Our first eggs hatched a week ago. Six hatched the first day, and another three in the following days. At one point we definitely saw nine chicks but never ten.
Now there are only eight chicks. We didn’t see what happened to the one that disappeared; for all I know it could still be at the bottom of the nest! But the parent birds are so careful about keeping the nest clean that I think it’s more likely that it died and was disposed of.
The parent tits spend literally every moment of the day gathering food for their brood. We help them by providing meal worms periodically but they disappear so quickly; we can’t keep up with the demand! Luckily we have a big old apple tree in our garden that seems to provide lots of grubs for this growing family.
There are a couple of noticeably smaller chickens in the nest that seem quite subdued when compared to their older siblings. These are often at the bottom of the pile and I do worry that they don’t get fed enough. But I have seen them eating, and also pooing, so hopefully it’s just that they are a couple of days younger than the bigger ones.
Last week, the newly hatched chicks were naked and floppy. Now a couple of the bigger ones are growing feathers. The smaller ones have to make do with fuzz. None of them have their eyes open yet, but that can’t be too far away. In a two more weeks they will thinking about leaving the nest!
The newest development is that suddenly we have sound. The chicks have started chirping whenever one of the parents appears; they launch themselves up out of the nest, mouths agape, with surprising ferocity.
At the moment they only make a very faint, wheezy noise but I suspect this will get a lot louder as they grow.
You can really see the size difference between the big and little chicks in this video. You can also see how the parents keep the nest clean. They scoop their babies’ poop with their beaks!
At the moment Mama still sits on the nest to keep her babies warm at night, but she already finds it hard to cover them completely. Legs and heads keep popping out from underneath her and it’s not going to be too long before she is going to have to sleep elsewhere.