Admit it, you are expecting a recipe or a review of a delicious dish.
Well, this IS chicken in a crockpot but I hope you won't want to eat it. Let me first provide a brief history of how we got to this place...
We have a largish flock of Buff Orpington chickens and one of the reasons we selected this breed was because they are said to be more broody than some other breeds. We thought it would be nice if our flock could self-propagate. We recently, as in 'for a couple months now', have had a handful of broody hens at any given time. A few weeks ago we hatched the idea of letting a couple of the hens sit a clutch of eggs each. I could go on at some length about how not to go about doing this, which is exactly what we did. It was a whim more than a plan. And we watched as musical chickens took turns sitting the eggs. At all times, someone seemed to be shouldering the responsibility for warming and turning and we just thought we'd see what happened.
Forward to this late morning when I'm checking nest boxes for freshly laid cackleberries and I find a partially hatched chick. With a hen who seemed to think this soggy, weak, completely confused speck of a chicken was some sort of danger, I had to make a decision quickly and, for better or worse, I chose to remove the emerging chicklet and the other eggs to a different location. Like a crockpot on my dining room buffet. Oh, that does sound bad, doesn't it?
I've been cycling the crockpot on and off of the Keep Warm setting to maintain a warm enough but not too warm environment.
I decided to use a wait-and-see approach and let her continue to work her own way out of the shell. A friend arrived and took one look and said, "You DO know you need to keep them moist, right?" Well, if I DID know that, then they would probably have been moist at that point. I asked her to lend her expertise and she helped the chick out of the drying shell and membrane and it captured her heart. I don't know if the chick think's she's her mother, but my friend does.
Here's the newly released bird resting and drying out. My friend acted like a mother hen. Really. She kept fussing and making sure the warmth was at the right level, helping it to sips of electrolyte mix. The whole nine yards.
And it is now a fluffy and lively little chick that gets very excited each time my friend peeks in on it.
As for the other eggs - we're waiting to see if they will hatch as well. I'll keep you posted!