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Sunday, July 03, 2011

Little Peeps

Haven't visited Barbara on her home territory in ages, but I made the drive down this week; a BIG goal... or rather, little goals in mind - New Baby Chicks! So I was down for the trip to the feed store right after the new day old baby chicks came in.

Baby Jersey Giant - largest of chicken breeds

Easter Egger, future layer of green or blue eggs

Lovely Silver Laced Wyandotte chick

Now, first up - how to raise the chicks. Barbara had a plan - one of her two Buff Orpington hens was broody, and spent the past few weeks patiently sitting on eggs, waiting for the eggs to hatch - the eggs being wooden aren't expected to hatch any time soon.

So! At the feed store Barbara chose some new chicks, mostly 'Easter Eggers' that lay blue or green tinted eggs. She also picked out a couple of Silver Lace Wyandotte chicks, and one or two Jersey Giants, the largest chicken breed in the world. Unable to resist, at the nth minute I decided to add two Americana chicks to my own flock so I picked out a couple of the fawn and stripped babies.

Ten little chicks on the ride home to their new foster 'Mom'

Now it was time for the big switch - convincing Miss Pink these new frisky chicks were hers. Barbara fretted over how to make the switch for weeks. So, soon there we were, at the temporary rabbit hutch that was to serve as a chick nursery. Miss Pink looked rather dubious about the fuss.

The patient 'Miss Pink', Barbara's broody Buff Orpington Hen

Finally the moment came... Barbara gingerly unloaded the peeping chicks into the pen with Miss Pink.

Barbara puts chicks into their nursery while
Miss Pink gave us dirty looks

"What the... where'd these youngings come from?"

Suddenly Miss Pink, started clucking low and fussing with her bedding. We couldn't decide if she was upset or what... but suddenly a couple of chicks pushed their way under their new Mom, as if they'd been waiting all day just to do so.

Someone's little bill peeking out from under 'Maw'

So, all in all, the 'adoption' time for Miss Pink to accept her new babies was about .002 seconds. As far as she was concerned, what the heck took those babies so long to arrive?

"If you don't mind, get lost, I've got some
youngings to get ready for their nap"

So! No worries, all ten chicks were warm and snug. Visiting the little family during the next couple of days was great. Miss Pink taught her babies to drink and eat their scratch. She was kind enough to let us handle her sweeties without pecking us... ok, she got Barbara once, but as long as it wasn't me!

It was a nice visit at Barbara's. Haven't seen Oscar, her husband or Eric, her grown son in eons so it was nice visiting with them. Barb and I made up a list of chores for ourselves and to our amazement, we actually did everything on the list. The list included putting up wiring for a new hen pen. We lined the pen 'baby wire', The small holed wire will keep the new chicks safe from raccoon paws that reach in to snag babies. I'll nick my chicks in late September when they're old enough to be on their own in my little flock.

It was a lovely visit. I made it home in time for the Forth of July so I can celebrate the holiday with my beautiful and crazy 'old' girls.

"Holiday? Heck, where's our afternoon snack?"

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