Sunday, September 4, 2011

The fluffy additions

Three weeks ago, Melly went broody. Again. The second time in a season with only 2 weeks separation between sittings. This time, instead of having to constantly turf her out of the nest and make her uncomfortable so that she'd stop sitting, we put her in the empty woodshed and filled an old tea chest with straw and let her sit there. We kinda respected her determination to be a mother knowing full well that unless she met with divine intervention there would be no fluffy little chicks peeping out from under her. So I had a chat with the commander of all (Joel) and we decided to help her to immaculately conceive.

Yesterday, I went for a drive and came home with these little cuties.


The people were very helpful and said we'd have no trouble putting day olds underneath Melly as they were hatched that day and she'd been on the nest and isolated for almost three weeks. We crossed our fingers and after the tips and information from the farmers, we brought them home.

Before dusk I put the little chicks, enclosed in their box on top of Melly's tea chest nesting box, so that she could hear the chicks peeping but not see them (apparently simulating the chicks preparing to hatch from their eggs). Then not long after dusk, I snuck into the wood shed and one by one slipped the little chicks hidden in my hand under Melly. Their little cheeping stopped as soon as they were amongst Melly's warm feathers and they instinctively knew to burrow their way in.

I felt that it went well and that nature would take it's course, but then came the nerve wracking wait till the morning to see if she had accepted them and has switched over her hormones into mother protection mode.

I didn't sleep! I was more excited than I ever was on Christmas Eve as a child!

At 5:30am I couldn't handle it any more and went to let the other girls out (who start being noisy around 5). I poked my head into Melly's shed and saw this:


She was in a rather strange position and highly alert and made strange purring growl noises at me. Hmm, I thought, could she have already accepted them? What is this high tail business about? I couldn't hear any cheeping but she did look a bit funny like something was not quite right...

I thought that surely the chicks would be hungry and need a feed but I didn't want to interfere with Melly and potentially upset proceedings.

I went to the La Trobe market to get my weekly veggies, spending the whole time thinking about Melly. What if she crushes them to death with her weird tail position? Did I put them in the right spot under her? Is she healthy enough to look after them? What if I killed them when I put them under her and that's why they were silent!?!?!?!? Way too much for a girl to handle on a Sunday morning after enjoying some NZ's finest Savinguan Blanc the night before (a little too much that is).

I came home to check. Nothing. I put the food away. Nothing. And then I went back out (AGAIN) 20 minutes later and talked to her. She was slightly distracted. A few feathers here and there were moving. She was blinking, moving her beak and quietly clucking, moving her head side to side, as though she was listening, talking... I was holding my breath.

AND THEN I SAW A LITTLE BEAK! AND THEN A FLASH OF PALE YELLOW.

AND THEN A WHOLE CHICK!!! 

AND THEN TWO!!

I fell over in excitement. 

I ran to get the camera and the chick mash.




AND THEN THERE WERE FOUR!


They were happily eating and pecking at their new Mummy as she was ravenously eating after so long of not even a sip of water! She seems to know what to do and fluffs up around her little babies like an expert.

So far so good and fingers crossed! 

Hopefully my little Lavender Araucana and Silver Laced Wyandotte's will grow into strong happy girls under the guidance of their first time, determined mother who doesn't seem to have minded the fluffy and cute intervention! 

YAY!!!

Now I can relax and catch up on some sleep!

10 comments:

  1. I am so jealous...after our experience with Henny last year and her unwillingness to accept the chicks ... and the carnage she inflicted! I like the tip about letting the hen hear them cheeping before putting them in. You have given me the confidence to have another go if one of the girls goes clucky! And...Lavender AracunaS...where did you get those?

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  2. How totally nerve wracking but totally worth it....I wonder why we do this with animals...but its all part and parcel isnt it...well done to mummy chookie....how lovely of you to go to the effort of making her mummy dreams come true.......x

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  3. Oh Hazel! I know! I read your post before getting them and was so anxious! Yeah, I read the boxed cheeping tip on the internet and it sounded good to me! You should have another go! The lady I bought them off said it was rare to have a hen reject them if they are day olds... I got them from Abundant Layers in Emerald. They have HEAPS of different chickens and lots of good breeds in standard size. No bantams in this house! Big Greek girls all the way!

    Hi Suzanne! It has been totally worth it! We figured that if she really wanted babies then she should have some! Lets just hope she doesn't make a habit of it!!!

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  4. Beautiful story. I hope they all live happily ever after.

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  5. Thanks Sue! Its so exciting!

    Me too Judith! They will make a pretty addition to my flock AND egg basket!

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  6. OMG HOW GORGEOUS!

    Ohhhhhhhhhhh that is SO EXCITING and so very adorable! I wanna come visit!

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  7. How lovely and exciting. I love that she looks poised to attack, especially in the last photo - very motherly. Great story.

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  8. Hi Mrs B! They are SOOOOOOO CUTE!! You are more than welcome to!

    Hi Liz! She is hilarious when I come near her! She puffs up and shields the chicks with her wings and makes the strangest noises! She is turning out to be a great mum. She had all the chicks out today in her little pen.

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  9. Oh well done! This is so much fun isn't it.... even the excitement of wondering whether she will accept them.

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Thanks so much for commenting, I love reading what you have to share!

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