Operation hatch: Breakfast is served

A small platter (in reality, a Tupperware lid) covered with a mix of boiled egg and chick crumb, created a great deal of excitement among the five strongest hatchlings this morning. I can’t believe how much they’ve grown in just a handful of days – their feathers are beginning to come through and they’re preening themselves, too. The remarkable little birds scoot about at a staggering speed, but interestingly this clutch seem less timid than our class of 2010 – they would dart away from our hands every time we went in to give them their health checks or top up their food. But the miniature Ixworths are far easier to handle, which is a great help when you’re trying to check their vents for any signs of mess. If a chick is ‘pasted-up’, the hatching term for a bit of a blockage, we remove it with a little warm water and some cotton wool – but again this crowd are clean as a whistle in this area, which apparently means that the brooder temperature is right and they’re not getting too cold, plus the fact we needn’t perform this task is a great time saver when we’re flying around getting ready for work!

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Last night we set up another brooder (below), Blue Peter-style, in a large plastic box and with a spare lamp, for the three weaker chicks, who until then had been in the incubator. So far, despite looking a little poorly and small, they are doing well and appear to be eating, including taking some boiled egg from our hands. I hope that they’ll soon be well enough to join their feistier siblings but only when they’re strong enough to contend with their antics. I’d really appreciate some views from other henkeepers about similar experiences with weaker hatchlings and any tips available are very welcome.

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