Today I was unloading a truck ( chick feed/ rat poison) when I heard a loud
'PEEEEEPPPPP!!!' Coming from the hen house. I dashed up there, well as fast as one can dash in 95 degree sunshine, and found that Emmi had chosen today to take her family for a walk. It was working real well. There were peeps in other nests ( lord knows how they got There) , peeps on the floor of the hen house and one peep sitting quietly , waiting for it's mama to decide what is happening.... I didn't quite know What to do. If they went outside, horses might squish them, or something ( barn catz) could have chicks for dinner. That's when Emmi decided it was to crowded in the hen house, and stepped through the small side exit.
Peeps panic all Over the place !
" omg- mama has disappeared- NOW what do we do !?!?!" Emmi sticks her head back in , clucking to them. I never knew little teeny 2 day old chicks could leap as these did. They all ( peeping all the while) climbed up to the big step, and hopped down to be with their mama. Now there were 7 chickens wandering about under wild violets, in tall grass, and one of them didn't quite know how to be a chicken mom.
I began trying to scoop up little bantam chicks, trying NOT to squish any under a blade of grass.. Emmi was all upset, and kept clucking to her babies, who peeped back Loudly ! Finally we all ended up in the front of the hen house. They all settled down as mama took a dirt bath. < whew>
Got some small holed chicken wire, fastened it to the chick pen I had originally used for Emmi and the hens when they were a week old. BIG difference between 2 day old Bantam chicks n' week old ' fat farm hen' breeds. The little buggars slipped right through the big holes where I hadn't hadn't had time to attach the smaller wire to. Finally got That done just as Emmi was getting done with her bath in the dirt. The little baby pen was looped around the front of the hen house, and all was well with mama and her babes. Got them a teeny waterer, and some chick feed ( remember- I was just taking that into the tack room ?) and tossed it out for them to eat. Little teeny chicks sure are super fast at copying what mama hen does. It wasn't long til they were all tuckered out , all but falling asleep in the chick starter.....
This evening, I took the small dog crate up, filled with fresh hay. I added the old nest where they had all hatched on top. ( No clue if that made a bit of difference at all, but dogs like that. ;) With a plastic square, I herded the babies out of their corner ( scared babies- I must look like a Giant to them) and held them down to Emmi's height, so she'd see where they were being put. Not a problem at all- she walked over, checked out the four already in there, and stepped in, turned around to wait for me to place the other two in with her.
Now they're safe and secure, and nothing will bother the little ones . Tomorrow- they can once again go outside in their little "playpen" and explore. Emmi might enjoy some cucumber skin, as the rest of my hens will, I am sure.
This is the first time I've done this with hens- and don't plan on doing it again. Whew.... Lots of work being an Gramma.