Tuesday, April 29, 2008

baby chicks

This morning when I fed the chickens, mama hen hopped off her peeping nest to eat.  I took advantage of this moment to move all the chicks & unhatched eggs to a new location on the floor, separated from the other hens by netting.  With a little chick waterer & feeder.She now has 6 chicks, all yellow/tan-ish in color, some with black stripes on their backs!  I wonder if that fancy rooster I saw at the farm I got the eggs from was the father?  I have no idea what breed he was.  We'll just have to see how they feather out!  They all look really healthy & are walking around, eating & drinking too.  Mama hen keeps them tucked under her wings most of the time, nudging them in sometimes.  In the picture below, she has moved her nest-spot to the corner (feels more protected I guess), and is gently rolling each of the unhatched eggs underneath her.  This was amazing to watch.

She really is shaping up to be a great mother.  It's curious how this instinct is mostly bred out of chickens, so that they just leave their eggs every day & continue about their lives, without giving a thought to reproduction.  But some of these old heritage breeds retain their "broodiness" more than others I guess.  Another black hen has started sitting all day in her nest box & defending it with squawks & pecks.  I may aquire some fertile eggs for her too.  This is so fun!

You may ask, aren't I working on a vegetable farm?  Well, yes, but it's raining!  We got some things done today-- cleaned out the van, and when the weather cleared a bit, we put in new irrigation boxes around the valves.  And I weeded the peas a little.  We covered up the onions with Remay because it's expected to freeze the next two nights.  Maybe the last frost?

And another exciting addition to farm life:  the first asparagus!  Delicious.

1 comment:

ljw said...

Hey E,
I love reading your blog...pictures and explanations are so interesting. Keep posting pics of the chicks as they grow! Glad you seem to be feeling better.
-Nick's sister :)