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4.19.2012

Broodies and Chicks... oh my.

My first broody hatched chick!
I just spent 45 minutes outside at 11pm playing musical broodies.



You see, I theoretically believe that things are best left to play out naturally.  However I seldom follow through on this theory.  And I understand that chickens have been heavily breed, so much of their instincts have been lost (which is why some breeds don't typically go broody).  So I interfere.

I mentioned yesterday (it's still yesterday for about 20 minutes) that my first chick hatched (a day early!).  As of early this afternoon none of the other eggs were showing any signs of hatching, so I decided, in my infinite wisdom, to go the farm store and get a few chicks, because heaven forbid she raise just one.

I was going to just grab two astrolorps.  Thursdays are chick day, so I knew they would have chicks, and I had taken a picture of the schedule at the start of the season so I knew what they were getting when.  My plan was to get Ameraucanas to slide under the red frizzle, but they weren't supposed to come until next week.

I got there just before the new shipment of chicks was supposed to arrive, but they still had quite a few one and two week olds there (and a lot of the most adorable ducks... I really can't believe I walked away from there without a duck!), so I browsed, and what did I find?  Tiny little one week old Ameraucanas AND Salmon Faverolles.  When I was trying to decide what breed to focus on over the winter, after MUCH research I narrowed it down to three breeds and decided from there based on availability.  Those three breeds were Buckeyes, Faverolles, and Sussex.  I found the Buckeyes first, but all three are fairly hard to find, and I didn't want to order from a hatchery.  So I was excited to find these Faverolles.  They are hatchery stock, BUT they aren't a breed the farm store typically sells.  They had placed a special order for someone who wanted some Hamburgs and had to order more to meet the minimum, so they had ordered three other random breeds.  Anyway, it was fate, so I bought all five that they had as well as three Ameraucanas.

I put them under a heat lamp in the brooder until tonight, when I planned to slip them under the two mamas.  As I was slipping them under the EE hen I pulled out the unhatched eggs... but couldn't find the last one.  Apparently one more had just hatched, because when I moved mama around I found a still wet chick!  So I slipped her two of the Faverolles and all the Amer. chicks.  Then I slipped the other three faverolles under the red frizzle, and... well... she was less than receptive.

I'm not a patient person.  This hen has already abandoned a nest of eggs to sit in the immediately adjacent (empty) nest, which is why I knew she wasn't going to hatch anything.  So I took her chicks away.  Not only were those Faverolles meant to be mine (and not meant to be killed by a psycho hen), I was just plain done with her.  But what to do?  I didn't want to give a brand new as of yet unproven mama 8 chicks when she's already got two of her own (for a total of 10).  So, much to the pertuberance of the poor EE hen, I took two of her faverolles away and put all five of them back in the brooder, where they will stay.

What of the red frizzle?  Don't worry, I didn't hurt her.  But she wasn't at all happy with me.  I carried her down to the summer coop and plopped her down on a roost.  I'll have to get up uber early tomorrow to make sure the EE and her chicks are getting on okay anyway, so I'll make sure the other hens aren't harassing her then.  I don't know what the heck I'm going to do with her if they don't let her back into the flock.  Let her live with the Buckeyes and hope she doesn't go broody again?  We'll see.  Maybe she just liked the room service (I give a bit of food to the broodies every day) and I should stop being so nice to my broodies:)

Anyway, I'm off to check on the EE and her babies one last time, sleep for three hours, then get up and watch them some more.  Wish me better luck than I've had so far!

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