That is to say, I gave up the hope that the other egg would hatch. I think I was working towards it for a couple of days now, but Abby helped me to see it in a rather blunt mother hen way.
I’ve read (because this is my first time hatching eggs, so I can’t claim to be any expert on what a chicken will do) that a mother hen will instinctively know when to abandon and egg and will, once all eggs that will hatch have hatched, start teaching her new babies all they need to know about life.
This morning, I found her outside the box, scratching up a patch in the coop, and clucking like she wanted Pip to hop out of the box and join her in more advanced foraging. Pip just kept looking up at her and cheeping back at her as if to say “are you kidding, Momma? It’s too high! This is my home!”
So Abby gave up and hopped back in with her chick… waited a few minutes and then, while I watched, the whole process repeated.
With the same end, too. Pip does not think he is ready to leave the box yet.
The underlying message was clear, however. The other egg, Ava’s egg, was not going to become a chick.
I did attempt to candle it once last week, and it looked like something was in there, so today when I left the coop, took the egg with me. It was cool, because yeah, Abby isn’t sitting on it religiously.
It was always a gamble. At the time, I had 16 hens and 1 rooster. Also, the days just before I collected these eggs, the rooster had a limpy leg so he spent one day in a cage to heal and one day unable to breed his hens because he kept falling off the ones he mounts. So really, there was a good chance neither of those eggs would hatch at all.
Really? If you look at it that way, Pip is our miracle baby.
I’ll admit it, though, I was hoping Ava’s egg had hatched, too. After Rebecca died, I really wanted Ava’s egg to hacth and be a little girl, because Abby, Ava and Rebecca were my gold sexlink hens, and the chick would be all sex link. They are sweet, gentle girls and even Dots is a gentle, but firm, rooster. I was kind of hoping beyond hope that we’d get one more. *sigh*
The next time one of our chickens go broody, I will given her more than two eggs.
And in the meantime, I will enjoy Pip. Every day with Pip will be an adventure, so very much different from raising the others. He won’t be raised in our brooder box under a lamp. He’ll be raised in the coop, with his momma, papa and aunties. He won’t grow up afraid of me cleaning the coop (ALL the others were afraid). He doesn’t spend his time in the dark, pecking the sides of his box, like his bio-mom did. He doesn’t spend all day cheep-cheep-cheeping in fear of the unknown. There won’t be an unknown for him.
So yes, I will enjoy watching Pip grow up this winter.