This morning we got a surprise.
Another hen has had chicks!
We never thought she'd hatch out anything given that:
- she wasn't as fanatical about sitting on eggs as the first hen
- she was sitting on an empty nest
- we kept throwing her off the nest
- once we gave in and put eggs under her, she didn't sit on them with the single minded dedication of the first chook
- we found one half hatched dead chick and figured the eggs were done for
- even if she did hatch out live chicks, she was nesting in a "sky box" and we had visions of chicks leaping out and breaking their necks soon as they hatched.
Well, she proved us wrong on all counts.
This morning, when we had to go to work, she trotted out three tiny little chickies!
Well, we had to go to work, but leaving them out in the 'wild' around here is a death sentence for little people their size.
We managed to lure mom (and chicks) into the pump shed where we closed them up for the day, and when we got home this afternoon we got to work on some serious relocating.
I mentioned we raised the first 3 chickies in Alcatraz. Last weekend we released the remaining two chicks and mom, then promptly lost one of the chicks when it tried to return to Alcatraz, got into the yard and one of the dogs got it.
So, we herded the dwindling family back into Alcatraz... till the remaining chick got too big to fit under the fence.
However, plans must change when circumstances change.
The new arrivals meant we need the safety provided by Alcatraz for another batch of chicks.
That brings us back to this afternoon and the chicken wrangling.
Wayne and I went into Alcatraz and began chasing mom and baby around. We caught them and amongst much squalking, we got them up to the hen house where we locked them in with the rooster and other hen. The plan is to keep them in there for a couple of days - till the little one recognises the hen house as HOME and not try to get back into the yard.
Then we moved onto the pump shed.
The pump shed is a very small shed, with a pump in the middle (go figure!) and there's barely enough room to swing a cat, let alone chase chooks.
Anyway, I got mom on first grab but only saw 2 surprised chicks under her. Panic. Then I looked and the 3rd chick was dangling under mom where I held her.
I promptly lost hold of mom as I tried to grab the baby before I squashed it.
Long story short, I got mom and all three babies and we released them into their new home for the next couple of months: Alcatraz.
Now, if the babies don't all die of shock, we've added another 3 chickens to our family.
See? You thought we lived boring lives in the country! Never a dull moment around here!