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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....!


  1. Thanks for the welcome, enjoying
    every line of your blog, I live
    in Blackpool, it can blow a bit
    here, but you have got me beat
    with your weather and ash.
    Thanks again.

  2. Awwwww! Lucky you, Sian! I kept hens for a few years but was never fortunate enough to hatch any chicks. I think my cockerel must have been all noise and no action :-) Lovely photos.

  3. hi Sian,
    Been following your blog after a link from a kilchoan diary.
    You really are battling the elements up there,love to hear about your trials and tribulations!
    Also love to see the photos

  4. Maz -Welcome to Graemsay! Yes it's a little blustery at the moment...sigh... apparently the jet stream has moved south so we have a North/South split in weather in the uK at the moment..... Hope it changes soon - everything is getting very battered....

  5. Pat - well you have your own challenges in Blackpool! But we do seem to be being battered a lot here in Orkney (and the North of Scotland) at the moment... bored with it now....sigh.

    Perpetua - I've always been fairly successful with hatching chicks - one year I ended up with about 25! Though these days I try and discourage the hens from sitting on eggs but two snuck away and hid while I was on holiday. Can't reach the other hen either so hoping she returns soon with some chicks.....

  6. Hi Sian thank you for your welcome to Graemsay!
    I live in north yorkshire it is a bit blustery here, a calm day to you!
    ilive on a conservation estate great for wildlife but no chickens (foxes) and a battle with my garden (rabbits)Anyone know of rabbit proof plants?

  7. What cuties! Clever chook! Do hope Buttons behaves...

    More high winds and branches down today here. May has been rubbish. Good news though: I've just had a look at the weather forecast, and it looks like June will come in warm, so hope it reaches you too!