Friday, October 17, 2008

Backyard Science Friday - Hatching Eggs

Each day, William and I take the bantam hen from her crate and make her eat and drink. She seems content to hunker down on the eggs in a hunger strike, willing them to turn to chicks by pure determination. Two of the eggs are green, and we knew already they were "duds", as she has been sitting on them about six weeks, though it only takes three to hatch. Two, both brown, we tucked under her around three weeks ago, so are nearly at due date.

Yesterday, we noticed that when she got out to eat and stretch her legs, it took only ten minutes for the green dud eggs to turn cold, as there is no chick inside. By contrast, the brown eggs were still warm, as the chicks inside radiated heat to the shell. By softly laying your fingers on the egg, you can feel small movements of the chicks inside. Sometimes, when very close to hatching, you can hear them peep from inside the egg.

The hen, were you to reach underneath her, has by now lost all her feathers on her belly, providing skin to egg contact for better warming of the eggs. If you approach her, she swells and lifts her wings, giving a warning sound and lowering her head. As I approach, she now knows I'm likely bringing berries or a treat to eat, and she tries to peck at my gold wedding band.

Because she is a bantam, she is more like a pet and accepting of being held and touched more than a full-sized hen, most of whom have had all sense bred out of them. I should have photos of at least one chick by the next week.

Did you learn any backyard science this week? Email me and I'll link to your blog below.

Backyard Friday Participants
Show me something you are learning in your backyard.

This week's participants:
In the Good Shepherd's Care


Camflock said...

We are working on backyard "art."

We are staining the deck --orange. At the store, the color in the 5 gallon drum was a beautiful honey brown. Well, at dusk it is a beautiful honey brown on the deck too, but a noon and most of the afternoon it is orange.

The moral of the story is -- don't trust those little color samples at the store or get 100 of them and lay them on your deck for a day. Look at them in all different light and then decide.

pita-woman said...

Hmm, what science did I learn this week?
Well, my froglets tend to change colors, back and forth between dark brown, bright green and a mix of the two. I thought perhaps it had something to do with not getting enough to eat on a given day (as perhaps Curly had eaten most of the ants). But my 'net research informs me they change colors because of the air temperature. Some frogs change colors, like a chameleon, to blend in with their surrondings... if mine start turning pink, blue & green, to blend in with their surroundings, I'm calling Guiness!


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