Thursday, June 5, 2008

One Chick, Two Chick

Chicklee has finally done it! After a futile 6 month vigil last spring/summer/fall, our demonically broody buff rock hen hatched out a couple of chicks. Joe and I discovered them on a visit to the coop yesterday. And then today, another brand-new little peep! (If you look closely at the picture above you can see both day old chicks)

Last year, Chicklee and the equally dedicated but not so demonic Star Belly Sneech brooded side by side, with the prize—one little chick we named Stella who went on to become Stellar our second-tier rooster—going to Star Belly and a big old zilch for Chicklee. Oh we had chicks alright: Half hatched chicks, chicks that pipped futilely but never emerged, chicks that hatched and died promptly thereafter. It was a miserable situation.

And through it all, Chicklee sat, stoic and pissed off, threatening all who entered her smelly coop sanctuary and pecking the brave few who thought they might check out what the heck might be going on under there. Evidently, she got the broody instinct in spades without a smidgen of the egg turning instinct, hence the stuck chicks. Or, possibly it could have been that the humidity of her prodigious underbelly was off by a few dew points. Whatever the case, poor Chicklee managed nada.

So we were feeling quite gleeful when we discovered teeny cuties in the nest box with her. Joe named them “Diego” and “Little Jaguar” (Yes, from the Diego show on Noggin…. Sigh)

But we are not out of the woods yet. Ya see, Chicklee and her brood are FOUR FEET off the ground and she utterly refuses to leave the ginormous pile of eggs she continues to brood. Yesterday, we fed and watered the little family where they sat. Tomorrow, we might have to take action. And, unfortunately, I have very (very!) little experience with successful brooding.

So… do I …..

1) Confiscate the chicks and break olChicklee’s heart (I know I’m being anthropomorphic here...)

2) Transfer Chicklee and her brood to the brooder box in the garage and let chicklee come and go as she wants while providing the chicks with the essential “chick things” such as heat, feed and water.


3) Dump the whole little lot on the ground and hope she comes to her senses and forsakes the merely possible clutch for the truly actual chicks.

What do you think?

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