Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Population Explosion

I don't need anymore chickens.  I've been trying to pick up all the eggs I can find to avoid any broody hens hatching them, but the ladies are very clever and my barn is enormous.  20,000 feet enormous, on two floors.  Lots of space with nooks and crannies for hens to hide their nests.  Today I gasped in horror and amazement when I found a mom on the driveway with TWELVE newborn chicks.  This presents many challenges.  I can't put out pans of water for the chickens higher than an inch high garbage can cover.  Chicks love to jump in water pans and drown themselves.  I rescued a lone chick from a pan yesterday when I got home from work.  The mother only has one chick and she is very devoted to it.  The pan of water was in the sun on the north side of the barn, near Thor's Door.  The water had warmed up significantly and kept the baby from being chilled even though it was thoroughly soaked.  I rescued it and dried it off with paper towels, then decided I would put it in a cage with the mother.  After cleaning out an old rabbit cage and running around for a half hour or so catching mom I was a bit knackered.  Low and behold the chick squeezed out and I gave up.  As of today they are okay, wandering around the barn, picking at the floor.  Tonight while doing chores I heard some peeps and thought OH NO!  I looked in a garbage can partially filled with wool scraps from shearing day and there they were - another mom with chicks and broken egg shells, sitting on more eggs.  I gave her some water and a tiny dish of feed, and put a top on the can to keep curious cats from jumping in.  I'm a sucker for motherhood.  Fingers are crossed there are more hens than roosters.  Nature likes to spread them out evenly.  One can only hope.  At least they are good fly catchers.

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