We recently had two hens hatch out some chicks. Here are pics of the babies. They are three week old little balls of fluff and curiosity. One of them is behaving like a dominant little rooster already and one is acting like a peaceful little hen, allowing herself to be held and petted without screaming and fighting. The third one I haven’t been able to get ahold of yet to evaluate, which alone tells me it’s likely a rooster, too.
It’s been incredible to watch the mother catch a bug or grab some scratch when we let her out, get back into the coop and call the babies over to her to teach them what to eat. She’ll disable a bug just enough so it can’t get away quickly. Then she’ll give a special call and the babies come running. She drops the bug and the games begin. It’s pretty funny to watch them all gathered in a circle, head down and butt up, staring at the same point on the ground while the mama talks to them. The babies respond to both mothers, which is something I did not expect. Last year, the brooding hens attempted to kill each other’s chicks but these two hens seem quite happy to raise these babies in tandem. One of the hens didn’t have any of her hatchlings survive due to a mistake on our part, so she has adopted a chick from the other mother.
The last brooding mama should hatch her babies out within the next two days if any are going to survive. This is her first time brooding, and so far she has managed to crush two eggs a couple of days before hatching, and kill one baby that was a few hours old. If she successfully hatches any, they will be moved into our ‘maternity ward,’ a large dog crate inside the coop. These babies pictured above and their mothers will be moved out into our specially-made chicken tractor meant for chicks, as the nesting site is low to the ground so the chicks can get in without trouble. This will eliminate the problem of not being able to let the babies out until they can negotiate the three-foot drop out the run door to reach the ground. One of the ‘perks’ of living on a steep slope is that every door to the chicken coop is several feet off of the ground. 😀
KerryAnn Foster runs Cooking Traditional Foods, the longest running Traditional Foods Menu Mailer on the internet. KerryAnn has over nine years of traditional foods experience and is a former Weston A. Price Foundation chapter leader. Founded in 2005, CTF helps you feed your family nourishing foods they will love. Each mailer contains one soup, five dinners, one breakfast, on dessert and extras. You can learn more about our Menu Mailers at the CTF website. For a free sample Menu Mailer, join our mailing list. You can also join our forum to chat with other traditional foodists and learn more.