The day I found that first dead baby chicken (Thursday) I left town for a conference in British Columbia. On the train that evening, I got a call from the homestead. Our friend Darryl said, “There is an egg with a crack in it that is going ‘Peep! Peep! Peep!’!” I felt like beaming to the whole train: “My chicken is having a baby!”
The next morning (Friday) the hole was bigger and the chicken was still peeping. By afternoon she was found hatched out and dead, Calamity Jane again sitting in the empty nest box next door. The baby, who Darryl was going to name ‘George’, had blood on her head. Did the baby die from exposure or from being brained? Who brained her? Was it CJ? Or was it another chicken when CJ got up to take a break?
I got back to town Saturday night. I checked on the nest and found CJ again sitting in empty Box #2. In Box #3 with the eggs was one that was cracked through with a wet chick sticking out the sides, you guessed it – dead. Bloody. Gross and sad. I buried it in the garden with the first chick.
Nothing happened Sunday. It is now Monday and CJ is sitting on the remaining eggs. Of the original six, three were from a Buff Orpington cross, three from an Austrolorp cross. The first three hatchlings were from the Orpington cross. The Austrolorp cross may have a slightly different hatch timing, in which case we may see activity today, or they may have suffered too much chilling time and will never hatch.
Lessons to-date? 1) Never leave home, 2) Install coop webcam, 3) Isolate mamma and her eggs. Unfortunately, I don’t have the resources at this time to do anything more than check frequently when I am home. A disappointing experience thus far, I welcome any and all stories of trying to hatch eggs.