It’s 3am and I wake to the familiar sound of “cheep cheep!” The incubator is still on rotation mode so I get up to stabilize the container and sure enough, the first little babe is out of its shell. It’s the exact due date for the chicks and I am so happy to greet the first new hatch-ling. Over the next few days, if all goes well, 17 more eggs will give up their feathered fluff balls to a bright new world.
All of these new birds are the offspring of the Ayam Cemani roosters. If I’m lucky, at least one of these eggs came from our Cemani hen. The new chick is surprisingly light, but the black markings tell me the genetics are there, though most of these chicks are hybrids. It will take a few more generations to shift over to all black birds, but that’s the plan. I’m always so excited to see the new chicks, and it will be a big clutch this year, and the first of two I plan to run for the farm before summer gets into full spring.
The second hatching will be all Ayam Cemani eggs from our one black hen; once I get her situated in her own nesting enclosure with Big Comb, my favorite Cemani rooster, who has been chilling with the other roosters in the portable bachelor coop. Big comb is the largest rooster, but for some reason, he was beat up and kicked out by the other two roosters who now protect and cover the laying hens. I have kept Big Comb because of his size (big hips which are favorable in laying hens, along with his beautiful iridescent green feathers, the prize coloration of an Ayam Cemani. I’m also a fan of his more docile nature, something that got him kicked out of the flock, but is much more favorable for human contact.
For Leafhopper Farm, its a milestone in the development of our chicken system. This year we won’t be purchasing new chicks from a hatchery, bringing our hen production onto the farm and completely sustainable within the holistic planning of the land. These chicks will double the size of the flock and put a fire under my butt to build a new coop. For now, I’ll sit up well before dawn listening to the eager peeps and smiling as more little chicks peck there way out to join us on Leafhopper Farm.