Monday, September 03, 2012

One is the loneliest number

A raccoon massacred 6 of our 8 chickens shortly before we returned from vacation. Besides the trauma for the poor neighbors, our trusty chicken-sitters, to deal with, we also lost our one broody hen. Son1 had wanted to hatch out some chicks from our rooster, Mo, who had traits he wanted to propagate, so we had the broody hen in a separate chicken tractor hatching about 8 eggs. The raccoon ripped the tractor door off and killed the poor hen and ate the eggs. The rooster was also killed in the raid.

One of our remaining two hens was still laying when we got home, so because eggs are fertile up to two weeks after a rooster mates with a hen, Son1 begged us to get an incubator to hatch out some of the eggs that had Mo's genes.

Tawny's not had a good track record for viable eggs and this time was no exception. Son1 put 6 eggs in the incubator but only 1 hatched out. Do you know how pathetic one chick is? Very.

It went around and around its enclosure looking for company, and whenever one of us reached in with our hand, it would climb right in and snuggle. Very, very pathetic.

So, hubby asked around and discovered a place nearby to get some chicks approximately the same age as our sad little one. He and the boys went and bought 4 roosters and 2 hens this afternoon (that would be August 12th, not the day that this will actually be posted).

Our little one wasn't sure of the other chicks at first. "What are you?" "Get out of my water!" "Your toes look like food." Or at least that's what I thought it was saying.

But after a little while, they got used to each other, and huddled together to take a little chickie-nap.
a 7-chick pile-up
Isn't that cuuuute, fuzzy chicks and poop and all?

This many chicks will make it easier to incorporate them with our main flock too. Week-old chicks will take to each other easily enough, but it ain't fun and games with adult chickens. We've tried to integrate one or two chickens into our flocks before and it is uglier than watching a high school clique shun an outcast.

Think "Carrie."

Yeah, that ugly. We may have just saved the one little chick from a telekinetic blood-bath. Or something like that.

Plus, we will now have 4 roosters that we can process in a few months.

Have your animals survived the summer unscathed or did the horrid drought and heat wave drive predators to help themselves to your bounty too?

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams