A quiet Sunday morning on a long weekend.
The Baldy Boy had just left for an hours bike ride before I handed over the keys to the three external children. I was going to invoke my ‘free pass’, cooking snicker doodles before a child free afternoon of singstar and dinner with friends.
The suddenly I heard a cry…
“Mum! Mum! there’s a chick!!!”
And so began the mayhem.
It’s a bit of a long story, about chickens none the less… so do feel free to click on off now if this isn’t your thing. The story does have a happy ending though – so read on!
A few weeks back we’d noticed that both our bantam hens – Marshmallow and Jasmin, had gone broody again and we both sitting in the same nesting box in the big chook house, fighting over who would sit on the four eggs they had laid between them.
Normally at this stage we’d attempt to move them to their own house, because the other chooks are territorial and have been known to be less than friendly when they suddenly find new chicks among their ranks. But in the past none of the Bantam eggs have been fertile… so we just didn’t feel the urgency and um…er… we kind of forgot.
It seems two chicks hatched over night or early Sunday morning and it was on for young and old in the chook house that Sunday morning. Marshmallow and Jasmin had dived off their nest with one chick in tow hackles raised and talons out, defending from a corner… But they left another fluffy chick and one hatching egg alone in the nest.
Izzy happened to be outside and heard the chick peeping, and despite being told not to check in the egg boxes because of our recent snake encounter, she couldn’t help herself. Lucky for the chicks that her memory isn’t so crash hot.
We rushed the cold, tired chick and it’s equally cold egg bound sibling inside and popped them on the fire place under a lamp to try and warm them up.
Meanwhile, out side, in my pyjamas, I managed to lock all the other chooks out in the orchard and wage my own war with the frightened new mothers to try and encourage them out into the backyard where they would be safe. Oh boy can those two hens be narky when they want to.
Inside, Chick #1 perked up right away and to our amazement, Chick #2 in the egg was cheeping too.
I ummed and ahh about breaking Chick #2 out of the egg. I knew if the egg had been open too long it would begin to dry out and the chick wouldn’t have a hope of getting out on it’s own. I also knew that if it didn’t have the strength to get out on it’s own it probably wouldn’t survive anyway.
In the end, the Baldy Boy came home and the executive decision was made to crank up his home made incubator and break the chick out of the egg and see what happened.
By the time I managed to leave for my afternoon/evening out (running late but hey – these things happen) we’d managed to happily reunite abandoned Chick #1 with his or her Mothers and sibling but abandoned Chick #2 wasn’t looking crash hot in the incubator. I didn’t hold out much hope for #2 and I was pretty glad to be leaving the children and dealing with that potential devastation to the Baldy Boy.
When I dragged myself home at the oh so unreasonable mummy hour of.. ahem…. 10pm, I was amazed to hear that #2 had fluffed up, perked up and eaten and that they’d managed to slip it under the mother hens when it got dark that night.
Monday morning, there three happy little fluff balls being mothered to death by Marshmallow and Jasmin – none of them looking any the worse for their crazy start.
So you see, it was just your average day on the Pickle Farm.
I rescued two baby chicks, burnt the entire batch of biscuits and sang 80’s songs like a fool!
What did you get up to on the weekend?