That’s the inside of the incubator (which sits in our library, of course–where do you keep your incubator?). On the right are the empty shell pieces of a freshly hatched chick, and on the left, a baby just completing the hard work of hatching.
How can I describe the experience of watching a baby enter the world for the first time? The transformation from a silent, smooth, inanimate object into a moving, breathing, fuzzy, cheeping ALIVE little animal? Well. Thank goodness for video. You can watch for yourself.
P.S. If you’re a bit intimidated by the idea of 25 minutes of egg-watching (REALLY? It’s EGG watching, guys. It’s not like I’m asking you to watch 25 minutes of FOOTBALL), you can skip to the main action, which occurs between 3:05 and 3:20. Still, there’s lots of good material throughout and BONUS I talk through the whole thing. The WHOLE thing. And some of what I say is pretty interesting. To me.
Oh, and that second egg? It hatched within minutes of turning off the camera. Chicks wait for each other. They start talking (cheeping) as soon as they take their first breath of air (cue the chick jokes), and they talk more when there are others talking. The noisier the collective cheeping, the faster they hatch, sometimes emerging fully within 20 minutes. If it’s quiet in the incubator, they’ll wait up to 24 hours before beginning the work of hatching (ducks will wait up to 48 hours).
Anyway. This is WHY they wait for each other: Same reason people do.
Oh, and guess what. These incubator babies got a mama.
She’d been sitting on 3 eggs for a while, and none of them developed. So I traded out those bum eggs for fresh chicks. She looked a little confused at first, but that’s okay. New motherhood is confusing. It just is.
What are you bringing into the world this weekend?
P.S. All of this actually happened yesterday. But apparently, 25-minute-long videos take longer than 25 minutes to upload to Youtube. They take longer to upload to Youtube than a chicken takes to hatch. Because in the meantime two more came out. Mama gets FOUR babies for her three eggs.