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.
Three hours later an under-the-mama-hen check revealed a Crested Cream Legbar pushing out of its sky blue shell.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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 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.
Motherhood sure looks good on you, Mama Juniper.