Today I noticed my Mommy hens were in the bottom nesting box. They have been on eggs for 21 or so days. I have my nesting box set up 3 boxes high and am able to get my eggs from the other side of the coop. The hens all laid their eggs in the upper box which is about 3 feet or so up off the coop floor. I had thought I heard peeping noises a few days ago and I should have reached in to see if in fact there were babies. Then I thought if there are babies they will come out and the mother hens will follow and go into the lower next box. Which is what they did. I had no idea how many chicks were there but went in and took the babies from them. There were 2 little black chick's. Then I noticed that they left 9 other eggs on the top and I figure they had been off of them for a few hours possibly more. They were sitting on them at 8:30 AM when I had last checked. 6PM is when I saw them in the bottom box. I then checked the top box and saw 9 eggs left and found 2 dead babies. The mother hens kept tucking them back under them so they could not get out to go drink or feed. (Still kicking myself for not checking when I thought I heard babies) Anyway I took the eggs from the top and placed them into the bottom box very carefully and put them in the same postion they were in. The Mommies were all disgruntled about me taking the 2 chicks they had, but went right back into the box and sat back on the eggs that were left. I am praying that they were not off of them too long and possibly they will hatch out a few more???? I will need to get in there today and check to see if anything is happening.
Last year I raised my first chick Jenny. I kept her in the spare room and she was in a box with a heat lamp and a stuffed animal. I was her only contact. Today she is a beautiful colored Bantam hen that is the friendliest chicken I have ever had. She loves to be held and scratched etc. She knows her name and comes running to greet me every time I go out to the barn. The 2 baby chick's I am rearing now I have put them into my empty cockatiel cage which is good sized. However they are frightened when I reach in to change the water or give them food. I have been handling them but it is different with 2 then it was with one. I am hoping that they come around and realize that I am not going to hurt them and hope that they eventually come to me on their own. Like Jenny did and still does. The cage is in the kitchen so they are exposed to all that goes on in the house. They are doing fine but I am wondering if I should put them into a large box as it is easier to reach in to handle them and maybe less traumatic for them? Not sure........Just notice a big difference with these 2 and I am thinking it is because they have each other???? Where as Jenny was all by herself???
The chick's are doing well. I gave them a grape tomato yesterday and diced it up into really tiny pieces. They were afraid of it at first so I spread it out around the bottom of the cage. A few hours later I looked in and all the tomato was gone. Then diced up another cherry size grape tomato and gave it to them around 6 PM this time I kept it in a pile. They ate it all. These tiny tomato's are really sweet. My chickens are so spoiled. They all know the sound of a knife on the cutting board out in the barn. I usually give them something everyday.Lettuce, Carrots, Tomato's. fresh corn that I even take off the husks for them. They eat out of my hand but that is it. They are afraid of being touched all except for Jenny. I am hoping to get the 2 babies to eventually eat out of my hand and read that I should handle them often when they are a bit older. Right now they still wabble around. I do know in time they will be like the others and come to me when I have fresh vegiies for them to eat. Once they start perching I want them to step off onto my hand. Fingers crossed that they are hens and not roosters because I can not have another rooster. Already have one in the coop and one free roamer. I will be so bummed out if they are not hens.
They are growing fast I can see the pin feathers starting to form on their wings. My goal is to eventually have all my chickens hand reared so they are okay with human contact. My cooped birds are all good birds but none the less they are not tamed in any way shape or form. None of them are mean not even my Rooster. The only time they get aggressive is when they are raising baby chick's. Just hope that if I take all the babies away that they do not try to brood all summer long. Then I have the dilema of where to put the hand reared chickens when they are all grown up. They will be free roamers. I do not allow them out of the bran on their own because of fox. I would be devestated if anything ever happened to my Jenny. I will keep a blog and write how things are coming along.