Mother hen hatched out seven chicks! Although after today, the number will probably be down to six.
One egg had nothing going on so I candled it and found it was infertile. The other one had a little crack in it, but nothing had progressed for over a day so I "helped" it along a little bit. I peeled a little bit of the shell off where it had started breaking out and there was a drop of blood, but no movement. I left it alone again for a while, but when I came back nothing else had happened. I opened the rest of it and the chick was dead. Not sure if I killed it by opening the egg of if it just died trying to get out. I feel like crap now.
One of the eggs that did hatch was a green egg from my Easter Egger hens. I've never had one of the green eggs develop, let alone hatch, so I was pretty excited about that. But when I went into the pen yesterday morning, I was greeted with a very, very disturbing sight. The Easter Egger chick had been scalped! As in the feather fluff & skin on top of it's head, from the eyes back to the neck, had been peeled away! I almost yacked when I saw it, and I'm not one to get queasy by barnyard blood & massacres.
The poor thing was still alive, but peeping like crazy. I immediately decided to put it out of it's misery so I scooped it up and set out to quickly lop it's head off. But when I took a closer look, not only did the chick seem active, but the wound actually looked pretty much "clean". It looked like somebody just pulled it's skin/feather hood off. Totally gross and disturbing, but not bad when you think of it as just some skin peeled off. I took a picture and debated posting it just to show how it's not always Rainbows and Ice Cream Cones on the homestead (you know, how some people think homesteading is), but figured my description was more than enough.
I brought the chick inside the garage (where it's warm & I won't have to supplement it with heat) and put it in a basket with some water and food. It's not looking so good this morning. Still peeping, but it's having a hard time standing up and probably not getting to the food and water because of it. I've been giving it water by hand, but it's not taking feed. If it keeps going downhill, I'll put it out of it's misery. Which is probably what I should have done yesterday in the first place.
I have a feeling I'm going to have nightmares about scalped chickens now. Creepy. Really creepy.