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I'm a Brahma Mama!

My Light Brahmas hatched - all twelve of them! It's my first 100% hatch!

In the midst of staying at home during coronavirus lockdown, these eggs arrived, big and brown and beautiful - and a dozen, rather than the eight that I had ordered. My incubator only fits 6-9 eggs with the automatic turner installed, but if you take out the turner and rotate the eggs yourself three or four times a day, you can fit a lot more, so that's what I did to save the extra four chicks. I've hand-turned eggs before and found it stressful - being out in the middle of the day and remembering that the eggs need to be turned, or trying to make a back up plan for if you go out of town unexpectedly. But during this shelter-in-place mandate, I was surprised to find that I enjoyed the little ritual of sneaking unnoticed into the living room (the last thing I want to do is inspire my toddlers to open incubators and touch eggs) and communing with my quiet, warm, vital clutch of eggs for a moment while gently turning each one. In the midst of dire news all around, something was steadily thriving.

I've shared about the small thrill of candling these dozen light brahma eggs- shining a light through the eggshell momentarily - and seeing all twelve babies swimming around in their eggs, here.

Another moment that I love in hatching is when you see the first pip (the first tiny hole in the eggshell, made by the beak of the chick), or walk by and hear a chick peeping from inside its intact egg. It's the first visible sign of life. Sometimes you can't see the hole itself, but you'll find little fragments of eggshell on the floor of the incubator that tip you off. The night before these babies were due, I found my first pip. The next day, right when we were about to run an errand, I peeked in to see how the pipped egg was doing, and caught a totally different egg in the act of pipping on the other side of the incubator - a tiny but forceful action that sent a piece of eggshell flying up an inch in the air. While we were gone for an hour, that second egg wasted no time unzipping itself (working a hole all the way around the middle of the egg) and it busted out before we got back.

When they hatch, especially so for the first one that finds itself alone in the incubator, they scramble over the other eggs, peeping their heads off, pressing against the walls, trying so hard to get as close to you as they can. It's sweet but sad, because you really shouldn't open the incubator at this point and they want so much to be touching you.

So it's a little relief when the second chick hatches and they aren't so lonely. The first-pipped chick soon made it's way out and there we were: two chicks, and more starting to pip.

And two became twelve.

Here they are, brooding with my Black Copper Marans and Pavlovskaya chicks.

Aren't they sweet?

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