Life After Death, an Elusive Amphibian, and Raccoon Roadkill

So, I might as well follow my last bereaved post with more drama from what I've been affectionately calling "our little menagerie." Unfortunately, our little menagerie has been getting smaller and smaller. A horrific chicken massacre was perpetrated by an unknown varmint. Sadly, half of the City Girls are no longer with us. *Update: The traps went un-tripped for days, but a roadkill raccoon was spotted nearby and I have fingered it as the perp.

We took solace in the fact that at least we had developing eggs in our homemade incubator, only to find out on hatch day that our first clutch of eggs were all quitters (embryos that stopped developing). And yes, we did open up the eggs to investigate the contents. The #incubatorproject was all in the name of learning anyway. Though I borrowed this pic from google, this is what we found.

So, our eggs were quitters, all except one.
Little Pip (or Pippi, as will be her mighty girl title if she's a she)
was a welcome distraction from all the gloom.

The joy of incubation success was soon overshadowed by yet another creature conundrum. The tree frog vanished! Yes, that's right. Georgie was nowhere to be found. Did he escape?! We left no stone in the terrarium unturned (literally). Every corner and every joint was checked. Did he burrow down deep into one of the plants in some misguided, off-season attempt at hibernation? Surely, not! Our little frog was nothing if not consistent. He always turned up after dark and often sat watching for someone to deliver his evening meal. Alas, it was affirmative. Georgie was MIA.

As we puzzled over Georgie, our next hatch day came and went with no pipping... no hatching. Feeling defeated by all of our animal mishaps, it was time to to put an end to the melancholy madness. It was time to place a hatchery order for baby chicks for my birthday. And that's just what I did... after Jorma agreed, of course.  Poor, lonely, little Pip couldn't wait any longer for hatchery chicks to arrive. She had had enough of solitary life.  

So, we went to the feed store and got her a friend. The day after bringing Harriet home from the feed store, it was time to say goodbye to Lulu. It was also 2 days past hatch day and time to think about calling it quits with the incubator. After all, chicks were on the way. I couldn't do it though. I left the eggs in there, knowing I'd regret it later. When we came home from the vet without Lulu, I peeked into the incubator and was shocked to find that one of our two remaining eggs had pipped! I couldn't believe it. It was exactly what I needed on such a sad day.

I stayed up all night so we wouldn't miss the hatch. And at 6:23AM, I woke up Janie Kathryn and we watched until  Lu (or Luther as the case may be) finally came into the world an hour later. It was then that we noticed the 2nd egg had pipped, too!  If you're keeping track, that makes 3 hatched chicks, 1 from the feed store, and more on the way from the hatchery. Eek!

Our third hatchling took a little too much time and I had to help out. Viability was questionable. So, I tried very hard not to get too excited, but a new life HATCHED IN MY HAND. It was so awesome! Things were looking up and you won't believe what happened next...

*Update: After a lot of TLC, Pokey is progressing and making friends with the hatchery hatchlings, now.
Jorma found Georgie! Yep, that's right. As Jorma looked out the back door, a phantom need to let the dog out, there was movement among the shadows of houseplants. And there in the darkness of the kitchen was the frog! Not a bad way to complete the first week of March, seeing that it had such a gruesome start! I guess the menagerie continues to grow after all.

For the sake of storytelling, I should end on a happy note. So, I won't go on about how Janie Kathryn got the flu the next day or that it has been raining cats and dogs, err chicks and frogs... or should I say it's been raining gallons- at least 128 of them, since that's what I've vacuumed from the basement bathroom since our happy little ending.

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