Tag Archives: raised by mother hen

They grow up so fast

I’ve lost track of all the sets of chicks.  There are around five that are almost indistinguishable from grownup chickens, the “big chicks”.Overnight, they are  all legs and big bodies.  If I don’t look twice, they look full grown.   These have all graduated to living in the “big coop”, although I’m still plucking at least one out of the tree every night.  No, not the coop!  They aren’t nice to me in there!Hello, I’m a Cheeks junior!  The “middle chicks” are still distinct – they are the five that Ghost and Velvet are raising.  They are perching pros, but still attached to their mamas, who have a nice bond with each other.   Once they ditch their moms, they’re easier to lose track of.

Then there are the “little chicks”.  They had a good week living in the greenhouse undisturbed, but naturally, they grew discontented with the daily manual transfer to and from in a box, and one morning, there was an escape.

You can’t put the chickens back in the box, so at that point, they were out in the crowd.  What is adorable, is that she led them through the fence into Silkie land, where she stays with them in the taller brush.  She remembers where she lived.Although the Silkies and big chickens generally don’t mix, the fence is permeable.  When the “big chicks” were tiny, they learned how to go under it in one spot there’s a three inch gap.  They remembered, even as they got bigger, and still go to the spot, poke their heads under, and slither through.  So they come and go, very nosy, have to see everything for themselves.  I think this Silkie mom is using the same spot.  Sometimes she seems to get stuck inside.   These little ones just started perching practice too!

Velvet and Ghost

The co-mamas.

These are the first hens to successfully hatch babies in the large coop.  Right through the heat wave, they sat on eggs, and I brought them water.  They would even switch eggs, so it makes sense that they’re one family now.  They only spent two days in the chickeries, maybe three, before release and integration.  Nosey visitorThey still had unhatched eggs, one each (they did not hatch late, they gave up on them), so the hatched chicks had a nice slow transition).Ghost scooted her egg out of the box to belly up to the food.  When they’re ready to get up off the nest, they’re ready though, and Velvet tore her whole chickery apart, every inch of the ground scratched up, letting me know she was ready.Velvet has three and Ghost two, but all five look like Cheeks’ bio-offspring, an accident since I gave them a mix of eggs.  Five of nine total hatched.   I can’t tell the five apart, but the hens can- look out!  They all roll together most of the time, though, so the chicks intermingle constantly.

It’s a really cute thing they’ve got.  Mom friends- Our kids are the same age!  They’re black and white, and they were both total loners prior to brooding.  I feared for Velvet’s life because she would just leave.    The little orange feet!  I can see where you are!They started visiting the house!  That was cool.  A noisy cheeping procession.  I heard them coming.  This is where we scrounge for snacks, and under the house it’s dusty and cool… There they are, traveling on together.  They like the bee area.   Perching practice on the jungle gym (laundry rack).  It doesn’t sway like a branch.  They’re up to the second rail now.

Early morning perching practice

The fuzznuggets have started perching.  They all keep the same schedule; I’m so used to seeing moms raise their chicks now.  First, there’s very close to home chickergarten, where scratching is strongly emphasized – Mom shows them vigorous scratching in loose material, clearly for practice.  Good fling.  Look at how well Daisy is kicking.

Second comes explorer time, where the moms take their chicks off, to some distance, for I don’t know what, world acclimation and exposure to strange and unusual things.  That is the type of caterpillar that tastes disgusting, but go ahead and try it.  We also do not eat slugs.    This stage gives me palpitations because they go off in the woods and I fear for them.  This is the stage they’re in.

Next comes morning perching.  I don’t know why it tends to be first thing after breakfast, and the chicks tend to do it on their own without demonstration.  They move higher and higher in the tree and on their rack as they age.  It started today.

Eventually they move into being more clubby with the other chicks their age and needing Mom less, then they break up with Mom, or she quits.

These are Velvet and Ghost‘s chicks (Sidewinder is still around, too). I gave Velvet several eggs, and then Ghost seemed just as determined, so I split the eggs with her.  They were a mixed batch, so it’s really wild that the chicks ALL seem to be more Cheekslings.

Whoa, WHOA! This balancing thing is hard!
I’m grooming too!

Notice the other one gone for a post-perch warming in Mom’s fluff.

 

The evening perch

It’s time for a good evening perch.Like mama, like chick.  They are getting quite good at the starter branch, and can walk up and down along it, and keep their balance when their chick siblings shake it by jumping on and off.This little chick, all independent, doesn’t need a warming – my money is that he’s a rooster.  She’s looking for aerial threats.    Oh!  Perching again. One of the “old” chicks.  Her cheeks are showing.  This is the little Silkie cuckoo that got raised with the big birds, and now she’s not having being put in with the Silkies.  Her sister wants to know if she’s in this picture too. There they are.Oh, hello! Little orange feet:)

First snow!

First snow in October!  Real snow too, big swirling flakes that are sticking around for a little while.  The Caped Crusader doesn’t wait for me to distribute the food.These are the four middle chicks, having a snow day in the greenhouse.  Snow is pretty much rain, only quiet. The co-mamas and the  7 Silkies.  Adorable.  They’re so tiny.  I’m in dread of stepping on one, since they’re so small and brown and hard to see.   Luckily Marshmallow is fierce.  She runs off any of the other chicks and hens, so I know these little ones are getting enough to eat.

There’s a cuckoo.  Apples’ chick is large than the few days lead she has on the others, and is probably a Silkie cross.

Co-mamas

Brown Bonnet and Marsha (Marshmallow) are cute.  They hang out together, their chicks spilling over into each other.Brown Bonnet is very maternal and relaxed, and all seven of the little Silkie chicks will sometimes be with her. Marsha’s a bit nervous.  At night sometimes they share a box, and they readily share patches of food without competition.  Our kids are the same age (and size), we should be friends. This little one is already developing an extravagant hairdo.

Mini release

She’s got four!  Two and two.  They’re still ridiculously small, but in spite of being the size of golf balls, they are developmentally old enough to be bold adventurers.  Time to prop open the chickeries so they could creep out and join the chicken greenhouse society.  Here they come!Mom immediately dove into a sprawly dirt bath.   Nothing celebrates freedom like throwing dirt over your head.  Brown Bonnet was a bit more furtive.  The chicks readily popped out, But Brown Bonnet wanted to mostly hide behind a board.