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Double Take!

I have “double trouble” in Heidi’s nestbox… another egg has hatched!  Isn’t Mother Nature amazing?  The hen lays her eggs one each day, often skipping a day or two in between.  When the eggs hatch in natural succession, the chicks show themselves in the same order, with the same spacing as that in which they were laid.  I trust the hens and Nature:  the first hatchling has a day or two to get established, fed, and growing before the next hatchling is needing care.

Some breeders “pull” the eggs as they are laid.  This means removing the eggs and storing them at a specific temperature until the day the final egg is laid.  The eggs all are returned to the hen who incubates them until they all hatch on the same day.  This gives all the chicks an equal chance for survival.

Momma birds, however, are very, very smart.  The hen can tell which chick is the hungriest. She decides which to feed first, and as the family grows, Daddy bird helps out, as well.  In fact, while the hen is on her eggs, she makes the tiny sounds of a tiny chick to teach her mate to come to the nestbox.  He practices by feeding her.

Heidi and Nigel were excellent parents, last year.  I am confident they will do a great job for me, again.  They are a match made in Heaven!



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