Friday, June 14, 2013

Bok Bok

There are many things I imagined doing on this boat when we first bought her. I knew we would raise children here, we would gut fish, we would welcome friends and drink wine and break bread, we would school our kids on this boat, we would explore and discover and grow.


I never once, not for even a micro second, imagined we would hatch chickens in the guest cabin.
And yet...

There are some die hard homesteading sailors who grow tomatoes and lettuce in the cockpit, they ferment cultures in the galley, they make their own yogurt, they roast their own coffee beans on deck. But chickens? On a boat?

Yes. Well, yes for now.

Of course these little cuties will need to (ahem) spread their wings and roam in some fresh grass and peck at terra firma eventually. And I'd like to go sailing...soon.  So, I told Zach one week. Maybe 2. And then they need to find a forever home where they can run free. Oh, and just for the record I did ask our dock master about keeping them at the marina. I think between the fits of laughter I heard a no in there. Our marina is so inhabited by foxes they wouldn't stand a chance unless we built a coop like Fort Knox. And the marina just isn't into that kind of thing.

We incubated 13 eggs and got 3 chicks. So far so good. It's a low number, and I am not sure why we didn't have more, but we're happy to have any. Zach was like a worried first time daddy checking their progress, carefully turning them, and when they started to hatch... wow! We were both like worried dads. I say dads because I started to understand how an expecting dad feels. You care so much and you can really do nothing of use but smile and hope. What a helpless, maddening feeling. And this was just a few chicks.

Zach gave me constant progress reports those last 24 hours. And to his utter delight he discovered if you gently "bokbok" into the incubator they will "bokbok" back from the egg. AMAZING. Little boys of this age are not generally knows for having a nurturing instinct, so it was extra sweet to see him kick it into parenting mode to naturally.

Naia was clueless. And that's sort of how we wanted it. If she thought there was something cool going down in the guest cabin those eggs would not have stood a chance. Super Toddler 2000 would have got her mitts on them and that would have been that.  It wasn't until they were actually coming out that we brought her up to the incubator on the bed and showed her what was happening. She cooed with delight and her first question was, "Where is their mama?" When I explained that the mama was on the farm and we would be the mama now her next question was, "Ooooo, do I get to nurse the baby chicken then?"

So we have 2 hatched in the brooder now and one more who was a late comer and not doing great, fingers crossed for thim. Zach named them Percy Jackson, Indiana Jones, and Gatsby. Pippi Longstocking and Shakespeare were two that almost hatched but didn't make it. The neighbor kids have been stopping by for regular updates. These two girls who live on a boat across the way just gave up their chickens recently to move aboard their boat, so they were extra delighted to get in on the chicken love. (I don't think I have mentioned these two before, but I have to say we are SO thrilled to have them as neighbors. They are gems, such wonderful friends to have in the neighborhood!)

Chickens on a boat. I think I have seen it all now. Might as well get that boy that pony he's been asking for and hitch him to the mast while we're at it.


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