It’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride this summer here at the farm. As we all recall we’ve had two chickens hatch eggs. One gave us a clutch of four, and we added four more, and kept them in the barn. The other hatched two, and we’ve just been letting them free range. I did a little research on broody chickens, and I’ve learned it’s common for chickens to be broody in the summer, when mother nature can help them keep their eggs warm. I also learned that the breeds I have don’t often go broody. So suddenly having broody hens was weird, but I was going to roll with it, becuase free chickens. The next thing I knew, I had two more chickens in the coop trying to brood. I though that would be fine because then we can keep them wrangled and keep an eye on them, but it turned out to be a mess. The chickens wouldn’t move into another box (where I wanted them) but would sit where everyone lays, so there were fights and broken eggs, and then the broody hens started snapping at you any time you went to get eggs.
I snapped too. I took mama hen and her 8 babies out of the barn, and put them in with the other chickens. I figured they’d be safe with their mama defending them (we had watched the other mama defend her chicks from the rooster). I stuffed the two broodies in the barn and let them either break out of it or brood in there.
And then we turned around and a red mama hen appeared with 6 babies.
I’m beginning to doubt my memory. I’ve been trying to count chickens to keep track of when they go missing, but apparently one day I will count 7 red hens, and the next day cout 6 red hens, forgetting what the day’s previous count was. Woo woo, though, 6 more baby chicks. Since the barn was full, we just let these guys range. And lived to regret it.
Because a few days later I noticed that she was down to only 4 chicks. Since I don’t even know where she brooded, I couldn’t go looking for them. A few days after that, I saw 4 little puff balls, and no mama. Thought that was really strange but then figured she may have been somewhere eating so we just kept an eye on them. A few hours later, the kids found the mama dead in the field, a victim of the worst predator of the suburban farm, the neighborhood dog.
At that point the two broodies were up and walking around and one had even started laying eggs again. I told them to stay off the eggs, and put them in with the rest of the chickens. We wrangled up the babies (chasing puffballs is SO MUCH FUN) and put them in the barn.
They are big enough to eat on their own, but no mama to keep them warm. I figured they’d be ok with the warmer weather we’ve been having, then of course the temp plunges one evening. I tried showing them they could go into the barn where there is hay and it’s warmer, but this happened instead.
Fluffy butts, stuffed into a corner. Yea, it’s the cutest thing ever.
The roller coaster doesn’t stop with just chickens, now let’s take a ride on the goat coaster…..