Bottom line, we love science! In our family, we marvel at the wonder of God’s creation all of the time. It is not a rare moment to hear one of the children exclaim, “WOW! Look at the sky God painted for us tonight!” We seek to appreciate all of the life around us in the plants, the animals, the sky, and even each other.
We have had some incredible moments of life appreciation these last several months. It all started with the surprise bunny litter. We have truly enjoyed watching the bunnies grow over the last several weeks. Although fun, nothing can top the witnessing of the chicken life cycle!
Stormy, our beautiful silver cochin began getting really broody a few month ago. I did my best to keep her out of the nesting boxes, trying to break her broodiness. Then I decided to just let her go for it, we have a rooster after all… She began collecting eggs, letting her clutch build up. We marked the eggs with dates on them so that we would be able to monitor them.
After 10 days we began to candle them. We’d take half of her clutch to the closet and carefully shine a bright flashlight onto the egg so that we could see what’s happening inside. It was amazing to be able to see the intricate blood network inside the egg and the small mass that we assumed was the chicken fetus.
Another 10 days later we were prepping to witness the first signs of hatching eggs. On day 21, I went outside to check on the eggs and when I moved Stormy aside from her nest, there was an adorable freshly hatched chick! The kids came running and we all oohed and ahhed at the sight.
There was another egg with the same date and I thought, in my ignorance that it will surely hatch any minute. So I carefully picked it up and took it indoors and placed it on a heating pad so that we could witness the hatching. Shortly after, we noticed a pip (first crack) in the shell and could hear chirping from inside the egg! It was amazing to hear and we were so excited! Less exciting was learning that it could still be another 18 or more hours before it hatched. We all went to bed and I kept the heating pad next to my bedside so I could monitor it throughout the night. The next morning the noises were gone. Deciding to let nature take care of itself, I put the egg back under Stormy. At the end of the day, there was no chick. Not the next day either. Realizing that the chick was dead, I decided to peel back the shell. Sure enough, there was no life… but it was a beautiful sight to see how the chick is delicately curled up to fit inside of the shell. I’m certain that my handling the egg and trying to maintain the heat with the inconsistent heating pad killed the chick. Lesson learned.
Three more chicks hatched over the following days. It’s a pleasure to go check on Stormy and see a little head pop up through her feathers or to see her scratching the ground a few feet away and the little chicks mimicking her every move. Buying day old chicks are fun, but nothing tops this experience!
A few eggs in Stormy’s clutch came late and we didn’t mark them with dates. We had no real way of knowing what to expect without candling them again. I took them into the closet and checked each one. We found that two were not fertilized at all and could clearly see liquid rolling through the egg. We knew better than to attempt anything with those eggs as I understand the smell will knock us over if one broke. Those were placed aside to get buried outside. One other looked strange inside. There was more than one mass inside but there was also the “red line of death” across the inside which indicates that the chick had died. The others all had clear signs of life and were going to be returned to Stormy.
When I stood up to leave the closet, the questionable one rolled off of my lap and fell to the floor! It had broken completely open and there were two fetus’s! Both were deceased but what a fascinating sight! One was less developed than the other, which commonly happens with twin eggs. The other was twice it’s size and slightly feathered.
We would not have intentionally sacrificed a chick at different developmental stages just to see what they look like at that stage but as a result of our circumstances, we were able to see them first hand. It was truly fascinating to be able to look them over and witness the different life stages.
We are enjoying the opportunity to celebrate life on our little farm. What a privilege for our children to have the ability to see God’s handiwork up close.