Friday, October 29, 2010

Hen and Chicanery

Last night at sunset when I went out to feed the cows and chickens I heard the oh-too-familiar sound of a hen clucking in a motherly voice and baby chicks peeping.  There, out in the cold pasture, was Lacey, one of my original Americauna hens, with a clutch of babies. Judging from their loud peeps they were hungry, cold, or both, and one limp body had fallen victim to a cow stepping on it.

The cows had seen me and were jogging toward me to be fed.  I ran to get them some hay to keep them  occupied so they wouldn't step on any other chicks. Then I scooped up an armful of chicks, raced to the coop and dropped them inside, ran back and nabbed Lacey and the rest of the chicks.

It was very cold last night, too cold even inside the coop for these tiny chicks, so I put them in a cardboard box inside a large dog crate and let them stay in my office overnight. Lacey seemed to like this royal treatment and has been purring over her eleven chicks all day.  She has never seemed like the most clever of chickens, but she does seem to be an attentive mother.

This weekend is supposed to be a bit warmer, so I will move them all to the coop if I can devise a way to keep them cozy and safe.  With days so short now they won't have as much feeding time and with temps so cold they will use up most of their energy keeping warm and may not thrive. I will have to provide heat and light.

I don't know whether to be annoyed or charmed by Lacey, this hen who was so determined to raise a family.  She tried to hatch several clutches of eggs unsuccessfully last summer. A month ago I took away her nest of eggs because we didn't want any more chicks, especially with fall coming. She seemed to adjust, then disappeared. I was sad, resigned to the fact that the owl must have gotten her.  But no! She was hiding her nest--it was so well hidden I still don't have a clue where it was.


Karla said...

Very inconvenient timing... but what a bunch of cuties. Very determined mama, I guess she was smarter (or trickier) then you gave her credit for.

I hope all goes well!

Toodie said...

Now that is a determined Momma on a mission you thought impossible. Glad you saw her with her chicks and saved the day. They are so cute.

Karen Anne said...

Yes, she sounds pretty smart to me :-)

katiegirl said...

They're very cute! What's up with these hens who will hatch no matter the time of year? My notoriously broody hen Wanda has gone broody again!

daphne sy said...

good chicken, saves the day. She really take care of her cuties! nice one=)
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