Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Sometimes things happen on the Ranch that surprise me. Usually when a hen has chicks the other hens pretty much leave her and the chicks alone. The Mama hen gets testy when someone gets too close and always keeps a watchful eye. I have a short video clip of Mama hen being protective of Yolkie & Sticky, two chicks born in August. At about three months she leaves them to fend on their own and heads for the roost, a place the little chicks can't get to until much later. One night it took me by surprise to see an old black hen snuggled up in the nursery with the now over a month old chicks and Mama hen, all cozy together. She has never had chicks of her own and never had anything to do with the many batches of new chicks in the coop. I thought maybe it was a one-time occurrence but the odd thing is the old black bird and the new Mama hen are now sharing the chicks constantly. Both chicks sit under them, and both hens scratch and break up the food for them. The four of them stick together all day, away from the other birds, and then they all sleep together in the nursery at night.