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Monday, March 5, 2018

Maggie Has 5 Chicks

On Saturday 3 March, 5 of Maggie's eggs hatched well. I specify "well" because 1 chick died after hatching and Maggie destroyed the last egg.

Apparently, when many other eggs have hatched and there are still remaining eggs left unhatched, the Mama Hen will deliberately break the last eggs, and then stop sitting. This allows her to focus on running after the older chicks, who are by now all over the place. I guess Maggie decided to prioritise the 5 healthy chicks she already has, over that last one which may or may not hatch. If she had insisted to incubate the last one, she might lose the other 5.

Maggie laid 11 eggs. I ate 1 egg. She ate 1 egg. She broke 1 egg. So, she finally incubated 8 eggs. 1 died after hatching. Maggie destroyed the last egg. 1 egg died in the early stages of development. I found it whilst candling the egg and seeing liquid slosh about inside the egg. I threw it away before it could explode and contaminate the whole clutch with bacteria.

We have 5 chicks now.

The chicks like to hide under Maggie's wings and peek out at the world. This reminded me of  The Son who once, from social anxiety, pulled up the back of my qipao and tried to hide under it. The Son had a favourite black skirt that reached to my ankles. He could hide under there very nicely.

3 siblings. The other 2 are under Maggie's wings.

Meanwhile, the Father is basking in the warm sun.

Maggie is teaching her babies how to eat mealworms. Notice how she picks up the mealworms and then drops them back down to show her babies how it is done. In the process, she also kills the mealworms, making it easier for the babies to feed. Normally, when there are mealworms, Maggie makes short shrift of them. It is quite touching to see the way she denies herself so that her chicks can eat.

This is what they look like when newly hatched.

These are 8 hours after hatching.

Maggie deliberately kicked this egg out of the nest and it broke.

We found this dead chick in the nest on 2 Mar.

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