PANDEMIC! episode CLUTCH (12)

WE HAVE BABY CHICKS!

So I think I forgot to tell you, but we have chickens, including a really annoying rooster. Our girl Hopey wanted to have babies. Last year she hid a clutch (usually a dozen) of eggs in the yard, but she wasn’t able to sit on them for more than a few hours a day, so nothing happened.

A few weeks back, I failed to collect the eggs for a couple of days, and next thing you know, she was broody. When a hen goes broody, she fluffs up her feathers and doesn’t leave the eggs for long. She moved some other chickens’ eggs under her until she had a clutch (12) under her. Then she REALLY didn’t get up for much. Only once a day to poop and eat/drink.

She was so happy to be sitting on eggs! We had zero experience raising chicks, having always started with teenage chickens, but I decided we should just give her a chance since she really wanted to do it.

One day, a few days before her expected due date, I opened the door to look in on Hopey, and she was sitting on little ones! It took a little while to get an accurate count because I didn’t want to bother her at this stressful time, but it turned out she hatched 9! Different moms, same dad. I buried the remaining 3 eggs, after determining they were DOA. We were lucky all the chicks made it!

We decided to raise the new kids with the flock, but after a few days it was clear our bully, the littlest hen, Lucy, was giving Hopey a hard time. I compromised by setting up a space for Hopey and the kids inside the run so she could see and be seen by the flock, but be safe behind chicken wire.

Hopey tried to move the kids up to the upper deck of the old coop. The chicks couldn’t figure out the ramp, so she gave up and sat with them on the ground. Next two nights I helped the chicks up to the loft, and after that they figured it out! I really felt like quite a proud grandma. I was sad I wasn’t going to get to hold those lil’ peeps much, but was so happy they figured it out on their own.

They’re growing up so fast. They can scratch for food, peep a lot, go up the ramp, jump up on mom’s back, eat greens…. They are really figuring it up and growing up! Now they’ve reached an awkward age, with tiny nubs of tails and small wings that help them run up the ramp. SO FREAKING CUTE!

I spend a lot of time just watching them.

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