It’s a big day for our five broody hatched chicks:
For a full week, mama and her babies were segregated by chicken wire, yet still inside The Coop‘s run. That way everyone could get acquainted slowly, the resident hens would constantly see these little chickies, and know they are part of the flock and not human-provided fuzzy protein snacks.
After that first week, it was time for the walls to come tumbling down between generations, and also to get everyone out onto pasture.
Within the first 30 seconds Mistress Billington, our Barred Plymouth Rock who has always been at the bottom of the pecking order decided to go after the fresh meat and improve her lot in life. Well, let’s just say the chicks’ surrogate Mom would have none of that. I had seen some little squabbles before between sisters, but nothing like the all-out-flopping around, feathers-flying, baGawk-screaching scene I witnessed.
It was very quickly over and none of the hens, including Mistress Billington, have given so much as a love tap since. In fact, it didn’t take long for it to (at least appear to me) that the other flockmates were looking out for the little ones.
Notice in that picture above you don’t see a Barred Rock. MB still keeps her distance. We’ll see what happens when the newbs are pullet-sized. I’m guessing some rematches are scheduled and she’s biding her time. It sucks to be at the bottom.
The rest of the day was uneventful and there’s nothing cuter than watching a baby chick look up at her Mom… then Mom scratch a few times in the dirt… then stop… then baby mimics for a few seconds… and stops… and looks up at Mom… “Did I do that right?”
It also didn’t take long for Curly to show them that grass, plantain, and dandelion are delicious… and scratch up a worm and gently cluck-cluck-cluck them over to give it a try.
I’m practicing my Mama Hen “found something good to eat” clucking every time my wife breast feeds.
I think it’s hilarious.
I’m the only one.
Everyone enjoyed themselves.
Turns out the chicks are more adventurous than I imagined. Each morning when I bring scraps and home-sprouted barley fodder to the coop door, the chicks are the first ones there, flapping and chirping. Soon after, when I open their little chicken door into the pasture, they’re the first ones hopping out running crazily checking to see what’s new and delicious.
Yep, life is good for baby chicks.