Saturday, March 31, 2012

Chicks galore





That sounds like a good name for a rural drag queen...


But it's also an apt description for life at Mucky Boots these days. As well as the batch of Buff Orpington chicks hatched by the two Broody Hens out in the chicken coop, we have fifteen Australorp chicks hatched in the incubator, the youngest finally kicking free of its shell overnight. Some of them have been sold already and will be off to their new homes in the next day or two, some will be raised until they are ready to lay and then sold, and some will be used to improve Kim's breeding flock. But right now we are just enjoying them as the amazingly wondrous balls of fluff they are.



It has been so interesting for us to see how the Broody Hens have managed their chicks. Kim's chicken-raising mentors cautioned her that they might try to kill each other's babies, so we were on high alert for the first few hours. But contrary to expectation, what has developed instead is a lovely co-parenting arrangement: the chicks go freely from one mama to the other, and not only do the two hens care jointly for all the chicks, they are extending their maternal instincts to each other. One day I went into the coop to check on things and found the two hens nestled together, one tucked under the other's wing just like a chick would do, with all the chicks roaming happily around them. At other times we have found both hens and all the chicks snuggled into the same nest box. All in all it seems the arrangement is making everyone happy - at least until the chicks have to go to a new home. We're trying not to think about that too much.


video

The Australorp chicks in the house are a few days younger than their Buff cousins, and the last two to hatch are still fluffing up in the incubator. Once again our perpetually unfinished powder room is home to a peeping, pooping bunch.


It has been interesting to note the differences between the Broody Hen hatched chicks in the coop, and the incubator/brooder gang in the house. We noticed right away that the chicks in the coop are much calmer than any we have raised in a brooder. That's a good thing. On the other hand, the bunch in the house are more comfortable being handled by humans, which makes complete sense. And that's a good thing!

But the best thing is the return of our favourite program on Chicken TV: the chick channel.

video


6 comments:

Kristy Lynn said...

i'm so jealous that you have chicks. living in a limited spaced yard in Victoria and a landlord who is afraid of anything with feathers = no birds for me :( I'll live through you!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Oh-man... I have to come back later, to read the post. Laughing too hard over Chicks Galore, and her feather boa dance!

jeanives said...

Awe.Some.

Joleen said...

Too adorable!

Holly House said...

Waaagh! They're so cuuuute. Ours have reached that weird teenage phase where they look like they're loosing their stuffing. I want to re-live the fuzzy stage again, so I'm living vicariously through you!

Unknown said...

OH MY GODDESS! I'd recognise that head-spot anywhere! It's our beloved Spot! I'll send you pictures! She did her first "buk buk bKAAAAWW!" this morning, very, very early. Spot and I had a little cuddle yesterday as I washed her sisters' feet.

Sending love to you from them <3

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