Friday, November 07, 2008

Science Friday: New Chicks

I'm always amused at city folk that ask me if we have to have a rooster to get eggs from the hens. (The answer is "no".) We've recently hatched yet another egg producing a yellow chickie (see left). This was an egg taken from the new red hens and due to its color, is likely sired by their half or full brother, Clay. It seems to be a trend - inbred chickens - as we considered with the parentage of a chicken hatched a month ago, he should likely be named Oedipus (rooster Lester with his mom, Ara). I suppose breeding management should become a school topic here. (I am waiting for some wise comment about inbreeding and Kentucky. Go ahead. I was born in Ohio.)

After the chickie was hatched, Raven (the surrogate mom) continued to sit on a few eggs, one of which hatched today. She promptly began pecking at it, and though we might think she was just trying to get it on its feet, she looked decidedly not nurturing. The chick is now under a heat lamp. Generally, all eggs hatch together because the chicken will start incubating them all at the same time. A well-meaning child placed said egg under the chicken two weeks into her incubation of the first egg, putting its hatching two weeks off from its sibling. The newest chick appears to be part Lester, part "Hawk" (William's name for one of the new red hens) and therefore, isn't inbred.

Speaking of Lester, I promised him to someone else just as Clay, the nicer, younger rooster developed paralysis. So Lester is gone, and Clay looses more control of his body daily. I finally called a large animal vet for advice. He suggested Riboflavin (B1 or B2) deficiency and that I freerange (do that) and feed good poultry feed (also check). So, I got him some Vitamin B drops from the pharmacy in a desperate attempt to save him. It is not likely to work. So for the first time in a long time, no rooster in my yard calls to tell the sun to get up. No worry. Oedipus is either a rooster or very, very disturbed. Or both.

The hatching was timely, as we just watched Magic Schoolbus "Cracks a Yolk".


Janie said...

Girl. You have your own little blog drama going on in the chicken coop.

I love reading about them.

debra said...

Did you get people-B Vitamin drops?
I just got 10 new hens from a woman today. They're a bunch of different kinds and they're a mix of 20 and 28 week old pullets so they should lay throughout the winter.
So long to Lester the Molester. I hope Clay improves or goes quickly.
We did an experiment about pecking order in chickens when my kids were younger--pretty interesting.

Junosmom said...

Janie - it's a regular Days of Our Lives.

Debra - yes. I went to the pharmacy nearby, not StuffMart which might have had more selection - but anyway. I couldn't find just Vit B1 or B2, but B12 in abundance, so that must be what humans buy more. I did find a BComplex liquid form (perfect!) that contains riboflavin in the correct form - sodium riboflavin phosphate. He looks no worse today, and I hate to say better yet. I'll keep you updated. Pecking order is a very interesting subject.


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