Beyond Adelaide’s Eggs – the (vastly overdue) further update
April 3, 2014 § Leave a comment
Ahem. Sorry about the long delay between ‘I’ll keep you posted’ and actually posting. Between wild weather and then the sheer joy of having two clutches of chicks to play with, posting has kinda slipped off the radar a bit. I will attempt to redress things.
Adelaide has nine chicks. Storm, Abe and Kali are Gabby-bubs, Summer, Rain, Vivien, Ernie and Bert are Holly-bubs, and May is our single Lily chick. All except May managed to hatch within a 24 hour period on the 5th of March, during the ghastly weather. May hatched the following day, and had to be helped out – the membrane had started to dry, so I removed enough bits of shell to let her get her head free and finish the job. (I sometimes think she remembers that I helped her …) We did lose one chick during hatch – quite early on, and sadly it was a Lily bub that just didn’t manage to finish hatching. We left it too late to intervene, which is part of the reason why I made damn sure I helped May. (I know all the arguments for letting the ones who can’t make it on their own perish. But this bloodline is precious and scarce, and the combination of an elderly (biological) mother, dreadful weather, and a maiden broody means that I have absolutely no regrets, other than not helping the other one sooner.)
One sad thing is that it seems Gabby’s leg issues must be congenital. Kali has an extra extra toe. Actually she has two of them – one on each foot. It doesn’t seem to be a problem for her at all – unlike Gabby, she doesn’t seem to have any mobility issues whatsoever. It’s just a bit weird. And Abe has Gabby’s weird extra toenail – if you check the fifth toe, you can see the nail has a strange ridge along the middle of it, and seems to flatten out more than it should. Then you realise you’re actually looking at a double nail, growing out of a single, bifurcated nailbed. And Abe has that on both fifth toes (Gabby’s only weird on one.)
Then there’s Storm (the first to hatch), who hatched with a weird foot problem. Again, very like Gabby had as a chick. If you imagine a human foot with a very high arch, then mentally pull the tendons up even tighter so the foot over-arches, you’ll get the rough idea. Or do it with your hand – rest your hand palm down on a surface, and bend your elbow so that your forearm goes straight up, like a leg. That’s the normal position of toes relative to foot. Now lift the knuckles on your hand up and back, so that you draw your fingers and palm up off the surface, keeping your fingers completely straight. It’ll force you to tip your arm and wrist back, and do all kinds of strange things to the ligaments. That’s how his foot was, poor lad. Anyway, the toes seemed fine, so we decided to give him some time using it before intervening – if the issue is tendon rather than bone, and nothing is in the wrong place, it can just be to do with stresses during hatching, in which case they come right on their own.
And in his case, after about a week, it did. Even knowing about it, I don’t think you’d pick anything awry with his legs. He’s a lovely boy. But we just can’t risk ever breeding from him. Or from Gabby ever again. It’s not a risk we have the right to take, even if the three of them seem to be pain-free at this age. So Patrick’s position in the flock looks secure, for another year at least.
As for genders – we only had one that fooled us, and that was Abe. Originally he was hoped to be a she, and was christened Abigail, child of Gabrielle. (Not to mention ‘hatched in a gale’.) When it became clear that he was not a she, Abi became Abe. The two Holly boys were very obviously boys – white spots on their heads, clear as day. We were a little unsure about Vivien – hence the gender-neutral name – because she had a white splash on her chest while Rain and Summer were both black. But the three girls are developing quite lovely red-gold pencilling, while their two brothers are robustly barred. Sex-link chicks indeed!
So there we have it. Four boys, five girls. They all think that we humans are pretty darn useful to snuggle into or climb all over. Don’t know if we’ll keep all five girls – depends on how their personalities develop. It’s absolutely fascinating watching May and Remy and Freya – May is a rogue, and gets out quite often. And has no fear, so often goes across to see what Poppy’s girls are up to. (And gets chased a bit, but it doesn’t seem to stop her.) There’s only nine weeks difference in their ages, so it’s a reminder of how much Freya and Remy have grown.
And it’s so cute!!!