Two months ago we had our biggest baby chick hatching ever-7 little chicks. And now, even more! We were kind of bummed when the hens all went broody again so quickly after those babies.* It got very chaotic in the coop–all three nesting boxes filled with rotating broody hens (they switched nests at random), and the non-broody hens squeezing in to lay their eggs. Needless to say, we weren’t collecting any eggs. Also, we didn’t take note of an exact start date of setting, so weren’t sure when to either expect chicks or give up. This past Friday we were relieved when one of the nests finally seemed to have been abandoned. It smelled terrible and we hastily cleaned it out. That left two nests and 2?3? would-be mothers.
Saturday rained heavily all day long. And all night. And the next morning. There was flooding all over the place, damage, roads closed, etc. When the rain stopped Willow and I headed out to check it out and were appropriately amazed by the state of our river.
And the fields and such that were completely underwater. Returning home I went into the coop and opened the door the house and was surprised to find 4 mothers and 3 baby hens on the floor of the house, scratching about, clucking and peeping!! They must have hatched on Saturday (and it must have been their most peaceful hatching day yet. The rain kept me inside and I never checked on them, bugged them, photographed them.) [Again, adorable video on IG, but can’t seem to upload here.] Checking in on them later Hen #4 had been pecked a bit by the others and shooed away. She retreated to one of the two nests. By that night two hens were on the ground with the three babies and Hen #3 had left. Possibly to one of those nests? Monday the two moms and three babies were cute and busy, scratching about the yard. Two black chicks (one extra tiny) and one sturdy silver and blonde one.
Also on Monday I found a dead chick on the ground outside the henhouse. Very mysterious. Where did it come from? I’m guessing it hatched later and tried to come out and was too frail?
Today, Tuesday, I was standing in the coop, turned to look in the house, and was startled to see a baby chick just sitting in the nest with a hen! It was my favorite kind of chick-it looked like a chipmunk. Possibly fairly recently hatched-it looked slightly damp still. It’s mother seemed to not be tending to it too much and was more concerned with tucking eggs underneath her. Much peeping and clucking. Here’s a photo.
A few hours later I looked in and there were now TWO hens in the nest and peep! peep! baby was on the floor of the house. Honestly, one of those mother hens couldn’t have joined the baby on the floor? It would die if left there! I picked it up and it was so cute and fluffy. Also, it fell asleep a little in my hand. Here it is:
When Tabby looked at it she correctly pointed out…that this is not the same chipmunk chick as earlier. So, at least 2 chicks have been born out of the nest.
At this point I’m just going to leave them be and see what’s what in the morning? Healthy alive chicks? Extra mothers? Who knows. As always, there is mama drama in the coop, but we do so love to see this exciting event. It never ceases to amaze me that in three weeks it goes from a regular egg to a peeping little fluffball.
*and what of those babies? I think their mothers gave up tending them much too early and consequently #7 chick is still peeping away and kind of a sad loner in the coop. The other 6 are like a feral flock of velociraptors. They stay in the coop at night, but never learned to go in the house with the others. When they no longer fit in the outside boxes and yearned to perch, they all huddled atop it. And now, this nonsense is how they sleep.
In the morning they all escape and then run around the yard and woods together in a tight flock. They sometimes want to come back in (feeding time), but are kind of dumb and skittish about figuring it out.