects of being an Inside Chicken for so long (again) is that she’s decided human attention is hers by right. She demands to sit on my lap to watch TV each evening, and get her share of cuddling. She particularly likes having her ear-tufts gently stroked … and is prepared to growl at me if I fail to do so enough!

All in all, one Thoroughly Spoilt Chicken.

Yesterday was Day Ten of Poppy’s incubation, so time to candle the eggs and see how they’re going. And I’m happy to report that 15 of the 16 appear to be growing nicely – in a couple I could even see beating hearts! But I’d forgotten how much harder it is to candle eggs with dark shells – the three Dorking eggs were gloriously see-through, but I got quite worried with some of the darker-shelled ones that I couldn’t see blood vessels, just a dark mass in the egg. (You’re looking for any signs that the embryo has died or been infected by bacteria – the classic one is the “blood ring”.) But then I picked up BR1 (the best of the Barred Rock eggs), and saw again what a completely different (and blindingly obvious) thing an infertile eggs is …

Ella is still broody, but after much to-ing and fro-ing we’ve decided that we can’t really manage a second hen with chicks. But all is not lost. We’re going to let her stay as a back-up incubator for any eggs that are slow to hatch for Poppy. It’ll take a bit of finessing, as Ella is still in the Summer Palace. But she has no trouble keeping the other hens out of her nestbox, so we shouldn’t need to worry about problems with the other girls. The still-developing plan is to take any eggs of Poppy’s that haven’t hatched in the first 48 hours (or however long she stays on the nest) and tuck them under Ella to finish off hatching. As soon as they are out and dry we’ll slip them back under Poppy.

Or at least that’s the plan at the moment. Who knows what it will be next week?

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