The Block Island Times

The library that hatched a chick

By Margie Bucheit | Apr 20, 2013
Photo by: Margie Bucheit Egg Sitters Reilly Hobe, Mikhaela Brown-Padien and Charlotte Hall wait as chicks begin to hatch on Tuesday at the Island Free Library.

A heated incubator at the Island Free Library holds several delicate eggs that have sat comfortably in their artificial nest for the past few weeks, being rolled gently and automatically by their electronic mother. When the eggs start to wobble on their own, it’s a sure sign that they are about ready to burst. Industriously, the tiny birds began pecking away at the shells to make their debut.

The chicks have something called an egg tooth that helps them complete the arduous process of pecking away at the hard shell that encases them. By the looks of it, this is no easy task.

They will be true blue heritage bred chickens, Rhode Island Reds and Dominique, to be exact, both native to America. One chick in particular, the one that will hatch from the egg with a heart drawn on it, will be a real Block Islander. A Dominique hen that came to visit the Block Island School on March 28 laid that egg while at the school. She was the centerpiece of a presentation given by Casey Farm, located in North Kingstown, R.I., about heritage-bred poultry.

Once freed from their shells, the chicks will stay in their incubator until they are dry and their feathers fluffy. They will then be moved to a box with a heat lamp where they will have their own food and water supply. Fully grown, they will reach weights of five to seven pounds.

Islanders are invited to visit the chicks, but do so soon. They will be moved home to Casey Farm by the weekend, where they will be raised range free.

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