On Mother's Day we anxiously waited around the nesting box where Fred's eggs were cracking and daring to hatch. We had high hopes, but as the day progressed, our hopes died. I will skip the details, but basically I found two dead chicks, two deformed messes, and two eggs that never hatched.
I felt very disappointed.
Zane had a nightmare about a dead chick.
Fred, continued to brood.
By Thursday I had had enough heartbreak. So we went to our local Farmer's Co-op and bought three chicks. I picked out two red sex-links and let Zane choose his own: a little buff orpington. We took them home and named them (this time with a little more guidance so we didn't get another hen named Fred). After a bit of debating we came up with Lilly, Lulu, and Luna.
Mission Swap Eggs for Chicks:
Though I read about lots of different problems when introducing new chicks to a brooding hen these were the main concerns:
- make sure the hen is currently brooding... check
- do the swap/introduction at night... check
- introduce only a few chicks at a time... check
- give chicks access to starter feed only (too much calcium in layer feed)... check
- assist chicks in finding food and water in a place protected from the flock for the first 48 hours...
But in my case these chicks are one week old and already up and ready to explore. This is where daddy Zane and mama Roslyn come in handy...
Thoughout the night and first thing in the morning I checked on the chicks a lot. I was worried one might wander off and get too cold or that Fred might reject a chick, but none of that happened. By morning mother hen and her chicks were settled and happy.
|Lily hiding under Fred's wing|
|Zane giving Fred some freshly picked clover|
And this is Zane's reaction to the successful mission: