Saturday, March 29, 2014

Pip, Pip, Hooray!

It all starts with a teeny crack in the shell, that elusive "pip" that heralds the start of the hatching process.  After a while, the pip becomes a hold, and then the hole leads to a crack, and then with a whoosh-wallop kind of ejection, out come a chick.
They really do launch themselves out their shell prison, and then lay there for a minute or two, heaving like they just ran the 100 meter dash.  The little bit of umbilical membrane attached to their bellies quickly dries and falls off in a matter of moments, leaving them free to stagger around like small drunks on a weekend waltz.  They'll stagger and peep and crash around, sending their unhatched siblings rolling every which way, and then collapse in a heap of damp fuzzy weariness.
After several hours of drying off and recovering from the traumas of hatching, these weary little souls are ready to be tucked into the brooder with their boisterous siblings.  They won't eat for a day or so, and they like to nap during much of that time, but once they find their sea legs, they are peeping hellions who love showing off and pecking for tidbits (and occasionally finding their own toes).

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