Yesterday was Day 23 since I put the first batch of eggs in the incubator after our trip to the chicken farm. I’ve held out and held out, unable to bring myself to dispose of those eggs that I accidentally overheated during the first day of incubation. The temperature in the incubator exceeded the level that can kill chicks. Yet I hung onto them, candled a sampling of them after a week, and again after another week, and didn’t see anything in the ones I candled while easily spotting babies in the second batch. But still I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of them. I turned them in a faithful yet hopeless spirit. I had to turn the second batch anyway. What’s a few more to turn at the same time? Princess didn’t want me to get rid of them either. She was convinced they would be okay. I didn’t want her to be disappointed, so I delayed.

Yesterday, starting to worry about the second batch of eggs (today is Day 21 for them!), I decided it was time to do the right thing. I can’t have bad eggs exploding and hurting my good batch by infecting the incubator. I decided to load the first batch up, take them outside, and break one open just to reassure myself that the cause was really lost, then toss the whole batch in the woods. It was easy to pick them out as I had marked them differently–the first batch was marked for turning with X’s and O’s, the second batch with A’s and B’s. So I got an empty egg carton, opened the incubator, and started taking them out one by one and placing them in their sad little casket.

And I thought, maybe I am too stupid to be a farmer? I screwed up the first thing I did.

Then, as I placed yet another egg in the carton, even in the moment that I took this photo to chronicle the sad post that this was to be, I heard something.

And I looked back at the incubator.

One of those X/O eggs from the first batch that I was about to pick up and throw away–


There was a BABY in there!!!!! I quickly put the other eggs back.

And within a few hours, out this baby came.

None of the other eggs in the first batch have the least crack. Is this the sole survivor? I asked Princess what we should name it.

“Lucky,” she said.

And I told her, “We’ll figure out a way to mark it. If it’s a hen, of course we’ll keep it. But if it’s a rooster, it’s the rooster we’ll keep.”

And at first Lucky looked so tired. He flopped around and rested his weary, lucky, shell-cracking head on a brother egg.

Then he got rowdy and started climbing all over the other eggs.

And Princess said, “We have to get it out of there! It’s going to disturb the other eggs!”

My cousin has a brooder for us, but we haven’t brought it over here yet. Yes, we’ve had 23 days to prepare, but I was busy. Getting settled in the new house and writing my book and making truffles. So, in our incompetent way, Princess and I tried to figure out what to do. We got one of the boxes we’ve been using to move things from the old farmhouse. I got the light I used for candling and put a big bulb on it. I put newspaper down in the box. But how to get the light fixed over the box to keep Lucky warm?

“I’ve got some Scotch tape in my room,” Princess said.

Uh, no! I rooted around and finally came up with this candelabra thing I could hook onto the side of the box to brace the light, then set an old address book on top of it to keep the light directed the right way. I put the box against the wall and just needed something heavy to keep it there so the address book and the light wouldn’t change direction.

“Give me a phone book!” I told Princess.

She gave me the teeny tiny county phone book.

“No!” Sheesh. “The BIG one!”

And here is the result. What can I say? We’re two girls with a chicken. We’re doing good if that light isn’t tied on with a hair bow.

Princess got Lucky out of the incubator, sparing the other eggs his wild ways. And we set him in his little box, all by his lonely lonesome. He needs friends, doesn’t he? Maybe he’ll have some soon?

Meet Lucky.

We have chicken!


  1. Kim A. says:

    Ahhhhhh!!!!!! You have a chicken!!!!!!!!!!!

    Oh, I’m SO excited! (Can you tell?) This is fantastic!

    *Happy Dance*!!!!!

    Chickens in the Road, indeed!

    -Kim :rockon:

  2. Jonna says:

    Congrats on your new chick!
    My dad and I made an incubator out of a styrofoam cooler years ago for my eighth-grade science project. So cool to see those little babies come busting outta their shells. Have fun with Lucky!
    Love your blog BTW!!

  3. Jyl says:

    I know that ya’ll are estatic! I would have loved to have seen the shock on your faces…and, CONGRADULATIONS!

  4. Sarah in Sanford says:

    Suzanne, you are not incompetent. You didn’t bring the brooder over early enough because you thought the first batch wasn’t going to make it. Life is full of miracles everyday. Little Lucky is proof that indeed you are doing a great job on your farm. I think you will have success at whatever you do. A Country “Girl” Can Survive.

    Congratulations on the baby chick! It’s so ugly it’s cute!!

  5. Margery says:

    Congratulations, Suzanne! With your determination and ingenuity, you’ll be a huge success at living the farm life.

  6. jan says:

    It;s life amazing! HAtching chicks is the coolest thing ever! It amazed me how long it took to peck out of the egg. Our prescholl hatches eggs each year in the spring. Congrats!

  7. Patricia Herman says:

    :shimmy: :shimmy: :shimmy: Congratulations on the baby chick – soon to be chicken in the road. He is indeed “Lucky”. Hope you have a whole broad soon

    Have a great weekend!!!!

    :shimmy: :shimmy: :shimmy:

  8. Granny Sue says:

    Congratulations! Your brooder box looks as good as any I’ve used. As long as it’s warm and dry, your chick will be fine (why do I already think it’s a rooster?). I hope a few more of the first batch survive.

    On another topic: I was talking about your blog to a friend who said, “Oh, I think I’ve heard of her! She’s dating my dentist’s brother or cousin or something. She’s the woman who writes romances and lives in Roane County?”

    No, I didn’t ask for names; not my business. For the rest of the world there may be 6 degrees of separation, but in West Virginia, it’s usually 3 or less.

  9. Blaze says:

    Hell hot diggity damn!
    Thats awesome, glad at least one of them survived!
    Life finds a way. :mrgreen:

    Hopefully there well be more chicks to go along with Lucky.

  10. Kristen says:

    I love it…’s so cute. I hope your cats don’t find it. :rotfl:

  11. Gizmo says:

    CONGRATULATIONS!! :snoopy: You’re on your way to being a chicken farmer, among other things. :mrgreen:

    Brooder tip – Lay a piece of paper towel over the newspaper, so Lucky can walk easier. :sheepjump:

  12. Heidi says:

    BOO-YAAA!!!!!! :shimmy: Hooray for LUCKY!!!!

  13. Cheryl S. says:

    Awwww . . . precious. And a very appropriate name. Hope there are more “lucky’s” on the way!

  14. shgrsweet says:

    Your first chicken! and he is adorable!!!!! how exciting!!!! :elephant:

  15. Becky says:

    Way To Go, Suzanne and Princess!!!!!!
    Can’t wait to see the rest!!!

  16. Kelly says:
    :birthday1: HaPpY bIrThDaY to Lucky! I am proud to say that your first chicken is my birthday buddy!

    Lucky is a truly lucky to have a grrrrrrrrrrreat mommy and a sister whose hopes ran deep for the little peep!


  17. MARY says:

    :elephant: AAAAWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!! How adorable!!! I can’t wait to show my little girl this post!!! You did it!!!! Yeah!!!! I hope Lucy likes his new home, and you girls did a great job!! Have a nice weekend! :butterfly:

  18. MARY says:

    P.S. Sorry, Lucky! ๐Ÿ˜Ž

  19. Amelia says:

    :heart: :chicken: How exciting! Your very first chicken born at your new home.

    Enjoy this chapter of your life!

    Amelia in Oklahoma

  20. Tresha says:

    We left our chicks in the incubator until they dried, they stay nice and warm and their peeping encourages the others to keep working to get out of that darn shell! they settle down once its dark and the lid is back on….just like being under a mama hen…

    that is so awesome…it is so fun isn’t it!!!!!

    Great post
    Tresh in Oklahoma

  21. Lora says:

    Wow! That’s the news of the day! We have all waited with you…..does this mean we are all chicken aunties?!
    Congrats and good on ya for not giving up.

  22. TSannie/annbb says:

    HURRAY!!!!! :snoopy: :elephant: :bananadance: :yes:

  23. Melissa says:

    So glad you saved the eggs from the first batch, but I have to admit,I was skeptical. I’m glad I was wrong. Thsi is great! :bananadance: :chicken:

  24. Bayou Woman says:

    I’m not sure if this is necessary, but when I had chicks, the feed store said to wet the feed and make a soggy mash out of it so they could eat it more easily. And then they still wash it down with sips of water. FYI.

  25. ninepoundhammer says:

    That’s awesome! Thanks for the post and the brutal honesty; I, too am navigating my way (with varying degrees of success) through the journey from city boy (I grew up in Houston) to Farmer Brown. I have ‘only’ lost two chicks and have yet to start incubating. Your updates on what to do (and not to do) are reassuring and quite valuable. (And my wife LOVES your grandma bread recipe!)

  26. Mim says:

    I’m so excited for you! I just lost my twelve eggs yesterday do to a power outage. It gives me hope for future eggs to see Lucky.

  27. Treasia says:

    Lucky is truly a lucky little chicken or rooster!! :chicken: What a wonderful little surprise he/she is.

  28. Tipper says:

    I’m so glad you kept hope alive for Lucky!

  29. *jan says:

    :flying: Happy Birthday “LUCKY”, Truely a jewel, brothers and sisters soon!!!! Keep believin’ you’ll have many flying around that box soon. Found your sight just yesterday…and now the first blog ever written by me, is to you. HAL-A-LU :snoopy:

  30. Mental P Mama says:

    This story totally makes my day. Thank you. :heart: :chicken:

  31. Cyndi Lewis says:

    Congrats on the chicken! Yah!!!!!! Happy Birthday, Lucky! :birthday2:

  32. Shirley says:

    This is a monumental day. This chicken will always be your favorite. It will be a family pet more like one of the cats than a chicken. Oh, but wait, you must protect that baby from the cats. Remember Sylvester and Tweety. You may need to put a wire screen over the whole thing.

    Have fun with your new baby. I remember how my mother spent hours working with the baby chicks and then putting them in the brooder house and finally out into the chicken yard.

  33. Suzanne McMinn says:

    Lucky’s box is in my office, the same room where I’m keeping the incubator, where I can keep the door shut to keep the cats out. They have been stalking the hallway outside the door ever since they heard the peeping, LOL!

  34. Amy Addison says:

    You have CHICKEN! Oh, yay to Lucky and Happy Birthday to the first McMinn born in the new old farmhouse!

    :shimmy: :clap: :rockon:

  35. Jennifer Robin says:

    That is so cool; I can’t wait to see if any more from that first batch hatch. What a perfect name, Lucky. I’m a duck person myself, but am enjoying your chicken venture vicariously!

  36. Jen ( says:

    Oh my gosh! Congratulations Lucky! I thought for sure they were goners…

  37. Jodie says:

    Woo Hoo! Happy Birthday to Lucky! :snoopy:

  38. tdub says:

    Despite living a lifestyle that’s FAR CRY from the farm life I was raised on, I still have many vivid memories of those days. Raising baby calves, feeding the chickens, helping an in-distress cow have her calf, milking the cows….slopping the hogs…and on and on….

    I must admit I got a little excited reading your post and watching Lucky “come out of his shell!” How well I remember those days of turning the eggs…X one day, O the next…eagerly awaiting the “birthday” of each new batch!

    Congrats on the new member of your little brood…and for reminding me of the joy of my childhood. I need to call my 80 yr old mother and thank her! ๐Ÿ™‚

  39. Linda~ says:

    Congratulations and thank you for sharing. I’m looking forward to seeing Lucky’s progress. Will you start a baby/scrap book for him/her?

    Did you ever think of writing children’s books based on your farm, cats, chickens, etc.?

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend.


  40. Teresa says:

    This brings back memories of our one and only batch of eggs I ever tried to incubate. We got one chicken out of 30 eggs we started with!
    Esther. Esther, the lone survivor of a horrible science experiment gone bad. We cooked most of them the first few days we had them. Then, to make matters worse, my 2 yo son, bless his heart, dropped two eggs about a week before they were due. The poor things were alive! So Esther is all we got. She’s a great chicken. Of course we had to get her some friends! We bought them though. :mrgreen:

  41. Renna says:

    Welcome to the world, little Lucky! :thumbsup:

  42. DeeBee says:

    That must be so exciting to successfully “grow” a chicken. I’m not good with farm terms. Congrats!

  43. Angie says:

    Okay, you’re going to think I’m making this up, but I’m not. I just had ONE lone chick hatch last night too, out of a batch of 18 in my incubator, and it looks JUST like that one. I haven’t removed my other eggs yet, but I’m certain no more have developed. Too bad I’m in Illinois, I’d give you this “LUCKY” chick too so neither would have to be alone. :chicken: Now I’m focusing on my other incubator with 20 ducklings developing in it! 2 weeks to go on those! ๐Ÿ™‚

  44. Jenawriting says:

    miss suzanne. If I come visit with my mommy, can I hold Lucky? He is so cute. I am so happy for you and my friend your daughter. I miss you and West Virginia. I love your house too. love Kailee

  45. Donna Mc says:

    WAHOOO! I’m so happy Lucky arrived just in the nick of time. God Bless his/her little fluffy head. *G*

    COngrats on your new baby. May you have many more lovely little biddies to play with soon.

    Donna Mc

  46. Shimmy Mom says:

    :elephant: Congratulations. Oh lucky is so cute. I have goose bumps what a happy ending to your first batch troubles. I can’t wait til he/she has friends. (I know when my kids get there chicks out to “play” with them, they get very noisy calling to each other) Friends will help a lot. I am so happy for you! :clap:

  47. Annette says:

    :bananadance: Yay! Go Lucky!

  48. Linda in San Diego says:

    Chicks are fun, mine are 5 days old and fun to watch, even the dog likes to watch. It will be fun to watch your Lucky grow too!

  49. Susan says:

    Woo-hoo!! Welcome to the best home you could ever hope for, Lucky! :flying:

  50. Kim W says:

    Yippee Skippee!! You have a chicken!! How exciting. Lucky will be your prize!

    Blessings from Ohio…

  51. jeanne.macbean says:

    What a great post! thanks for sharing your great adventure.

  52. sara hardaway says:

    Wow and Wow again!! How exciting. My mouth hung open as I scrolled down. I hope you have more so he has some company. so awesome!!

  53. Remudamom says:

    Did anyone tell you that you have to dip it’s beak in water so it will drink? How’s he doing?

  54. Suzanne McMinn says:

    Lucky is doing good–eating and drinking and moving around. Still all by his lonesome at this point…..

  55. Brandy says:

    Awwww, Lucky is beautiful! Can he have a stuffed friend to keep him company for now?

  56. Alison says:

    Yay! Congrats :snoopy:

  57. Carolyn says:

    Such good and “Lucky” news! I have been waiting to hear and you’ve worked so hard to bring this little miracle into the world. Congratulations! xxoo

  58. Estella says:


  59. Lexi Connor says:

    Yay, Lucky! Great story, Suzanne!

  60. catslady says:

    I hope it’s a boy so Lucky can strut his stuff :snoopy:

  61. Lisa in Californi says:

    YEAH!!! How exciting! Now you may have a double batch of chickens. Congratulations!

  62. Lynn Jones says:

    Lucky must be one of the most anxiously-awaited baby chicks in America! I have thought about your incubator and the eggs countless times, and have even told my friends about them. So glad you’ve got a chick!

  63. jaq says:

    Aww, Suzanne, what a great story! And love the pictures. I can’t wait till the rest of them break out. And look how fluffy Lucky is already. So how soon will you know if Lucky is a he or a she? Does someone ‘sex’ the chick?

  64. Jen-o-topia in TN says:

    Oh! What a great story. If there’s a better example of luck ~ or providence ~ I don’t know what it is.

  65. Cama says:

    :snoopy: It’s a baby!!!!!! Remember the episode when Lucy and Ethel had all the chicks in the house?? Keep an eye on the :cattail: hee heee. Congrats to you!

  66. midwestmom says:

    YAY! I’m so excited for you. Is that food on the paper plate? The pile of it looks bigger than the chick!!

  67. Dru says:

    Welcome Lucky!

    How do you tell if it’s a girl or boy chick?

  68. Claudia W says:

    I just love you and Princess! I would have been just as excited as you. I miss my chicken who we named Rhodey (short for Rhode Island Red) She was a great chicken.
    Congratulations on hatching your first chicken…and a miracle one at that. You are doing so well, don’t worry about failing at anything, I have faith that you will do well at anything you attempt.

  69. Christine says:

    Congratulations!!!! It’s an amazing thing to experience isn’t it?

  70. M says:

    ๐Ÿ˜† Oh how cool! In 23 days I should have baby ducks hatching in my kindergarten class!

  71. ML says:

    Oh I’m so happy for you. I have anxiously been waiting to see what happened with those eggs. Lucky started hatching just in the nick of time. So glad Princess convinced you to wait and see. You guys must of been beside yourselves to see that little baby chick hatch. Truly a miracle!

  72. Baby Island says:

    OMG, it’s my first Blogged Chicken Birth!! I feel almost as if I helped… But sans the wet new born chicken and bits of egg. Well, and the fluffy cute end result! OMG! Lucky is one lucky chick and so dange cute. You gals are making me want to get a chicken. What in the hell would I do with a chicken on baby Island. Can you have just one chicken? Or do they need friends, or boy chickens… Too complicated.

    How will you know if its a hen or a rooster?? :birthday1:

  73. margie says:

    :chicken: :heart: woohooo

  74. Julie Andrea in Englehart, ON says:

    :elephant: Woooo hooooo! Finally! Awwww, little Lucky is just lovely. Thanks so much for sharing these wonderful pictures with us. With all the work you have to do, you even have time to do this! Isn’t nature just amazing?

  75. SuzieQ says:

    How WONDERFUL!! Everyone who knows me knows what a big softy I am and now all of you know also…pictures made me cry..Go Lucky!!

  76. Krista says:

    I felt giddy reading this. It can’t help but put a smile on your face. Way yo go Lucky!

  77. monica says:

    Oh so cute and a wonderful story to share. Thank goodness you waited long enough for her to develop or she would have gotten tossed too! :shimmy: :heart:

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