I swear this happens every winter here! The conversation always goes like this:
DH (darling hubby): You were working out there a long time. Need some help?
ME (just me lol): No. I was cleaning a cage and moving the mama and babies.
DH: Babies? I thought we weren't hatching again till spring.
ME (starting to stammer): well, ummm...a couple of the Silkies just wouldn't quit sitting in the nests and they looked so cute, and I just can't ever get them to stop being broody and they only had 2 eggs each and I forgot to check for a few days (by now I'm talking real fast) and by the time I remembered they had like 8 eggs each and they were already developing and....
This is where he goes "just place an ad and sell them" and walks away shaking his head.
So......that's the situation! We have winter babies in the coop right now. Winter has it's own set of hardships for chicks. In the Summer if they get away from mama, they cry for awhile and either she finds them or I hear them and rescue them. (or since almost every hen is broody, somebody hurries over and tries to claim the crying baby by sitting on it! lol) In the winter however, they don't have very long before they get too cold. A tiny chick can die of hypothermia in less then an hour! That means reinforced sides on cages so they can't slip out. Constantly adding shavings because mamas like to scratch and kick the shavings out. Plus hourly checks and counts to make sure everyone is where they should be. Not to mention heated water refills!
Thankfully something besides black is hatching! (just when I was getting ready to stick my black roo in solitary) We have some porcelain, partridge and a blue. We've been getting these little guys out of our porcelain hen.
They're cute, but there's a sad story to go with this one. The guy in the picture was called Chip. Our son thought he was the same color as chocolate chip ice cream, so he named him Chip. Unfortunately for Chip he got his little self tangled in mamas belly feathers and didn't make it. Now though, every chick that hatches looking like this is instantly nicknamed "Chip's brother" So the hatch looks like this. 2 partridge......
and 2 of Chip's brothers.....
Plus the blue which was still wet at picture time. Chip's brothers feather out in a few variations. Usually they either turn out buff or porcelain. Occasionally I'll get a pale partridge. (think partridge with a white base) This is of course, a project. It's probably my favorite project so far.
I'm also working on a dark Lavender. I'll be back to show you the lav project next week!