For the past 2 years we've had chickens on our little "farm" and I'll have to admit that I've been none too fond of them. They can drive me crazy with their "cluckiness" and their insistance on fighting over the one nesting box that they all seem to want to lay their eggs in at the same time (even though I've prepared three perfectly suitable nesting boxes for them). We've never had much luck hatching chicks and if the three hens that we have didn't give us three beautiful eggs every day I think I would have gotten rid of them long ago.
However, about three months ago one of the hens finally decided that she wanted to set on her eggs. She lay three eggs and then set to work with incubating them. However, her two envious friends (actually her mom and her sister) insisted on snuggling into the nest with her every morning (while she was setting) in order to lay their eggs too. It was a big clucksy fight every morning for the crazy nest and after about a week of eggs flying everywhere I decided to fence in the setting hen so that the others couldn't keep laying their eggs in her nest. At this point I realized that the hen was now sitting on 14 eggs! Soooo, after her 3 weeks, or so, of setting were up and three little chicks had hatched the hen started chucking the remaining eggs out of her nest and the ones that remained she just plain refused to incubate any longer...she had done her time. We tried to incubate a few of the neglected eggs in a cooler (with a light bulb) and while we were taking the eggs out of the nest to transfer to the cooler, we noticed a little beak sticking out of one of the eggs. We put this egg in the cooler together with the others and waited all day for the little chick to emerge. At the end of the day when she still wasn't out Hizee and I decided to help her along. We literally pealed her out of the egg! I wasn't sure she was going to survive and I made sure Hizee knew that the chances were slim. However, Hizee and I were determined to give her the best chance possible. We carried her around under our shirts all day, everyday for about a week and made sure her cooler was set at a balmy 90 degrees for during the night.
Not only did Chickee Poo live...she thrived!!! Here are a few pictures of her early days...she is no longer a chick but is now an adolescent chicken. For the first month of her life she continued to live in the house, inside the cooler, and went everywhere perched on Hizee's arm or shoulder (more pictures to come in the future). She has now graduated to her own little mansion inside the chicken coop (segregated from the other crazies of course) and Hizee takes her out daily to "play" in the yard. She still follows Hizee everywhere Hizee goes...it is quite a sight. The whole Chickee Poo experience set off a chick craze amoungst Hizee's friends. Suddenly it was the "in thing" to play with chicks and kids started carrying their chicks around with them like toys.
What a dream come true for Hizee (and me)! I still don't love chickens but I sure do love Chickee Poo!