Tuesday, June 14, 2011

hardy spring chicks

 Henrietta with her 9 chicks in tow

Cuckoo Maran hen with her four chicks

Under the rabbit hutch hunting for grubs, even these tiny chicks are extraordinary little hunters.  They learn from their mom about who to stay away from in the hen house, how the pecking order works, and she helps them integrate into the flock.  They learn fast, and within 2 days are out running around living life with all the other chickens, learning as they grow from their mom.

She protects them, helps them to find food and water, and warms them under her wings whenever they start cheeping that they're too cold.  She is faithful and yet encourages them to be independent as well.   Little chicks raised without a mom are like little orphans, last year when I raised the group of babies from day old chicks, and watched Henrietta raise her brood.  I knew this was the best way and easiest way to increase your flock.

There is one exception, meat birds, when raising them they will need to be raised in the 100 gallon stock tank with a light as chicks, and then moved into a chicken tractor once old enough.  We're hoping to raise a couple dozen for a Fall harvest.

We ended up with 13 chicks out of 2 hens.  Several chicks died during hatching, and one got outside the chicken run and died last week (I filled the hole when I found it).  It was sad when the Cuckoo Maran hen left 10 of her eggs, and took the 4 alive chicks outside the coop, she couldn't figure out how to get the baby chicks back up the ramp to get back in to lay on the remaining 10 eggs, by the time I got home from work it was too late, they had set cold for too long.  I was really bummed, but in the end, just happy we have 13, healthy strong chicks, remembering back to when I said I'd be happy if I got 7 or 8 live chicks from each one.

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