My little Bantam hen, Henny Penny, had so many chicks she should have been a rabbit. Each time she laid eggs, she hid them and faithfully sat on them for 21 days -the length of time to hatch chicks.
Chicks growing in eggs is amazing to me. The egg yolk is actually an ‘egg’ made in the ovary of the hen. This egg leaves the ovary and as it travels down tubules, it is covered with the ‘egg white’- which is made of a protein called albumin. As the egg contents continue to travel down the tubules, a shell made from calcium is added just before the hen lays the egg. An assembly line for chicken eggs – only chickens usually only make one egg a day.
When an egg is fertilized, a chick grows inside the egg. The chick grows around the yolk and uses the yolk as food. Oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged through the shell that appears impermeable on casual observation. Over the 21 days the chick is growing, it fills the whole inside of the egg. All the parts of the chick grow as well as the down feathers. When it time comes to hatch, the chick uses its beak to break a hole in the shell. It continues to chip away at the egg shell until it is free from the shell. The chicks chirped the entire time they were hatching – seemingly telling the world there were coming out of those eggs- or maybe letting their mommies know to wait because they were on their way out.
When the chick came out, I loved watching them- their little beaks, little faces, little eyes, little wings, down feathers, and their tiny little feet. The only thing that wasn’t little was their chirping. The minute they were hatched they ran and chased after their mom. They hid in the wings and feathers of their mom and sometimes their dad to keep warm and as they grew, they then had little chicks of their own. Precious and priceless.
The miracle of birth. Einstein said either everything is a miracle or nothing is a miracle. I think everything is a miracle-especially little chickens.
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