After a few weeks of letting our 3 babies free range with the rest of the flock (and learning that one of our brown chickens does not particularly care for them) we’ve started to put them in with the rest of the birds at night.
Our babies (they will forever be babies in our minds) are very small bantams and as such are prime targets for being picked on. After the first night I found them hiding in 3 different places. From then on, when it came time to tuck them in I put them all in a corner of one nesting box. That way, they were somewhat hidden from the rest of the flock and could keep each other warm.
Once I started doing that, all was well, until the next morning, (it’s always something) when I would discover the babies still cowering in the corner – with no access to food or water.
My morning routine has now incorporated calming the babies down enough so that I can move them to an enclosed outdoor pen (with access only large enough for a bantam to enter and exit) where they can eat and drink to their hearts’ content.
By mid-morning to early afternoon, they’ve usually worked up enough courage to leave the pen in order to scratch and wander with the rest of the flock.
The love and protection our chickens can evoke always amazes me. When you hold a frightened little bird in your arms, and then she, recognizing your protection, relaxes by leaning into your warmth, your heart has absolutely no choice but to melt just a little bit more.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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