It’s always fun to come home after a vacation and see what’s gone on in the garden while you were away. In this case, with fresh eyes I saw that August is here and things are looking kinda ratty. Still, I’m getting lots of tomatoes and blackberries and I’m just itching to pick my butternut squashes (though I don’t think they’re ready.) And, for us, we’ve got all of our animals to check in on. When we left there was a white hen (she doesn’t have a name) who was broody in the coop. Although I’d said no one could be broody in the nesting boxes ever again, I’m a softie and I felt bad for her and I hoped maybe we’d get some chicks, as she had started sitting right after the fox attack. We got back late Wednesday night and when I let the chickens out on Thursday morning I saw and heard nothing strange. A little later that morning I saw her sitting on the floor of the coop and a big black hen sitting on her nest. Fast forward many hours until later in the afternoon. I was outside puttering around when I heard a very loud, insistent peeping. Believe it or not, Mary & Laura (and the black chicks who are now the size of Quicksilver) are still quite peepy. I went to check them out on the patio and…..saw a teeny tiny baby chick running around. WHAT?! Where did you come from??? was my reaction. The kids came out to help me catch it, which was surprisingly difficult as it kept vanishing in grass and weeds and the like. We finally scooped it up and oh boy, she’s darling.
A little tuxedo chick, just like the ones last month. We took her to the coop where we found the white hen once again on her nest and put it with her. When she lifted up to let the chick in we saw another one! Hooray for baby chicks!
Then, today, I brought her some food and water. She seemed quite appreciative and got off her nest and hopped down for a stretch. One baby followed, but the other one seemed a bit frail. I helped it down (after taking its adorable picture, of course.)
They scratched about and then mother returned to the nest and neither baby could get up, so I picked them up and put them back.
Oh-other craziness-earlier I saw one of them going behind the nesting boxes and then just trying to get underneath the adjoining hen. I fetched it and gave it to the proper mother. Later on I visited the coop and found: a white hen on the floor of the coop, a black hen in the nest, a red hen squeezing into the same nest, and Quicksilver in the adjoining nesting box pushing out an egg (we all watched.) I shooed the red and black hen away and….no chicks. Where were they?? We all panicked until Tabby pointed out that the mother and chicks were outside the coop in the grass (those white hens are identical.) So, mother and babies are doing fine outside and the black broody hen has simply taken over the remaining eggs in the nest. Perhaps she’ll have luck. Meanwhile, the mother is spending the night under the coop as her babies can’t make it all the way up. Good for her for keeping them safe! Our little flock is growing again!