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Posts Tagged With: baby chicks

And Repeat

I really didn’t see that coming.  In fact, I didn’t quite believe Brett when he first told me.  But it’s true; one of our hens actually hatched a chick of her own!

Momma hen and baby chick!  {DaddysTractor.com}

We’ve had several broody hens this spring.  (Broody means instead of pecking and scratching in the dirt the hen sets on eggs all day.)  Last spring I put our mail-order chicks under two setting mamas–and was as shocked as anyone when it worked!.  But it’s always seemed tenuous at best.  Any mama hen who forgets which egg box she’s setting isn’t likely to be successful.  But this little bantam hen made it happen!

Momma hen and baby chick!  {DaddysTractor.com}

I did find the egg the chick hatched out of, and this little one is actually from a hen that lays blue-green eggs, not biologically this banty’s offspring.  But she did the work and she’ll get the credit.  The baby follows her every move like, well, like a baby chick.

Aaaaaaand, because I am either such a push-over or I just really love chicks too, I bought a few more baby chicks for her to raise as well.

Momma hen and baby chick!  {DaddysTractor.com}

The problem is that two of our other little girls were recently…lost.  Probably to a dog.  Which leaves us only one of the three I bought for pets and Anna is SO worried.  I might have promised her that if all three perish we could get more.  Well, the farm store is in its last week of selling chicks, so if we get more after this point we’ll have to mail order them and pay three times what the chicks cost in shipping.

Momma hen and baby chick!  {DaddysTractor.com}

And since this mama is raising a chick anyway…

So far, so good.  The new chicks all went right to the hen, despite being four days old, and the mama lets them cuddle under her, despite this odd feeling she seems to have that they aren’t really hers.  This banty is one fierce mommy too, so everyone should be safe and secure.

But wow.  I did not see that coming.

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Categories: Animals, Family | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

White As Snow

Recognize this?

Lizzie's all grown up!  {DaddysTractor.com}

Yah, that’s Lizzie, the “little” lamb we brought home–wasn’t it just yesterday?!

Lizzie's all grown up!  {DaddysTractor.com}

Last time I think you saw her she looked like this.  I can’t believe how much she’s grown!

The thing is, its spring time and I have baby fever.  Baby animals that is.  I’m posting these photos to remind myself next time I see a cute bunny or whatever that they don’t stay little for long because, yeah, this happened last week.

Not so "little" animals on the farm!  {DaddysTractor.com}

There are just three.  And they’re for the kids.  I promise.  Because I know that baby animals grow up all to quickly.  I really do.

Then again, they’re pretty amusing as grown animals too.

DSC_0089

For example, here’s a photo bomb by Harriet.

And this is Harriet and Fanny as I was leaving their pen.

Not so "little" animals on the farm!  {DaddysTractor.com} Not so "little" animals on the farm!  {DaddysTractor.com}

Don’t leeeeeeeeave us, Mom!

And Lizzie again, trying to eat the camera’s strap.  So adorbs.

Not so "little" animals on the farm!  {DaddysTractor.com}

So maybe not so “little,” and a long ways from “white as snow,” but know what?

Pretty fun anyway.

Categories: Animals | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

Oh My Goodness, It’s Working!

I’m so excited!  Knock on wood, so far my newest experiment in backyard farming is WORKING!

If you follow me on Instagram (and you should, @daddystractor) you’ll already know we received an unusual-looking package in the mail yesterday containing baby chicks!  When they arrived we took them downstairs to the brooder and settled them all in with drinks of water and some chick feed.

How I got my broody hens to accept mail-order chicks.

They come in the mail– how crazy is that!

But then last night I got a little crazy. 😉

How I got my broody hens to accept mail-order chicks.

We use this cattle feeder as a brooder. It works for the first few weeks anyway!

We ordered 40 chicks this time around.  25 are “pan-fry” chickens I plan to raise to feed my family.  The other 15 are assorted bantams, destined to be pets for the kiddos.  I said yes to this idea because if you think baby chicks are adorable, well, you have to see a bantam chick.  They are a third the size of a regular chick.  Need I say more?

How I got my broody hen to accept mail-order chicks

They are all so cute, but why is it tiny things are even cuter!!

These bitsy chickens will someday lay tiny eggs, which we don’t really need since my other 28 chickens are laying hens and we currently get almost 2 dozen eggs a day.  So they are basically useless as far as livestock go.  (But again.  So. cute.)

Really they are just here to eat expensive food and take up time and energy.

So I came up with a plan to cut down on the time and energy, if not food.

Two of my laying hens have gone “broody.”  This means they keep setting on eggs, trying to hatch chicks.  Broody hens aren’t great on a farm because they tend to be more likely to peck and they stop laying new eggs in their attempt to hatch the ones they’re sitting on.  Conventional wisdom is to keep a broody hen away from the nesting boxes until she gives up on the idea, OR… get her some chicks to raise!

An experienced mama hen is a pretty amazing animal.  She will sit on her eggs for 21 straight days, getting up just once a day to eat and drink for a few minutes.

However, my hens are not experienced mamas.

Actually… they’re not all that bright either.

I gave a mama hen some eggs to see if she could hatch her own (how fun would that be?!) and she couldn’t keep track of which box was hers.  She’s been sitting on different eggs for almost 4 weeks.

How I got my broody hen to accept mail-order chicks!

The nesting boxes are a busy place!

Which makes my plan of putting bantams under these two chickens unreliable at best.

Last night Brett and I slipped the banties under the two hens–you can handle chickens more easily after they’ve gone to bed.  This morning I got up early to be out there just after the sun popped up and both mamas were sitting on 15 very quiet chicks.

I created a separate space for the new families in the part of the coop designed for storage, giving each mama a milk crate and straw nest on the floor.  (The nesting boxes are on the wall and the babies won’t be able to get in and out to get to food or water.)  I was really nervous about having to move everyone so soon after the introductions, but oh my goodness, it’s working!  As soon as they saw the chicks in the new nests both mamas moved right in and took charge of their little broods.

How I got my broody hens to accept mail-order chicks!

So far, so good! Yay!!

Quick, knock on wood!

Categories: Animals | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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