This has been a fun-filled spring in our barnyard. Crooked -Tail Tess, named so for obvious reasons, has had baby chicks and having chicks on the farm is truly a God-send. It’s a miracle to see a hen sit and sit and sit for 3 weeks and then one day come out to find a baby chick in with the mother.
Shaq, the proud father has been strutting around, as roosters do but Tess has been so busy holding out a full-feathered body while protecting her new babies. It took some 21 days for Tess to nest with her eggs. She began in the “mansion” coop but was moved to a smaller coop and run for better opportunity to not only protect her eggs and babies but give her peace of mind. She had been crowded out by some of the other hens in the coop wanting to lay eggs in her nesting area. When she refused to move, they literally laid their eggs almost on top of her. At that point, I knew it was time to move her to an area of her own where she would rest in peace and keep warmth on those eggs long enough to have them hatch.
While she sat on at least 11 eggs, I had placed her in a run without a rooster for a time. When she went broody, I slipped 2 fertilized eggs beneath her from a run that had a Jersey Giant. Crooked-Tail is a Jersey Giant so it all worked out well when she had 2 chicks hatch and they will look just like her!
Baby chicks on the farm are always a delight. Since the mother was keeping them warm at night, I did not have to worry about lighting for warmth or a specific area. Instead, I just moved her to a coop of her own and until such time as the babies are fully-feathered I’ll leave them.
This past week I allowed her to free range with the babies. I was right there nearby to take care of any concerns that may occur and she was not having any of the other hens come into her space so with both of us protectors there, the babies began their new lives learning how to scratch and peck up the good stuff.
What experiences do you have with baby chicks? What are the most chicks you’ve ever had? What breeds do you have? Let us know about your experiences on Twitter and Instagram. Join our Chickenlivesmatter group on Facebook.