Thursday, July 2, 2009

July 2nd SURPRISE......

This morning when I went outside to open up the chicken coops and feed the goats, I noticed an Auracana hen was out. This is unusual because we close the chickens up every night, but I have actually noticed her out a few times before this month, and wondered how and why that was. Today, when I looked again, I noticed she had 7 tiny little chicks walking closely by her side!

Chickens go "broody" from time to time, (obsessed with hatching eggs) but we rarely let them hatch them, for fear we'll get too many roosters. Well, Mama Auracana was sure determined to have her way... as she succeeded in secretly laying a bunch of eggs, away from her coop, AND successfully sitting on them for 21 days!

We couldn't leave them outside, as I didn't want to chance having Mama or any of her babies caught by predators, I called Tia, and she and I caught them all. This sure as heck was NOT easy... I grabbed Mama first... and maan, did this chicken FIGHT not to be held! With her held tightly in my left arm, I managed to somehow catch three chicks with my free hand while Tia (like Mama like Daughter?) caught the remaining FOUR chicks. We were determined to catch them all, because if we left any behind, we might never find them in the tall grass of the goat pen.

We decided to put them into our third chicken coop, which has been empty for the last couple of years. We made our way over there holding mama and 7 chicks between the two of us, and plopped the family into safety.

Just inside the door to the right are 4 laying boxes that sit about 36" off the ground. Tia and I were shocked to discover that this was where Mama auracana had made her nest! There were many broken eggs, and sadly, two chicks that didn't make it, too.... Can you just picture the 7 little guys that made it, JUMPING to the ground from up there??? Nature... it NEVER ceases to AMAZE me.

I left out how when I climbed the goat fence to get to the chicks, a rail broke.... so the goats could have escaped... thankfully they didn't.

I also didn't mention how when we first put the chicks down in the coop, 5 of them ran straight to the opposite end of the coop and OUT a tiny, and I mean TINY hole... Tia and I caught them, and then I spent the next 30 minutes moving cinder blocks around to block any potential escape holes....

Mama and babies are now safe and sound in their coop. Lastly, I should share the fact that our Auracana mix rooster Voldemort, that lived with the Auracana hens, died last month. I wonder if there's any chance that Mama Auracana's brave determination was born from a desire to bear his young? We'll never really know, but one thing I do know... I love living on a farm, and have so much respect for all the critters who live with us on it.

Oh, and one more thing. Yesterday was Tia's birthday. I'm SURE some of this group shares a birthday with her. How cool is that?

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