Skunky and its siblings are just over a month old now … and see, no mother. They’ve found a soft spot on a garden path and are enjoying the afternoon sun, not worried that their mother is off foraging on her own. They are old enough now to be on their own. A month is on the short side of chick rearing. More of the hens raise their chicks closer to two months than just one, but a month is not unusual. I’ll see if their mother is still spending the night with them. Chicks are completely independent when they no longer spend the nights with their mother.
3 Replies to “Independent Chicks”
Dear, Man with Your Hoe,
I really enjoy your posts and look forward to see what is happening on your farm. I also was raised on a farm where we had cows, horses, chickens, hogs, dogs, cats, a large garden along with thirty fruit trees. So by reading your post you bring back some of the most happiest times and memories of my life growing up in the 50’s and 60’s.
I have a question for you today which is: I am assuming all of your eggs are fertile so when one of your hens hatch out a batch of chicks they are all different colors and make ups, the question is do you gather eggs from other hens and put them under the nesting hen to create the mix of baby chicks that comes from the hatch? Or is it a mix of a variety of roosters dating the same hen?
Again, thank you for the posts you share with us.
Randy L Hammer
The eggs a hen hatches come from a number of different hens. When a hen goes broody, I pick a variety of eggs from different hens for her to hatch. Since the roosters are free to roam anywhere, I have no idea who the fathers are. Even if I didn’t do that, many hens use a single nest so any hen who decides to hatch that clutch will be sitting on eggs other than her own. The only times a hen sits on just her eggs is when she’s found a secret spot in the brush to lay her eggs. In that case, her eggs probably have been fertilized from a mix of rooster, though some hens are more choosy about which roosters they will mate with.
Before I place the eggs in the nest, I write the expected hatch date on the eggs. This way, if another hen adds an egg to the clutch, I know which one it is, and I can remove it. Some hens guard their eggs and won’t let another hen on it while they are incubating. Others are not so headstrong. And since brooding hens get off their nest at least once a day, there is always the chance another hen may get on it and add an egg.