Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically and to Permaculture principles, which we share with Chickens, Cats and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I am a Master Composter and have spent more than a decade as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council.
I'm a self employed Environmental Educator so I run workshops and events where I talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. I also run crafts workshops and Forest School/outdoor play sessions in our wood.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun.

To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Thursday 10 September 2009

The patter of tiny claws......

20 days ago I put 3 fertile cream legbar eggs under Broody Ruby Dorking. She has faithfully sat on them, refusing to get up and eat or drink unless I push her out of the broody ark every morning - she is a VERY dedicated Mum!

Yesterday was day 19 ( chickens typically take 20 days to hatch out) so I hoped something would be happening soon and when I went out to open up the hen houses, guess what? I pushed Ruby off the nest to make her get some food and drink, I looked at the eggs and.....one of the eggs had "pipped"! (cracked from the chick pecking at it from the inside)

Can you see the crack? Click on the picture to enlarge it!

I went back again a couple of hours later and ...surprise! a chick was there, sprawled on the nest. The other two eggs had cracked and the chicks were cheeping furiously from inside, but hadn't emerged from the shells yet.

See the little chick peeking out from under Ruby?

I wasn't worried about the other two chicks then, as it can take a few hours for a chick to emerge, but as the day wore on I did begin to be concerned. The chicks were active and struggling to get out of the shells, but examining the shells showed me they were VERY thick eggshell indeed. The worry here is that, the longer the struggle goes on, the drier the shell and membrane inside becomes and the harder it is for a rapidly tiring chick to push it off.... So, by evening I had decided if the chicks hadn't managed to get out under their own steam I would give them a bit of help. I wasn't going to pull the shell off them but I would try to rehydrate the shells with warm water, to help the chicks along a bit..

So I did. I dripped warm water on the shells to help the chicks get out. The extra humidity allowed them to struggle free and they managed to hatch themselves. When both the chicks had made it out of the shell we put them in a box on top of the dehydrator to warm up and then I put them back under Ruby to dry out and fluff up.

I think I have two pullets and a cockerel. Chicks! I love them :-) More piccies to come tomorrow ;-)


  1. Oh my eyes did well up! Well done Ruby & congratulations to you Mother Hen on helping the new arrivals safely into this world! They don't know yet what lucky chicks they are to have found life with you. :-D

  2. Oh my goodness this is so eggciting!! How wonderful to see them hatching out with your super photographs. I have never seen a chick hatching out before so this is a real treat! Thank you CW, cannot wait for further postings!!!
    Love Jane xxx

  3. I actually have video footage of hatching out the chicks in the kitchen and I spent 2 hopurs last night trying to get Blogger to upload it grrrrr....

    Am trying again now and hopefully will get it up on here this time...

    but don't worry, more lovely chick pics to come :-)

  4. Thank you for the compliments (grins)I WAS rather pleased with the photos!

    I spent no time at all, just pointed the camera one handed under the artificial light in the kitchen and et voila! out they came..

    I have a good camera though, a Fuji Finepix 900, I can reccomend it for snapping :-)

    I have an SLR ( well several) but they take ages to set up and I never have them to hand, but my little Fuji camera lives with me all day and I just snap away and edit out later....

    I find it really useful to have a record of what I have been up to, my memory is so carp nowadays so I use my camera like a pictoral diary :-))

    be assured, there will be many pics to come on here ;-)

  5. oh so cute!

    I miss having chickens :-)

    Rose XXX

  6. Lovely! Congrats on your new 'babies'.


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