Yep, when most everyone else is done having babies around here, we’re still kidding, and one of our hens and our duck are setting with one chick hatched so far.
A while ago, our chickens discovered one of our secrets… their fence had rotted out at the base. If they wiggled a bit, they could go walk about. First there were a couple, then a few, and finally more than half the flock.
While it was fun to watch them interact with the birds in our front yard, go over to the sheep, cow, and goat pens, Mom soon became irritated as they kept “helping her” with the landscaping. Unfortunately, their favorite work was usually done where she had recently raked… kicking all that soil back onto the walkway.
So, Cindy went to work fixing the fence. Because the chickens were mostly smart enough to return to the coop at night, and because we really don’t have an accurate count… one hen escaped confinement. She took up housekeeping in a stack of old tires we had used to grow potatoes.
Being black, she blended in, especially since she was in a pretty dark space.
Chewy, our Border Collie farm dog found her, when she heard a little “cheep, cheep”. As usual, Cindy picked up the little one, and brought it to the house for everyone to oogle.
A day passed, and suddenly, the heat wave arrived.
The hen, chick, and the rest of her eggs were simply not safe in that tire. They would cook!
Have you ever moved a very protective hen who’s still setting? Let’s just say it involved all 4 of us and the dog. It also involved a lot of cussing, throwing things (not at the birds), and other exasperation.
In the end, after we were all dog tired of the chase, we watched, as the hen found her chick in the nursery, and Cindy grabbed her, taking her to the nest, setting her carefully, and slammed the top.
Meanwhile, the first time fresheners (goats) are now in their birth cycles.
Yesterday morning, Cindy did the early morning check, and returned with the cutest, biggest little kid we’ve seen in a while. It was Spirit, who we thought would make it through the night, who had birthed this little giant all by herself. She had cleaned him, but as far as we could see hadn’t done a very good job of feeding him.
We thawed the frozen colostrum, all 4 oz of it, warmed it slightly, showed him the bottle with a Pritchard nipple on it, turned it to him…. and he sucked it right down. No learning how to use the nipple, no crying when it was shoved into his open mouth. No, he attacked it!
Later, he did the same thing with another 6 oz of goat milk, fresh from milking.
No way will we allow him to become a bottle baby, so out to the goat yard goes Cindy. She and Spirit had a go around as Cindy was determined that the little guy was going to nurse. Let’s just say it’s Spirit 1 – Cindy 0. She returned after washing up her wound, for round 2. Once again, Spirit 2 – Cindy 0.
Later, we both went out. I held Spirit at the front end while Cindy successfully got the little guy nursing. We did it again still later, and evened the score. It’s now Team Cindy 2 – Spirit 2.
We’re still waiting for her two sisters, Tippy and Shivers, due to kid sometime in the near future.
Then there’s the duck.
She’s setting on a clutch, way back in the front corner of her little house. She has the nest so built up that we can’t see the contents. We know there are eggs. We know she’s kicked the drake out, and we only see her every couple days for food and water. How long before we see ducklings? Your guess is as good as ours.