web analytics


My new favorite YouTube binge channel is A Chick Called Albert. He’s a Dutch hippie with an animal rescue – ho hum – but his claim to fame is (and this is unheard of) he will take rescue eggs and try to incubate them.

When gamekeepers are instructed to clear out the nests of ground-nesting birds, or poultry keepers or aviaries find abandoned mystery eggs, he’ll take them in and give them a shot. I’d hate to think what his failure rate is, but he does seem to know what he’s doing and his successes are awesome.

Several times, to my horror, he’s helped a chick along at hatching time. Poultry keepers are told never, ever to do this. The very first sign of life in an incubating egg is a robust vascular system – gnarly veins – growing along the inside of the shell (on candling, it’s honestly spooky as hell). These veins are not totally inactive at the time of hatching, and hurrying things along can kill the chick. But, again, he seems to know what he’s doing.

The little peeper in the thumbnail turned out to be a zebra finch. Watching him giving it a first feeding with a pipette and a magnifying glass was something else.

I absolutely adored hatching eggs, which is how I ended up with three roosters and one hen. Never again, I’m afraid. I’ll have to hatch vicariously through my friend Alwyn here. His posts have slowed way down, but his back-catalogue should keep me busy a while.

p.s. If you think it’s a little creepy that the first thing he does is kiss the newly hatched bird, he’s not. He’s warming it up with his breath because he’s taken it from the nice warm incubator into the cold room to examine it.

June 17, 2024 — 7:25 pm
Comments: 7