She did it, y’all. And I could not be prouder.
I mean, I know that eggs hatch thousands of times around the world every single day… but to see it happen, first hand? God’s sovereignty over creation has just left me astounded.
It all happened right on schedule, with us able to catch the faintest of peeps, ears pressed to the back of her nesting box, the night before the anticipated “hatch day”.
The next morning the peeps were definitely audible and, within a few hours, the peeps were loud enough to be clearly coming from outside the egg. The anticipation and excitement honestly felt like a childhood Christmas morning.
And on day 21 at 3:41 in the afternoon, there he was. A tiny black chick peeking out from under his mama’s wing.
Three hours later an under-the-mama-hen check revealed a Crested Cream Legbar pushing out of its sky blue shell.
The wait until morning to see it completely dry and upright would prove surprisingly challenging.
The next morning we met our tiny yellow chick face to face when she peeked from under her mama’s wing.
Let’s just say, it was love at first sight for all of us.
Just a few hours later, one final egg hatched. And then there were three.
Sadly, our third Musketeer, who we named Snowdrop, only lived 48 hours.
And, as much as we’ve treasured the front-row seat to the miracle of new life, we all felt the sting of it unexpectedly slipping away.
Thankfully, the other two babes seem to be doing just fine.
Sunday marked one week since these little ones made their entrance into the big, wide world and we decided to celebrate by giving them full access to the run to see what they thought of the place.
They’ve been staying in a little safe nook under the coop, separated from the other hens, so Juniper can mother without fearing her little ones might be treated unkindly.
And I think they enjoyed their little adventure.
To give them some privacy in the run, we let the other hens out to free-range, closed the door to the run, opened the partition that separates the little family… and they were off.
Mama Juniper speaking to them constantly in little clucks of varying intensity – and the chicks listening intently and responding with haste… it was ridiculously cute.
(The term mother hen is beginning to make all kinds of sense now.)
The first chick is a Black Copper Marans. If it is a pullet, it will grow up to lay a chocolate brown egg. And will add a whole new color to our egg basket.
If it is a rooster, which I kinda think it is, I’m not sure what we’ll do. We are not set up for roosters and aren’t really interested in becoming a rooster-friendly place (because #cockadoodledoo).
But we’re only one week in and I can already predict that by the time we know for sure, in 3 to 4 months, it’ll be awfully hard to let either of these little loves go.
The second chick is a Crested Cream Legbar. If it is a pullet, as we suspect, she will grow up to lay sky blue eggs.
We think she is a she because Cream Legbars are an autosexing breed, meaning they can be identified at birth as either male or female. (Yay for not having to wait!) Females have a distinctive chipmunk-like striping down their backs and males, who are a paler yellow, also have a bright yellow dot on the top of their heads… something our chick, thankfully, does not have.
Because we really, *really* want her to be a girl. The Cream Legbar was Asher’s breed of choice since his Harriet died very unexpectedly in March. And if we only get one hen out of the whole hatching-egg adventure, I pray it’s one for Asher.
And she is a tiny little thing – barely bigger than the black chick was at hatch – but she is fierce. Active, loud and fast, I think she’s going to be able to fend for herself just fine.
And Juniper? Happy as a clam at high tide. A pig in slop. She is so gentle with them – patiently giving them bits of food before taking anything for herself, dutifully corralling her tiny brood to keep them away from danger and happily responding to their anxious chirps by fluffing her feathers and descending, tent-style, to warm them.
This girl was made to be a mama.
I’m not sure we’re going to want any more babies any time soon but, if we do, I’ll know who to ask to do the job.
Motherhood sure looks good on you, Mama Juniper.