After spending the afternoon in the shed wrestling with paperwork, I gave up. Granted it was much nicer to look outside and see the plot with Roxy busy foraging away. But paperwork is still paperwork. My ancient laptop battery holds minimal charge but the solar power set up meant I could plug it in to recharge it. Hilariously, it barely drained any power from the battery. Thanks to the upgraded solar controller, the battery can be used and charged simultaneously. Over in the distance, I spotted Liz and Sarah arriving. Quickly, I finished up and headed off to say hello.
On their plot, everyone was busy working. It’s almost enough to make me feel mildly guilty about not working harder on my plot. Almost. Liz showed me the new tool shed and the larger shed is now a tea pavilion complete with comfy chairs, table and tea making facilities. It’s a great set up and set me wondering about tool storage. I left them to their work but before long Sarah came around with a trug full of weeds. The chickens adore weeds and she generously donated them to our girls. We split the weeds between both big coops and received a chorus of approving clucks as a thank you.
Back at home, I checked on Trixy. I still couldn’t see any chicks but occasionally I could hear a tiny cheep. I tried using a stick to move her feathers to see if any eggs were hatching and got a severe pecking for my trouble. I did just manage to catch a glimpse of an egg with a crack in it before hastily removing a pecked hand.
When my husband came home, I carefully picked Trixy up and checked the nest. Strangely there were eight eggs and no chick. Confused, I felt something wriggle in my hand and realised the chick was hiding between Trixy’s wing and her body. We put Trixy down and whilst my husband checked to see if any other eggs had started to hatch, I held the small ball of fluff. It was absolutely adorable! Without the egg shell though, I had no idea whether it was a blue/brown partridge or gold/porcelain millefleur. As Trixy jumped back into the cage, my husband spotted the shell and removed it from her foot. Typically, the part with the label on was still hidden in the nest.
Just before bed, we went back to have one last check. I lifted Trixy out and gave her to my husband. A quick check of the eggs showed that one had pipped and the one with the crack in from this morning hadn’t progressed. Gently, I removed the egg from the nest and Trixy began to shriek. Deafened by her yells of disapprobation, my husband hurriedly put her back into the cage. She immediately went back to her eggs and chick. This left me with the cracked egg. Clearly, the chick was struggling to get out as the primary feathers poking out of the crack had dried. Upon closer inspection, I realised the membrane had also dried, effectively glueing the chick to the shell. Cautiously, I removed the top of the egg which the chick had almost managed to do. Some people are very against helping chicks hatch, especially as they can bleed to death if you rip the umbilical cord. Aware that any mistake could be life ending, I removed the dried membrane and titled the egg, hoping that gravity would do the rest. The chick shifted a little but it was still stuck. Working out how the chick was orientated in the egg, I detached two small pieces of shell. Suddenly, the chick lifted its head and with one desperate wriggle, came out of the egg. I stared at it in disbelief. What a special moment to have a chick hatch on your hand!
The next problem was getting the chick to Trixy without getting your hand pecked off. By now she was incredibly irate and despite her small size, made several painful bruises on my hand as I tried to get the new chick under her. Ruffling her feathers and clucking loudly, I left quietly after making sure the chick was entirely covered by her feathers. Overnight, the chick should dry off and Trixy’s body heat will keep it warm.
And then there were two! Only time will tell if more arrive tomorrow!