Friday the last chick hatched. I didn’t want the Little Red Hen to leave the chick and come back to discover no egg, so I added a golf ball to encourage her to stay in that nest. I also moved the entire nest box into the broody crate to make sure she stayed with her chick.
We headed out of town to visit family. I kept the chicken coop closed while we were gone as I couldn’t keep an eye on them and was sure our dearest farm cat, Sir Puddington Cheek, would be quite interested in the chicks.
After two days visiting family in Wenatchee, we returned home.
The good news is: all our animals are alive!
The bad news is: the Little Red Hen is still broody and either didn’t take to her chick or it fell out of the crate I put them in prior to leaving town, and couldn’t get back up and through the 1” chicken wire.
The good news is: Harriet seems to have adopted it…
I pulled the golf ball out, and put Little Red out of the crate. The next day, I had to pull her out of the top nest box she had returned to, although there were no eggs. I pulled her out again. A few hours later it appeared that our little hen might be adopting her chick...and trying to steal the other chicks… but a few hours later she was once again in the nest box. I pulled her out a dozen times over the next two days and once she was down she would begin to cluck at both her chick and the other chicks in the motherly helping them find food way.
I think after three days she is finally no longer broody and perhaps they have split the chicks. Two chicks favor her: hers and the abandoned one. The two that Harriet hatched imprinted their mother while the other two seem a bit mixed up on who they imprinted.
We had a bit of a scare Tuesday when Simon found Cheek had removed the youngest (and slowest) chick from the chicken run and was playing with it in the main yard. Fortunately, it was uninjured and returned to its mothers. We should be grateful that he plays with his food before maiming or killing.
David loves the chicks and we’ve been going out so he can hold them many times each day.
I do not know how the mama and chick dynamic will continue to develop, but it is delightful to watch and try to figure out how it will resolve.