This morning when I checked on Cirrus, I heard quiet cheeping coming from underneath her. Gently, I lifted up her feathers, hoping to see a chick. The eggs were there unchanged but I could definitely hear the chicks inside the eggs. I left it for a few hours and to my delight when I checked this afternoon, I found one egg had pipped!
It can take more than 24 hours for a chick to hatch but knowing they are on their way is incredibly exciting! By mid-evening, I had another check and found the first chick nearly out. I hollered for my husband who came running to see it. As I held it, the chick began to kick itself out of the egg. Gingerly, I put the chick towards Cirrus. She went berserk and started to peck it. This wasn’t good! Broody hens can kill their chicks and I immediately took the chick out of the nest. Over the next ten minutes I tried to get her to accept the chick. Eventually, I got the chick under her and blocked her pecking by putting an egg in front of the chick. A few angry yells later, she settled down. We kept a close eye on her. Thankfully, she seemed to calm down and as I watched her, I wondered whether part of her reaction was panic because she didn’t know what it was. Cirrus and the other silkies were all hatched in an incubator so they have no knowledge of what broody hens are supposed to do. I also imagine that after three weeks of sitting on hard eggs, that the sudden appearance of a damp, wriggly cheeping thing would be somewhat disconcerting!
Now comes the difficult part of waiting, to see if any of the other eggs are hatching!