Things are going on under the hen that I'm not privy to!
If you've hatched chicks under a hen before then this will likely bore you but for newbies, I think any kind of info on the experience is reassuring, and on this side of things has been a huge amount of elation at the final success - so I'm sharing it all with a wide smile....
(If you have been reading me a while, you know that this chicken-raising journey has been LONG... but is now reaching the epic stage 2 - raising chicks.
If you care to start at the beginning of the blog you can catch up on everything, but the last post (yesterday) we saw our first chick hatched)...
I HEARD two different cheep 'tones' just before dark yesterday, so was sure of two hatchlings last night but this morning only heard one. I didn't have time to stick around, so I'm hoping it means it was only sleeping.
I did get two short videos - one when the hen first left the nest and exposed the first little chick [BELOW], and again last night of a chick poking it's head out from underneath her feathers (it could've been the 2nd chick!)
It was comic at the time watching it wriggle around making a little place to cozy up under the hen and poking it's head out over and over- but I'm not sure it lasted long enough for me to get the comedy of it captured on video. I haven't watched it yet, or uploaded it but I will share when I do!
I could see the hens feathers ruffling on the opposite side and was hoping to see another chick, but it could've just been her.
So, the hen is still setting the nest like a good mother hen should, so I'm not worried about the chicks getting cold. It's COLD out today, but fortunately the cloud cover has kept it from getting right down to freezing again. I turned the heat lamp on today and will keep it on until the hen starts to get hot. Just in case.
Because yesterday when the chick was only 4 hours old, it was fumbling around about a foot away from her and seemed lost! Of course I panicked and put it right up next to her again.
I was SO anxious going out this morning- half EXPECTING to find that chick in some corner... something I dread seeing!
Yesterday the other chickens acted a bit weird - I guess hearing the chick. It's new to them all, too!
I have cardboard barriers up against the pen fencing so they cannot see in there (only because I don't have other fencing that will work).
They kind of clumped up together like they were insecure?, right inside the coop entrance, they stayed for HOURS, when usually they're all out roaming the yard. Then they stepped outside and clumped up together, still close enough to hear the chick(s). Finally at the end of the day they all went out to forage.
They'll have to stay in most of today because of the weather. It's not too cold but it's so gray you can almost see water hanging in the air.
I witnessed another funny chicken "antic":
There was one hen out in the yard (day before last), out by the trees. A big black crow was hopping around the straw (put in the sun to air out). Maybe the other birds went inside out of fear of it (and they all follow the rooster, but even Roo IS a chicken after all!) Maybe this hen got separated and was afraid to bypass the crow?
Then as I approached the crow did a running leap into the air and flew off- but that hen, with wings spread out, RAN after it, as if SHE were the one chasing it off. LOL
Here is the first video- the hen first getting off the nest, the first chick that hatched: