First day in the chickery

We have a new hatch record.  I allowed this hen to set on 10 eggs, a compromise between the 7 or 8 i usually allow them to have, and the 20+ they try to cover.  She’s one of the largest hens, and she hatched out nine of them!  img_4380

Most of the time once they’re out of the egg they’re home free, but this time, two died in the first few days (both white ones).  They spent a full three days hatching, so they are now five to seven days old, and already have proper little wings growing in.

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When I go to put them back in the greenhouse in the evening I find this:

Oh, the grass is so dry this summer (and that's where the Silkie "tractor" has been)
Oh, the grass is so dry this summer (and that’s where the Silkie “tractor” has been)

The chicks are coming and going from underneath mom like she’s a roof, and she’s sedately being a shelter.

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Center front is a popular location.

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When I’m about to transport them to the greenhouse for the night, they all come spilling out.

First I airlift mom out, then I come back for the chicks, who are acting forlorn.img_4384

They much prefer to be picked up all together in a big two handed pile.  The last batch of five quietly allowed me to scoop them all up at once right up until they were big enough for the big coop, but seven all at once proves too many.

Good, because I can’t take pictures with two hands full.img_4388

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My favorite trick- Mom surfing.

Into the box for the night.

New occupants ready for the chickery means the former denizens, the last batch, got moved up to the big house last night.  Even at midnight, mom was feisty, flapping around, so I stuffed her under my sweatshirt (I wanted to move mom and chicks in one shipment so as to only open the coop once).  She started scratching around and climbing the inside of my shirt until she had her head stuck down my sleeve.  Ok then.  Apparently contented, she cooed as I stuffed the chicks one at a time into the roo pocket of my sweatshirt.  Chicks always seem to like it in there.  Then I dropped her into the coop, the rooster shuffling sideways on the perch to give me more than enough room, and shoveled the chicks under her.  All done.

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