Saturday, May 18, 2013

Baby Chicks

Our hen Edith became broody and I tracked down some fertilized eggs for her to sit on (since we don't have a rooster).  She did a great job sitting on them, but for some reason none of them took.  :(  In fact one became so rotten it burst.  Yuck!  But she was so faithful.  In fact a chicken "pregnancy" is 21 days and she sat there for 25 before I realized those eggs were never going to hatch.  So with a little scrambling I found some young baby chicks via our local farming Facebook page.  I placed 5 chicks underneath her at night, switching them out for the eggs while she was asleep.  The moment she heard them peeping she began clucking contentedly and she accepted them as her own immediately! 

I wanted her to be able to raise the chicks herself and forage with them so I built a chicken tractor with my mom's help.  Look what I did! 

I was very proud of myself.  I designed it, made the material list and put it together!  I guess I did learn a few things being the wife of a carpenter for the last 10 years!

Baby chicks do not need to eat for 36 hours after hatching and I discovered why - after the brooding trance she put herself in she couldn't get up!   Of course these were not just hatched chicks so I put them out in the tractor so they could peck around.  It took mama a full day to try to drink and another full day before she was able to stand up.  Sitting on a nest for 25 days with minimal food and water wears a girl out! 

Mama and chicks - she might not have been able to move, but she kept a good eye on them.

Giving me the evil eye

Scratching and pecking

Teaching babies how to eat

Adorable little chick

Mama and baby


Sticking close to mama
It's so adorable to watch them.  She clucks to keep them close and they don't stray far.  Every once and a while one will duck under her and warm up and then jump out.  And there is not much cuter then a baby chick sitting on mama's back!  The five chicks are just a barnyard mix, but the woman I got them from said she had Buff Brahmas, Rhode Island Reds, Comets and Dominiques.  I can't wait to see their coloring!

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