Yesterday we had two mother hens and two chicks and a bunch of unhatched eggs. But then we looked in on them we saw that one of the eggs in the left behind nest was hatching. We could hear it peeping and see (through a small hole) the folded up chicken moving a bit. What to do?! This always seems to happen and we always end up getting involved and anxious. I tried to entice the hens over to the egg, picked up the egg, put the egg near them, and they were very interested in the peeping. In fact, when the egg peeped they peeped back at it. But they couldn’t seem to make the connection that they should stick with that egg. And then another hen came running over and pecked the egg really hard, making the hole much bigger. Clearly we couldn’t leave it out there. So we put it in a little tub, under a lamp, and decided to just see what would happen. At the end of the night we went out to see and, a chick!
Standing there, peeping. We were pretty surprised. At this point we had a choice: raise it all alone under a light or try to get the hens to accept it. Based on past experience there was a good possibility that they wouldn’t take the chick and might even harm it (I’m looking at you, mother of Laura and Mary who pecked them almost until death-and btw, this mother hen now is Laura/Mary!) But the hassle of raising a single chick is, well, a terrible hassle. Since it was late at night and the hens had gone to bed on their nest (a process I happened to see and which involved the mothers heading inside while the chicks stood on the ground peeping. I suppose they would have somehow gotten back, but I picked them up and put them in.) we decided we had a good shot at introducing the new chick into the nest. So we took the chick, snuck over to the coop, and just tucked the chick under a mother hen. And guess what? It worked!!! All day the two mothers have been working together with the three chicks. They peep, scratch, scamper, and are adorable.
I love seeing that they all look so different (the newest one is all black.)
And I had been thinking these were not the best chicken mothers, but when I was out taking pictures and they walked away from one chick I reached out to pick it up. And both hens raced over and attacked me. So, yeah, they are doing ok.