Old MacDamoff does not have a farm, but he did have to teach an embryology lab that called for fertilized chicken eggs, and he decided to bring home and incubate a few of the lucky leftovers. The little white eggs are bantam chickens, and the big brown ones are Rhode Island Reds. As you can see, one of the bantam shells is empty. They weren’t due to start hatching until Sunday or Monday, but Saturday morning, George opened the incubator to turn the eggs and out hopped this little cutie:
. . . and cuddling with Old MacDamoff. Like a lot of babies, April spent much of her first day vocalizing. She peep-peep-peeped hour after hour. But then we heard some muffled peeping, and realized it wasn’t coming from her.
One of the Rhode Island Reds was tapping and scratching and chirping inside her egg, and I watched it rock back and forth, mesmerized. I imagine any farm folk reading this are smiling that indulgent smile reserved for a young child enchanted by something as wonderfully simple as snowflakes or ladybugs. But as a city girl, I seldom observe this struggle to break forth into life, and it enthralled me.
I kept expecting the chick to bust her way out of there any second, but when we headed to bed she was still inside. We put her in the box with April, and sometime early Sunday morning while we were asleep, she finally broke free.
We really don’t know what we’re doing, or if they should even be in this box together, but they seem to be getting along okay so far. At least I think they are. While I was typing this, I heard some unusual peeping and went to check on them. The upper half of April’s body was stuck inside May’s discarded shell and she was lying on her back with her feet in the air. She looked hilarious, and I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture, but I rescued her on impulse and thought of the camera afterward. I just hope this wasn’t a case of the big bully stuffing the little wimp in a school locker. My guess is she crawled in there herself and flipped over trying to get out. Good incentive for “maid service” to clean up the shell mess and provide some fresh linens. (The “maid” in this case has a deep voice and a five o’clock shadow. I do photos and cuddles, but I don’t do chicken poop.)
I’ll let you know if MayBee, MayCee, and MayDee (yes, he really plans to use those names) succeed in joining the family. George is thinking about building a chicken coop in hopes of enjoying fresh yard eggs someday. We’ll see. For now it’s enough to enjoy fluffy newborn sweetness and marvel at God’s handiwork. Did you know it only takes Him three weeks to make a baby chicken? I can’t get over that.
Perhaps God is also smiling an indulgent smile? I hope so. And I hope I never lose the childlike wonder that gives Him a reason to.
Giving thanks in community for:
#89 New life, bursting forth from dark or hidden places
#90 The wonder of God’s handiwork in all creatures, great and small
#91 A baby chick’s soft down
#92 Soft, sweet peeping of babies born singing
#93 Eyes to see His handiwork everywhere
To join the chorus of thanksgiving, visit Ann Voskamp’s site.