June 28, 2009
We now have two mama hens with lots of little chicks. Our first time letting a hen hatch eggs was a disaster. We counted the days until the babies would hatch from under their mom out in the chicken coop. The kids crowed in delight as the chicks emerged – only to watch horrified as the evil rooster Spike (named after the evil gremlin in the movie “Gremlins”) slaughtered them all. From then on we’ve kept the roosters away from any babies.
Now though, the hens hide out where we don’t find them and show up in the yard with mass quantities of babies. One of the roosters running around has taken over helping to care for them. The first hen to hatch out a brood, the one of 20 chicks, has had trouble keeping them all together. When they get separated, you can hear the rooster calling the chicks, keeping the ones around him together until mom gets back with the rest of the siblings. Now there is another hen with lots of kids and the poor rooster hardly knows which way to go with so many to watch over.
The chicks are busy catching moths that seem like they would be way too big for the chick to eat but they manage somehow, running off from the others who are trying to snatch their tidbit. Sometimes to escape they run inside another cage of chickens as they are small enough to go through the openings quite easily. Those adult birds look at the babies running around and usually ignore them although some of the hens do try calling them. We have never had another rooster like Spike, thank goodness, and any that promised to be that way found new homes or purpose in life quickly.