Lesson 370 – The chicks’ first night in the coop

I’m pretty big on letting your chicks try to fly when the time is ready (have I mentioned that Trevor is away at gymnastics camp for 3 weeks?) Which is why when I saw that the chicks had actually survived the day in the henhouse with the larger hens, I figured, hey, why not let them start roosting in the big house.

I also decided to do this because there is very little activity in a henhouse after the sun goes down. Once a chicken is up on a roost, it tends to stay there for the rest of the night (it’s kind of a survival thing), there is no running around and pecking new little ones when darkness comes. The more the chicks stayed in the chicken coop, they more they would be acknowledged as members of the flock. I figured a night in the henhouse would do everyone a world of good (including the fact that we no longer would have to bring the STINKY nursery back into the house.)

I also wasn’t too worried about the chicks keeping warm at night (we were having slightly cool night- time temps but nothing drastic). Baby chicks sleep like baby puppies – in a pile, one big feathered mess ‘o bird.

When the sun went down, we fetched each chick out from under the hen house (a disgusting job consisting of basically crawling through chicken poop of which Logan swears he will never do again) and counted them while we gently moved them into the henhouse.

I set up the chicks huddled together in one corner of the henhouse opposite from our two old ladies who spend the entire day and night (day after day) sleeping on top of each other on the floor of the coop. Yeah, I know, it’s a little weird. I’m fully expecting crocheted doilies from them for Christmas.

Our biddy-broody hens.

Anyway, once we got the littles settled, I only had to check on them 3 or 4 more times that evening (I’m a mom, remember?) before we all put ourselves to bed.

The next morning I was filled with a little bit of dread. At 6 in the morning, it was cold enough for me to put on a sweatshirt. Yikes, how were the babies, who had never before left the comfort of indoors coping both with the cold and the new living quarters?

Gingerly I opened the coop door and peeked over to where the babies were.

No babies.

I looked around. I looked up in the rafters.

No babies. Just a little bit of panic started setting in, our littles are, after all, bite-size, it didn’t take much to imagine what could have happened to them.

But then I saw some movement over in the biddy-broody corner. All 10 chicks were huddled underneath the old-lady brooders. I saw a few poke their heads out when I started cooing to them. Those two old birds must have just been in maternal heaven, imagine sitting for days and weeks on eggs (that were never, ever going to hatch) with the final result of getting 10 immaculate baby chicks at one time.

Surely one avian God answered all their broody prayers that night.

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4 Comments

Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Chicks, Life Lessons, New Hampshire, Personal, Project Chickens before the Eggs

4 responses to “Lesson 370 – The chicks’ first night in the coop

  1. Oh my goodness if that ain’t the cutest story. All that worry for nothing, Mom! And now the broody moms’ dreams have come true! I wonder if they’ll start teaching and feeding the little ones. Please keep us posted!

    • Wendy Thomas

      Sigh, that’s kind of my job – to worry. It’s the job one takes on when one creates a large flock. I imagine that even when my chicks have flown the coop, there will always be a little bit of worry left inside of me.

      Wendy

  2. Hey there sis: Pretty funny story. So are these chicks going to continue being brooded?

    • Wendy Thomas

      Peg,

      To this day the old “bitty-brooders” continue to brood together in the evening but like a puppy does to an old dog, the chicks seemed to have infused some enthusiasm for those two old birds to get up and out these days. Perhaps they are checking up on their newly acquired charges.

      Wendy

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