Fall Chicks?

New Life in November

Yesterday morning Keith went out to start chores, but promptly came back inside holding something furry and said, “Look what I found at the bottom of the stairs.”  It was a dead chick.  Yes – a baby chicken.  We were all a little dumbfounded.  Then I remembered that on Saturday afternoon one hen was sitting in the corner of the one step near our driveway as I loaded up the car for the craft fair – and wouldn’t move even when I was close by.  Strange, I thought.  I wondered if she was sick or hurt, but later she was gone, so I forgot about it.  Now we have a dead chick about 20′ away from where she’d been.  When I went out  a little while after that I found a nest of about 12 eggs in the nativity scene “barn” which is just a foot away from that step.  One more dead chick mostly out of an egg, and another egg with a little hole in it where another had been trying to get out.  Probably a few more in their shells that died before even trying to get out.  Then, when I was in the chicken yard I heard the little, “peep, peep, peep” of baby chicks.  I turned around and looked and found a mama with 2 chicks on the other side of the fence.  I called Keith and we both walked around to the other side and after a couple of minutes managed to catch the 2 chicks and mama.

Mama hen and 2 chicks

We put them all inside the chicken coop, hoping for the best.  We aren’t currently able to brood any chicks.  The brooder is full of rabbits for the winter and the only functioning heat lamp we have is in Peppermint Patty’s pen awaiting her piglets to be born.  But.  Alas, just like most of the chicks hatched by mamas around here, they didn’t make it.  By noon one was MIA (probably a cat snack) and the other was dangerously close to sneaking out of the pen by the gate.  So we took that one and put it in a box with food and water inside the coop, where it couldn’t get out, but mama could still get by it.  By dinner time it was dead.  Mama apparently didn’t care to keep it warm.  Oh, and in the morning I’d also found one more dead on in the pen.

The whole thing was very curious.  This summer when it was plenty warm we left a broody hen with a nest for nearly 2 months and she never hatched one.  And now this one determined mama managed to hatch out 4 in November, of all times!  It’s too bad they couldn’t have stayed alive and grown up, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way.

One remaining chick