Thursday, 26 May 2011
My little chickadees.....
I've had a couple of hens "gone broody" for some time now. To be honest I lost track of dates but was sure they were well past their hatching date if the eggs were ever going to hatch. I was giving one hen in particular till this weekend and was then going to take her off the nest. I know this sounds cruel but hens tend not to feed much when sitting and I have actually found a hen dead on the nest (hidden well among the hay) because she didn't come to feed.
Anyway - this hen clearly heard my threats and got on with the job of hatching EIGHT wee chickadees AND got them from the nest several hay bales high along to the henny house last night! I was SO surprised to see her AND the chicks snuggled into the corner of the henny hoose. I shut them all in last night with the hens and cockerel and investigated this morning. All seem to be doing well. I don't have anywhere else to keep them so they will have to take their chance and hope that the Mother hen takes good care of them. I fear for them as there are ravens and hooded-crows around - sigh. But to be honest quite a few will be cockerels and if I save them now it just means that they will end up in someone's pot in a few months time. So.... I shall let Mother hen get on with it.
She IS a good mother. Here she is gathering her brood under her. She makes soft chook-chooking noises and the chicks just snuggle under the duvet.
You can just see little feet about to disappear into the cosy warmth. I think the other chick is saying "Hurry up! It's cold out here!"
The rest of the flock seem totally unconcerned to have little chicks cheeping around. I have had to apologise to the cockerel (a Light Sussex breed) as I have never actually seen him "working" so was beginning to wonder what his purpose was. He looked even more "puffed out" today when I went into the hen house - SEE I DO work! he seemed to be saying!
I have had a serious talk with Button and told her the chicks were OFF limits..... she gave me a look which seemed to ask "And it's OK for you to eat chicken and not me because....?" I told her it was impolite to eat friends..... not sure that worked either but it's worth a try....!